If you’re excited about the possibility of seeing Cam Newton take on Khalil Mack and the Bears defense in a preseason game, I’m sorry to be the one who bursts your bubble.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets the Bears “will likely hold out majority of key players” from Thursday’s pre-season lid-lifter. That could mean the likes of Mitch Trubisky, Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and others could make way for players behind them on the depth chart. On the other side of the field, The Athletic’s Joseph Person reports Newton and star inside linebacker Luke Kuechly will be held out of the exhibition at Soldier Field.
After last year’s unconventional decision to sit starters for the preseason game against the Chiefs, news that the Bears would keep key players out of the lineup is not surprising. Prioritizing health for Week 1 might have been controversial last year, but will probably be applauded more this time around because expectations for the Bears are through the roof. As for the call made by Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera, that shouldn’t be surprising either. Newton (offseason shoulder surgery) and Kuechly (who has missed time due to concussions in recent years), as both have had their injury issues in recent years. And if Carolina wants to get back into the playoff mix, both will need to be at full strength. That leaves Kyle Allen and rookie Will Grier handling the quarterbacking responsibilities.
Last year, I wondered if Nagy’s decision would help bring about the end of preseason football as we know it. And while we won’t know that answer for a while, the growing trends are pointing to change coming at some point or another.