Preseason exhibition football still counts as football, so it is totally accurate to say that football is back tonight. Let’s dig into it!
- You can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been. So with that in mind, let’s kick it old school with this look back at the Bears’ humble beginnings:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 8, 2019
- The Bears play a preseason game *TODAY* and I am here to tell you that it is absolutely OK to get excited about it. If you feel some type of way about football being back in your life, let it out. Tell a friend. Heck, tell a friend to tell a friend. Football is back.
- Sigh. The last time we were watching the Bears at Soldier Field, Mitch Trubisky was slinging the pigskin down the field and positioning his kicker for a game-winning field goal try. It was high-stakes football with drama and excitement. Things won’t be the same tonight, but that doesn’t mean this game is meaningless. The Bears have 90 players on their preseason roster, many of which will use the preseason to put out tape that will ideally grab someone’s attention — if not here in Chicago, elsewhere in football. Preseason football is where you can find your underdog stories and your favorite under-the-radar stars-to-be. My suggestion: Find a guy, latch on to the bandwagon, and root hard for something special. That’s how I watch preseason football and it helps me get through four weeks that would otherwise be quite bland.
- So what are we watching for, anyway? JJ Stankevitz (NBC Sports Chicago) highlights four position battles to keep an eye on tonight. The kicking game is top of mind right now, but it isn’t the only position group with players positioning themselves for a bigger piece of the snap pie.
- For example, the Bears have a handful of young cornerbacks (Kevin Toliver II, John Franklin III, Clifton Duck) trying to make noise and put up reasons they should get consideration for the season-opening 53-man roster. GM Ryan Pace and his front office have done a bang-up job finding young cornerbacks who rise up from the late rounds or UDFA ranks to make the team. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened again. So with that being said, let’s keep an eye on the secondary this evening.
- Adam Hoge (WGN Radio) offers up four offensive players to keep an eye on in tonight’s preseason game, including two tight ends. Ian Bunting and Bradley Sowell are making pushes in a deep position group that has been a position of concern to this point. Trey Burton is still making his way back into the swing of things after offseason surgery, while Adam Shaheen has been taking it easy after being sidelined with a back issue. Because of the shakiness at the top, there should be plenty of opportunities for someone to make a strong impression.
- No matter who is out there, Khalil Mack still has high expectations for his teammates:
Here's what Bears OLB Khalil Mack will be watching for in the team's first preseason game: "I hope to see dominance. No matter who is on the field."
That's how he thinks, and then acts accordingly. Mack has been relentless in camp.
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) August 7, 2019
- I had to remind myself that our favorite players probably won’t play much (some might not even suit up). I realize this is a prudent move being made by a team that is prioritizing health, but it is a tough sell for fans who paid their hard-earned money to see a game and all they will get is backups and reserves. If only there was a middle ground to be found here.
- Even if preseason games were treated as they once were, I feel as if we would still be in the same situation in not knowing where Mitch Trubisky stood in his development as a quarterback. In fact, we probably will not have a full grasp for it until a few games into the regular season. I suppose this is where preseason reps could be handy, but if you were to play Trubisky with eyes on building a rhythm and rapport, the rest of the first-team offense has to play too. There is no way to justify playing Trubisky against a first-unit defense with a second-unit offense at his side. I wish there was a perfect solution to this conundrum, but I’m not sure it exists. Back to the lab, where I will hopefully find some solutions.
- I suppose this is where I preach patience because the Bears built up equity by employing this practice last summer and the team’s health helped establish a good start en route to a 12-win season. There is some curiosity to see how Head Coach Matt Nagy handles his second preseason running the show. Last year was all about installation, while also stressing the importance of health. Nagy went as far as to hold out his starters from the final two preseason games. We’ll see how much further he pushes that envelope this summer.
- For those of you attending tonight’s game, be aware that some routes to parking lots have changed. Also, expect a ton of traffic in the area. The Bears shared this parking and transportation guide, which could come in handy this evening. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your phone! You will need it to get into Soldier Field because home games require mobile-only tickets.
- Are you looking forward to snagging one of the Bears’ bobblehead giveaways? Keep this in mind:
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) August 8, 2019