Bears starters make their preseason debut on Thursday night
After seeing mostly third- and fourth-stringers against the Baltimore Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game last week, we will see more familiar faces when the Chicago Bears take the field against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. And as such we’ll see Matt Nagy roll out more of his offense, Vic Fangio will put more layers into his defense, and we’ll get a better look at what the 2018 Chicago Bears will really look like. Here are five specific things to look for when the Bears play preseason game No. 2.
1. The starters will finally play
After sitting out against Baltimore, Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd and every one listed atop the Bears depth chart will finally see the field for the first time in 2018. While they may only play anywhere between a couple of series to the entire first quarter, it’ll be good to see how the offensive players look in Matt Nagy’s new scheme, and how the defensive players have improved from last season.
2. The second unit will see more snaps
Some second-stringers started against Baltimore, while others didn’t play at all. That all changes this week as everyone will be available against Cincinnati. The No. 2 guys will come in between midway through the first quarter and the second quarter and could play into the third quarter. Either way, it’ll be nice to finally this group fully together on the field.
3. Roquan Smith is still absent
The Bears and their 2018 first-round draft pick are still at a contract impasse. And even if he does sign before Thursday’s game, he still won’t play as he has yet to practice with the team during camp. At the same time, Danny Trevathan has been bit by the injury bug, so if he plays his time could be limited. So Nick Kwiatkoski, Johnathan Anderson, John Timu, Josh Woods, and fourth-round draft pick Joel Iyiegbuniwe will see the most snaps at inside linebacker this week.
4. Improvement from Chase Daniel
The 10-year veteran looked rusty against the Ravens last week. He completed just 8-of-16 passes for 53 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked twice and finished with a rating of 38.8, but he did throw two touchdown passes. Considering he started and played the entire first half, his performance didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Since he’ll be the go-to guy if Trubisky were somehow out of the picture, Daniel needs to have a better game against the Bengals.
5. Road Warriors
While the Hall of Fame Game was technically a neutral site game, in reality it was the start of three straight road games for the Bears. They don’t play at Soldier Field until Aug. 25 so this will be another good test of the team’s ability to play well away from home.