The Bears are starting to wind down their exhibition slate
We've reached Week 3 of the 2019 NFL preseason and it's almost gut-check time for the league's 32 teams. Roster decisions are close to being made, position battles are about to be settled, and teams will start planning for the regular season very soon. This especially holds true for the Chicago Bears, who travel one state over to take on the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. The last time the Colts hosted the Bears in preseason action was back in 2015, and the Bears walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium with a 23-11 win.
The Bears hope to win in Indy again as they are 0-2 on their exhibition slate thus far after losing to both the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants by a combined score of 55-26. Granted the starters haven't played much this August. But this game will help determine the Bears steps moving forward, so here are four things to watch when these teams kickoff on Saturday night.
1. The starters will sit out again
After appearing for just a handful of plays against Carolina, the Bears starters (the ones who were healthy anyway) haven't seen any preseason snaps otherwise. Head coach Matt Nagy stated earlier this week that the starters would be watching the Colts game from the bench, and that some of the No. 2 guys could sit as well. So this means that the players near or at the bottom of the depth chart will get to shine once again. While it will be disappointing not to see Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, Kyle Long, Kahlil Mack, Eddie Goldman, and Eddie Jackson and company, we will get to see some of these roster battles sort themselves out.
Which means that we'll get to see third-string quarterback Tyler Bray (has completed 14-of-30 passes this preseason) try and convince the Bears again to give him a roster spot. We'll also see the back end of the running back, tight end, and wide receiver position groups begin to sort themselves out, the depth on defense, the Bears' impressive rookie class, and the undrafted free agents who also are fighting for a job. Last year Bears fans criticized Nagy's approach to preseason in this regard. But considering how the regular season turned out, there hasn't been as much complaining this time around.
2. Eddy Pineiro
After the Giants game last week, the Bears released Elliott Fry which seemingly means that Pineiro will be the kicker. There is, however, still talk coming out of Halas Hall that the team may decide to bring in a veteran kicker before or after the preseason concludes. Pineiro can drown out all of the noise by having another strong game. So far the former Florida Gator and Oakland Raider has made 3-of-4 field goal attempts this preseason.
3. No Andrew Luck, no problem
The Colts top quarterback won't take the field this preseason due to a nagging leg injury that's carried over from minicamp. But the three signal-callers behind Luck have done an admirable job filling in for him. Jacoby Brissett, Philip Walker, and Chad Kelly have combined to complete 53-of-86 passes for 518 yards and two touchdowns in the first two preseason games. While none of them is as established as Luck, each will challenge the Bears defense if given the opportunity.
4. Injuries again
Even if Nagy did play his starters this week, defensive end Akiem Hicks (oblique strain) and wide receiver Anthony Miller (ankle sprain) would be listed as questionable. On the list of players who are most likely to play, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (shoulder) and offensive tackle Rashaad Coward (elbow) are doubtful as they've missed practice time with their injuries this week.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Top photo courtesy of www.chicagobears.com)