The Bears open the preseason tonight against the Buffalo Bills. No need to “get your popcorn” because TO will be busy taping another TO Show and nursing his injured toe, so he won’t be playing. Rather than me coming up with a long list of “what to watch” in the preseason games, I thought I’d link you up with all of the “What to watch for” articles I could drum up. Here goes:
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune gives you his 5 things to watch here. His number 1? Big surprise – Jay Cutler!
Brad Biggs suggests you watch that pass rush and Rod Marinelli’s impact on the D-line in this piece.
ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson highlights his Five to watch tonight. His headliner? Corey Graham. I’m with you JD inasmuch as the Bears secondary scares the hell out of me.
The guys at Windy City Gridiron do a really nice job with a detailed preview for the preseason opener here.
That’s a lot of stuff to watch. At the beginning, I told you I wouldn’t ramble on about what I think is important to watch for, but after reading all of those articles, I can’t help myself:
1. Jay Cutler gets through the game injury free. There’s nothing that scares me more, not even death, more than Jay Cutler getting hurt. Who are our backups again? As a matter of fact, get through the game without any serious injuries would be fine with me.
2. Offensive Line play is often compared to ballet; big, fat, angry, sweaty, 300+ pound push-the-other-guy-more-than- he-pushes-you ballet. The O-line needs to push people around. Whether it’s protecting Cutler or opening holes for Forte and the running game, the O-line, with two new bookends, needs to get on the same page.
3. Don’t panic if the defense doesn’t look sharp. They will be running a very basic scheme, vanilla if you will. Don’t expect to see blitzes or stunts. Besides, this is the Bills second preseason game, so they might be a little ahead of us. In their last game, the Bills did some no-huddle stuff, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Bears adjust to that if they bust it out against us.
4. Don’t expect to see Tommie Harris, Zack Bowman, Danieal Mannning or Peanut Tillman. Do expect to see a lot of Caleb Hanie, Brett Basanez, Kevein Jones, Garret Wolfe and Adrian Peterson as they battle for the key backup jobs on offense.
5. See how the receivers play under live fire. No one has been hitting these guys and it’s easy to catch a pass when you know that someone isn’t coming to blow you up as soon as you touch the ball. Let’s see if guys can get off the line and don’t get alligator arms.
6. New rules force changes to the blocking schemes on kick returns. Even though there will be no Manning and I don’t expect #1 deep threat Devin Hester to be returning kicks, I am interested to see how the blocking schemes and 2-man wedges work.
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BearGogglesOn.
Get Bears updates sent straight to your Inbox for free by subscribing to Bear Goggles On.
Get the exclusive Fansided 45% discount on CBSSports.com’s Fantasy Football Commisioner league here. Sign up today!