Top 5 Things To Watch in the Chicago Bears Preseason Opener vs the Panthers

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Jul 26, 2013; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears linebackers Jonathan Bostic (57) and Khaseem Greene (60) drop back into coverage during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason is upon us!  The Bears will take on Carolina Panthers to open the Marc Trestman era.  Most fans despise the preseason games and I totally get that.  The starters barely play, the results don’t matter and you don’t have any fantasy players going.  Most fans watch the games through their fingers with gritted teeth,  hoping and praying that there isn’t a significant injury to a key player.   That goes without saying.  Besides hoping to keep the injury bug away, there are still a few things to watch.  As a matter of fact, here are five.

5. The Rookies

The starters may be heading to the sidelines after a few plays, if they play at all, but the future building blocks of the team should be getting plenty of time.   I expect James Brown will start the game at RG, but don’t be surprised to see Kyle Long get some significant time.

Jon Bostic will already be running with the 1’s on defense, but expect him to stick around and get reps with the 2’s, when fellow draftee Khaseem Greene gets into the action.  Jordan Mills should play most of the second half, unless they want to make J’Marcus Webb play the entire game, like Mike Tice did last season.  Also look for pass rush specialist Cornelius Washington and wide receiver Marquess Wilson to get their opportunities.

Of the undrafted variety, DT Zach Minter and CB CJ Wilson are guys to watch.

4. The Camp Stars

Every year, there are guys who shine under the Bourbonnais sun only to wilt under the bright lights of the actual games.  Whether it’s receivers who can’t get off press coverage or tight ends who can’t catch when they’re going to get hit for real, there will be those guys.  You want to see if they’re stars just in camp or if they can cut it against a semi-real opponent.

Jul 26, 2013; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears receiver Joe Anderson (19) runs past defensive back Anthony Walters (37) during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Anderson has had an excellent camp.  With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery missing time in the offseason program, Anderson has gotten a lot of reps with the 1’s.  Let’s see if he can hack it in real game action.

Isaiah Frey has had an excellent camp and is being thrust into the spotlight as the starting nickelback with Kelvin Hayden sidelined for the season with a torn hamstring.

Fendi Onobun has had a nice offseason program and the former basketball player fits the mold of a player who looks good in shorts and shells, but can’t connect the dots in the pads.