Preview: Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts
The Chicago Bears return to the field Saturday night against the Indianapolis Colts in their second preseason game and first away match-up. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
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The Bears are coming off a victory in their first preseason game, a 27-10 win over the Miami Dolphins in Chicago. The Colts, meanwhile, lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, 36-10.
The Bears had a decent showing against Miami, but the major concern was that both the starting offense and defense – playing against the Dolphins’ starters – looked shaky. The defense gave up a long drive, including failing to come up with stops on third downs, penalties that helped keep the drive alive, open receivers running through the secondary and defenders failing to keep contain on running plays. It looked familiar, but it’s only one game. Breathe.
Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Senorise Perry (center) is congratulated by quarterback Shane Carden (left) and offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje (right) after his 54 yard touchdown run during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Chicago won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The offense, meanwhile, had a penalty before its first snap and managed a field goal on its second drive. Not really inspiring, but they were playing without starting running back Matt Forte, starting wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and possible starting wide receiver Kevin White. With those players out, I’ll give them a pass for the underwhelming showing.
The Colts had a good showing from Andrew Luck in the game against the Eagles – five of six passes, 43 yards – and solid running from rookies Josh Robinson and Abou Toure. Plus, rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had four catches for more than 50 yards. That’s a solid game from three rookies for a team that had a great offense in 2014 anyway.
This is definitely a step up in competition for the Bears defense, while probably a step down in competition for the Bears offense. The Bears defense will face a top tier quarterback equipped with a couple young running backs and veteran Frank Gore, along with talented receivers, including Dorsett and TY Hilton. That’s a tall task, and it will be interesting to see if the Bears’ pass rush, absent for the past two seasons and the first preseason game, can generate some push to help the beleaguered secondary.
Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) runs a route while being defeated by Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) at Soldier Field. The Lions defeated the Bears 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
As for the Bears secondary, rookie Adrian Amos is making his first start, while Kyle Fuller, Tim Jennings and Antrel Rolle return to start the second preseason game. This is a good chance for all four to show that the Bears’ secondary woes of the past two years are gone. It would be great to see them force a turnover or two, but I’m thinking that a reasonable hope is that they break a pass or two up and force a punt.
For the Bears offense, meanwhile, they should be able to gain confidence against a Colts defense that was average last year, ranking 12th against the pass and 18th against the run.
May 27, 2015; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) walks off the field after organized team activities at the Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Beyond the overall offense’s performance, though, this is a chance for players to stand out in two positional competitions. The Bears are still determining the primary backup for running back Matt Forte, who will likely see his first preseason action Saturday. Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers played well against Miami, while rookie Jeremy Langford struggled. With Rodgers a solid power and third-down back and a lock to make the roster, look for Carey and Langford to see more carries in the competition.
Elsewhere, it’s finally time for Marquess Wilson to take on a featured roll. I’ve gone on record as saying I think Wilson’s nothing special, but with White and Jeffery out, he’ll likely get the start alongside Eddie Royal, with Rashad Lawrence and Cameron Meredith taking the third and fourth roles. Royal’s a lock for playing time in the regular season, but after Meredith’s and Lawrence’s strong showings last week, I think Wilson needs to show something, or else the Bears should start to look at Meredith and Lawrence for more time.
The Bears are coming into this game nursing a few injuries, including rookie wide receiver Kevin White, who will miss at least the first six games of the regular season after undergoing shin surgery. Alshon Jeffery also appears to be out for this game, according to NBC Sports. Tracy Porter, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young all missed the game against the Dolphins, but as of this writing their status for the game Saturday was unclear.
Next: Kyle Fuller Days (23) Until Bears Season Opener