After the first week of the preseason, the Chicago Bears gave their fans a glimpse of what’s to come for the 2017 season. There were things that were worth praising and things that were worth cringing at. After surrendering a field goal on their first series, the Bears’ defense looked very solid, not allowing the Denver Broncos in the end zone in the first half. The running back corps combined for 135 yards rushing, while Benny Cunningham scored the group’s lone touchdown. And of course, the story of the game was the great performance of rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. On the flipside, the first-team offense struggled in the passing game, due to quarterback Mike Glennon’s erratic presentation on the field. And there was a stretch during the first quarter where the defense was flagged multiple times.
All in all, the Bears’ 24-17 defeat to the Broncos has given us a laundry list of things to keep an eye on heading into their Week 2 preseason matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Here’s five of the top things to look for this week.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller, the Bears 2014 first-round draft pick, didn’t start in last week’s game. Instead, we saw newcomers Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the starting lineup. Having already failed to persuade management to give him his fifth-year option on his rookie contract this offseason, Fuller now has to fight tooth and nail to not only prove he’s worth putting back into the starting lineup, but possibly just to keep a spot on the 53-man roster for the regular season.
One of the bright spots on the Bears’ defense last week was defensive end Jonathan Bullard. The 2016 third-round pick made a couple of big plays in the backfield versus the Broncos, and is so far looking much improved from his rookie campaign. Bullard has a really good chance of unseating Mitch Unrein from his spot on first string. More games like the one he had against the Broncos will definitely help.
Robert Aguayo & Connor Barth
Kicker Connor Barth wasn’t a huge hit with fans after replacing the Bears’ all-time leading scorer Robbie Gould. His inconsistencies during 2016 didn’t help him either. Now, Barth has competition with the newly-acquired Robert Aguayo. This battle may or may not be short-lived. Regardless, this is one of the most vital competitions the Bears will have for the remainder of the preseason.
Having only been on the field for four games during his first two years in the NFL, wide receiver Kevin White is arguably the biggest enigma on the Bears’ roster. Having battled injuries, White is now healthy (so we think) and should be a big part of the offense this season. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see that last week because White wasn’t even targeted versus the Broncos. Of course, the horrible play from Glennon had something to do with that, as well as not being on the field that much. Week 2 of the preseason should give White more playing time, and hopefully more opportunities thrown his way.
Mike Glennon & Mitchell Trubisky
The biggest thing to keep an eye on is definitely the performances of Glennon and Trubisky. Glennon’s pick-six on his second pass attempt of the game against Denver didn’t settle well with fans. However, Trubisky connecting on 18 of 25 pass attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown had people thinking of another quarterback controversy in the Windy City. The Cardinals’ defense was ranked second in total defense and fourth in pass defense in 2016. Will Glennon improve from last week’s disappointing game and prove he’s worth this contract? Will Trubisky continue to play on the level which he displayed and show why he should be the Bears’ quarterback of the future? We’ll find out this Saturday.