The Chicago Bears got their preseason off to a good start with a nice win over the Miami Dolphins last week, but their task will be really tough this time around as they hit the road to battle the Indianapolis Colts.
The Bears will be looking for some big production from several members of their team in this game, but which storylines warrant the most attention for fans of the team? To answer that question, we give you three things that we’re looking for as the Bears take the field Saturday.
Secondary Absolutely Key vs. Insane Colts Offense
With the departure of Charles Tillman and the struggles of Tim Jennings and Kyle Fuller, the Bears’ secondary is potentially the weakest area of the team’s defense. Add to the mix the fact that they were unable to make a big splash in free agency at the position, focusing on players like Alan Ball and Tracy Porter, and there’s plenty of reason for pessimism when looking at this group.
Even still, the Bears will still look at several players when the team takes on the Colts Saturday night. Can Fuller improve in his role as the top outside corner? Which player will secure the position on the other side of the field? Will Sherrick McManis take on a bigger role with the team?
All of these questions are worth keeping an eye on when the Bears have to go up against the Colts’ talented receiver group, and the team will be able to treat this game as a type of pre-test for when they have to face teams like the Green Bay Packers.
More Fluidity Necessary from First String Offense
While a lot of focus was put on the way the Bears’ first string defense struggled against the Dolphins last week, the Bears’ offense didn’t look much better. It didn’t help that they were missing key components like Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte, but things still looked fairly disjointed, and it was a disheartening evening for fans of the team.
Saturday’s game won’t be much better in terms of available players, with Jeffery still sitting out, but the Bears need to put forward a better performance as their starters get more playing time. The team has to show some balance between the run and the pass, and players like Martellus Bennett and Eddie Royal will need to step up in order to help make that happen.
Which Receivers Will Step Up in White’s Absence?
Speaking of the wide receiver position, Saturday’s game is the first big audition for players that are looking to replace Kevin White on the outside. White will likely miss at least half of the season with a stress fracture in his shin, meaning that numerous receivers will have the chance to pick up the slack in terms of the available targets.
The two most obvious contenders are Royal and Marquess Wilson. Both players have good chemistry with Jay Cutler, and both players have the appropriate speed to complement the vertical threat that Jeffery poses.
Several other receivers could see some action, including Josh Bellamy and Marc Mariani. On the lower end of the depth chart, Cameron Meredith has made some good catches during the preseason and training camp, but he faces a longer road into relevance when it comes to which players will actually get serious consideration.