After two less-than-stellar practices in central Indiana, the Chicago Bears will look to let their play on the field do the talking as they take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night.
Before the Bears take the field for this game, we have five players to watch as the team looks to continue their winning ways in the preseason.
The Bears’ first string defense was lackluster at best and wretched at worst in their opening victory over the Miami Dolphins, but while the results weren’t what Bears fans may have wanted from the group, it did serve as an appropriate reality check about how difficult the transition will be to a 3-4 defense for Chicago.
One of the key players in this transition will be Allen, as he is looking to make a statement in what could be his final season with the team. He has looked good in terms of his speed off the edge at the outside linebacker position, but the question remains whether or not he’ll be a liability in pass coverage and whether he can remember his assignments on run plays.
Going up against the Colts will provide an excellent test for Allen, as he contends with Andrew Luck’s potent passing attack and a backfield that now includes Frank Gore.
The Bears’ back-up running back position is still very much up for grabs, and although it does appear that Jacquizz Rodgers has the inside track for the spot, Carey is looking to make a statement and prove that he belongs among the 53-man roster.
The big questions for him are twofold. Can he play well enough to hold Jeremy Langford at bay as the team’s third option out of the backfield, and can he contribute enough on special teams to make Senorise Perry an expendable asset?
We should get one thing straight right off the bat: The Bears’ secondary is arguably their weakest position group. With that said, Fuller still warrants watching during the preseason as he looks to rebound from a tough freshman campaign with the Bears.
Going up against talented receivers like T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson will provide Fuller with an excellent test as he prepares for the season. He is going to face some stern tests during the regular season against the likes of Amari Cooper, Larry Fitzgerald and Jordy Nelson, and having these types of matchups are going to really help him prepare for the long grind.
Charles Leno, Jr.
During the Bears’ recent practices in Indianapolis, Jordan Mills ended up leaving the practice field with a calf injury, and Leno stepped into his place as the right tackle with the first string. Add to the mix the fact that Mills had a rough Week 1 of preseason play as he allowed a sack and committed a false start penalty against the Dolphins.
In this game, Leno’s performance will give us a glimpse of what we can expect with the seemingly open right tackle position. Mills came into camp as the incumbent starter, but Leno has looked excellent in drills and seems to be poised to make a run for the main job at the position. If he has a good game against Indianapolis, he could make John Fox’s decision that much tougher moving into the critical third game of the preseason next week against Cincinnati.
With Kevin White out of the lineup for the forseeable future, the Bears are going to be looking for a receiver to fill the void alongside Alshon Jeffery in the lineup. Marquess Wilson is going to get a shot at the position, but with his lack of track record and questions about his health, Royal is a much more likley option to get the second receiver spot in this offense.
Add to that mix his chemistry with Jay Cutler and his excellent training camp performance, and you can see why Royal should be a favored target in this system, at least early on. He could be looked at for numerous targets against the Colts, and it will be his big shot to show that he is capable of carrying the load at the outside reciever position.