The Chicago Bears are out on the West Coast on Friday night for a showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Normally, this type of game would come with all sorts of high expectations and a lot of national attention, but because it’s only the preseason, things are being kept at a dull roar for now.
Even with that being the case, there are still several elements of the game that are worth paying attention to, and to help shine a spotlight on those factors, we picked our Five Players to Watch for Friday’s game.
S Chris Conte
With the Bears’ safety battle well underway, Conte is coming into the mix at exactly the right time. No one has really distinguished themselves in the quest to become the team’s starting free safety, and Conte’s experience should be a big boost as he tries to win the job. Friday will not only be his first chance to shine against an opponent, but it will also mark a big step in his recovery from shoulder surgery as he makes tackles for the first time.
QB Jay Cutler
Cutler has looked really good in the first two preseason games, and while a lot of attention will be paid to the back-up battle (and rightfully so), Cutler would surely love to make it through his last preseason work with some success under his belt. He likely won’t play against the Cleveland Browns next week, so this is his last chance to get some tune-up reps against hostile talent before the season begins.
RG Kyle Long
Long will be playing in his second preseason game, and even though he won’t have Jordan Mills by his side, the ferocious Seattle defense should give him a great indication of where he is as he prepares for his sophomore season with the Bears.
LB Shea McClellin
McClellin showed some real signs of improvement in last week’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Seahawks’ offense is a far different beast. With Russell Wilson under center and Marshawn Lynch running the ball, McClellin will be challenged with both the pass and the run, and his ability to diagnose those types of plays will be something to watch as he continues to try to earn a starting spot.
WR/PR Chris Williams
Williams was injured in the Bears’ first preseason game on a long touchdown catch, but his ability at receiver isn’t what is so important about his play on Friday. Instead, fans should focus on how he does in the return game, as he is now thrust back into the battle to replace Devin Hester. The team’s decision to dump Eric Weems is certainly an indication that they have faith in Williams, but it will be interesting to see if he can grab the reins.