Five Things to Watch in Saturday's Pre-Season Game - NBC Chicago
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Five Things to Watch in Saturday's Pre-Season Game



    In Nashville on Saturday night, the Bears will kick off their third preseason game, taking on the Titans.

    They have a new coach in Mike Munchak, a new quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, but they don't have the services of Chris Johnson. The running back, who picked up 1,364 yards last season, is holding out in a contract dispute.

    But enough about them. What about the Bears should you look for?

    Days of Our Wide Receivers
    : The drama that is the battle between Johnny Knox and Roy Williams will continue. Will Roy remain catchless so far this preseason? Will Knox continue to do everything right to remind his coaches that he was the Bears receiving leader last season? Will Mike Martz become possessed by a demon and try to kill Stefano DiMera? Tune in and find out.

    A Repeat for the Offensive Line: Monday night, the Bears O-line allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked once. Once! And that was on a play where he really should have dumped the ball. This is from the line that in the past, one sack a quarter would be a marvelous performance. Can they do it again? Will they show that they are capable of holding so that this tidbit will not be a part of the preview for the game against the Browns?

    Barber's Next Step: Lovie Smith is gushing over Barber's performance so far. In the first two pre-season games, he is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He couldn't get in the end zone on Monday against the Giants, but he has caught the eye of Smith. The coach stopped short of making Barber the back-up over Chester Taylor, but we can keep our fingers crossed.

    Last Chance for Bubble Guys: The roster will cut down from 90 to 80 on Tuesday, meaning that this is the last chance for players on the edge to show how they will fare in a game situation. Making the most of their reps is key for each individual.

    An Overall Better Effort: If there is anything that the Bears coaches were disappointed in from Monday night, it was a lack of effort. Whether it was Williams dropping passes, Major Wright missing a tackle or Spencer Lanning's punt being blocked, mistakes are bound to happen. Smith and the coaches just don't want to see it happen again.

    As both Chris Harris and the Onion reminded us this week, it is just the preseason. What we're watching are basically extended practices with the added benefit of playing a different team. They are not going to show their best defensive schemes or their special teams trick plays.

    The Bears went 1-3 in the preseason last year, and then won the NFC North and made it to the NFC Championship game. Take a breath, and enjoy the fact that football -- or its reasonable facsimile -- is happening before your very eyes.