Three things to watch for Bears preseason opener
|Friday, August 12, 2022, 8:22 AM- -|
It is almost that time Chicago Bears fans. Football is right around the corner as the Bears will take to the field for the first time this season in roughly 24 hours (Saturday at 12 p.m. CT on NFL Network). Granted, it will only be the preseason, but it is still football.
Unlike the previous years, where there was not a ton of excitement, this season seems different as there has been a new change in the regime that has Chicago feeling optimistic. Alone with the changes at the top came a lot of roster changes as the Bears saw players come and go throughout the offseason.
Week one of the preseason is more of a feeling-out process. Sure, your starters will play maybe a quarter at the most, but week one is more for those roster fringe guys getting an opportunity to prove they belong.
Here are some things to look for in week one:
The Bears new look WR group
Although the Bears have seen their WR room hit hard with injuries as N'Keal Harry, Byron Pringle, and David Moore are all nursing leg injuries, there are still plenty of more options available. That is because Ryan Poles made it a point to surround Justin Fields with the most offensive talent possible, so adding WR depth and help was a huge thing.
While the team's No. 1 receiver is a lock in Darnell Mooney, the rest of the roster spots are up for grabs. That is why I think this position will be the one to watch during the preseason, as all seven of the Bears WR options have an opportunity to crack the 53-man roster.
That should lead to significant competition and great plays throughout the next three games, and that is all you can ask for as a fan. Fields or not, both Trevor Siemien and Nathan Peterman will have plenty of options to throw to, as the Bears have a lot more depth at this position than most teams do.
Roquan Smith and his contract extension
Despite demanding a trade and saying the Chicago Bears do not value him, Roquan Smith showed up to practice this week and is now preparing himself for the regular season. Given his late arrival to camp, not only do I expect him not to play this week, but he may not play at all this preseason as the contract talks have lingered.
While this was a worst-case scenario for this team, this is the position they found themselves in, and the organization hopes it doesn't become a distraction. For a team looking to get back to being playoff contenders, any outside distraction will take away from the goals at hand. They need to make sure Smith understands that and that he keeps his business between him and the Bears as far away from the public as possible.
Matt Nagy back in KC
Yes, that same Matt Nagy, who was the Head Coach of the Bears the past four seasons, is back in KC, where he served before getting the Bears job. Unlike last time when he was the quote-on-quote "offensive coordinator," Nagy has a far less prominent role this time, serving as the team's QB coach.
However, that could be the most crucial role on this team as he could directly alter how Patrick Mahomes plays this season. I am curious to see, as should most fans be, what the QBs behind Mahomes look like under both Nagy and Eric Bienemy. Were the struggles Nagy had in Chicago more of an inexperienced head coach or not having the personnel to match what he wanted to do? Regardless there will be a massive microscope on him this season.