First looks: What we’ll be watching in the Bears’ preseason opener
It has been a long time since the Bears have been this intriguing in the preseason. But that’s what happens when you add three new quarterbacks.
With the most important position in sports in mind, here’s what we’ll be watching in the Bears’ preseason opener Thursday against the Broncos at Soldier Field.
Mitch Trubisky’s comfort level
Trubisky’s ability to handle the entire operation of being an NFL quarterback — the huddle, the pre-snap reads, the actual snap, the handoffs, the pass progressions and the execution — is going to be on full display.
Trubisky repeatedly has said he has become more comfortable with everything that’s being asked of him, but he has struggled to stack good days together in camp after excelling in North Carolina’s shotgun-heavy offense.
As the Bears’ third quarterback, Trubisky should get an extended look against the Broncos. It’s not only an opportunity for him to learn, it’s also a shot for him prove how comfortable he truly is in the offense.
‘‘I’ll be excited, anxious to get out there on the field to show what I can do, mostly to prove to my teammates why I’m here and what I can do and just go out there, do my job and have fun,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘That’s what we play football for — to have fun and go out there and enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it.’’
That includes being hit. Live contact will help Trubisky get a better feel for the speed of the NFL and his place in the pocket.
‘‘Things will move faster, and [you] know when you need to move on and what you’ve got to do because we don’t get hit in practice,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘I’m anxious to just get back to real football.’’
Mike Glennon’s production
It’s unclear how much Glennon will play in the preseason opener as the starting quarterback. Avoiding injuries is still a priority.
But Glennon needs the work this preseason. His camp has been too up-and-down to say otherwise.
‘‘It’ll be my first time playing with this offense,’’ Glennon said. ‘‘[It’s] a lot of guys’ first time, so [I] just want to go out, do a good job moving the ball, score some points and just execute our offense.’’
Glennon deserves attention — praise, even — for taking command of the Bears’ offense and the team as a whole. He is engaging and surprisingly charismatic.
‘‘He has guys’ attention,’’ receiver Kendall Wright said.
But Glennon also is starting for a team for the first time since 2014. The Bears need production to go with his leadership.
Preseason game plans on both sides of the ball tend to be bland, but the Broncos still will present challenges for Glennon.
‘‘It’s kind of the first test of where we’re at and what we need to work on,’’ Glennon said. ‘‘It’ll be good to go against the Broncos’ defense. That’s a real defense; they’re one of the best in the league.’’
Kevin White’s (big) play count
Besides Glennon and Trubisky, there isn’t a player who needs the preseason more than White, a receiver who has played in only four games in two seasons because of injuries.
White’s confidence and physical abilities have been called into question during camp. A big play or two against the Broncos would go a long way in silencing his detractors.
Such plays have been scarce in camp. Cam Meredith and undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry have been more frequent standouts.
White’s style of play is worth watching, too. Receivers coach Zach Azzanni said he wants White to establish a ‘‘hard edge’’ this preseason. White’s best days in camp have featured physical play.
Rookies vs. new competition
Count veteran outside linebacker Sam Acho among the believers in tight end Adam Shaheen and running back Tarik Cohen. He’s had to deal with the rookies throughout camp.
‘‘He’s fast, quick, explosive,’’ Acho said. ‘‘He’s a special player, in my opinion.’’
‘‘This dude’s 6-7, 285 [pounds] — however much he weighs — and he’s making one-handed catches,’’ Acho said. ‘‘He’ll be a good player.’’
Shaheen and Cohen appear destined for game-day roles, but they still need to play well against the Broncos. Different competition will be good for them.
The safety competition
Rookie Eddie Jackson has impressed with his range, speed and interceptions. If he tackles well in the preseason, the starting job next to Quintin Demps might become his to lose.
Adrian Amos follows his assignments — his coaches love that about him — but the Bears are demanding big plays. Jackson simply has made more of them than Amos and Deon Bush in camp.
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