All eyes will be on rookie quarterback Justin Fields when the Bears open the preseason Saturday against the Dolphins, and rightfully so. The team’s future hinges on him developing into a star, and everyone is eager for even the slightest hint that he’ll get there.
But aside from Fields and some of the other more obvious names, here are three players with something at stake:
QB Nick Foles
A year after thinking he had finally landed in the right spot, Foles wants off the Bears badly and is making no secret of it. He implied that his struggles last season — 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions, 80.8 passer rating — weren’t all his fault. That doesn’t seem particularly self-aware.
Regardless, his best path out of Chicago is to “keep slinging it with these third-stringers” and make some other team believe it can’t live without him. He’s likely to get the most snaps among the quarterbacks.
CB Kindle Vildor
The Bears believe they found a gem in Vildor, a fifth-rounder who was the 19th cornerback chosen in 2020. Every team says that about every late-round draft pick, but they don’t know until they finally have to play him.
With Kyle Fuller gone and Jaylon Johnson moving to the No. 1 spot, Vildor is getting his chance in a competition against ninth-year veteran Desmond Trufant.
OT Elijah Wilkinson
Meet the Bears’ potential opening-day starting left tackle. Wilkinson was a right guard and right tackle for the Broncos the last four seasons and started just 26 games.
This was not the plan, but the Bears had to scramble to piece together an offensive line because of injuries. With Teven Jenkins still sidelined by a back problem and no timetable for his return, Wilkinson needs to show he’s capable and sway the Bears against bringing in someone else.