Bears vs. Broncos: What to Watch for in the Preseason Opener

Football is back. Well, sort of. Preseason football is always the ultimate tease. All the starters get super hyped to play one series, if that, and the rest of the game is a bunch of special teams players trying to play the position they played in college. You won’t see anything that the coaching staff doesn’t want the entire league to see before the season starts, so you can’t draw conclusions on what a team’s offensive or defensive attack will really look like. However, there are individual performances you can pick apart.

The O-line

Hroniss Grasu’s season ending injury is going to affect the Bears in a major way. It’s assumed Ted Larson will slide into the role at center, but communication and leadership might be missing in the first preseason game. If you’re a student of the game you know to watch the action from the inside-out. That rings true now more than ever as the Bears prepare to patch together an offensive line. The starters may only get a series or two, so key in on Larson to see if he’s making the calls…and to see if there are any broken protections.

The Wide Receivers

Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White are both locks to make this roster, but outside of that there are a bunch of question marks. I’m much more interested in watching White if he gets a few snaps. He’s a year removed from playing at game speed, and in my opinion should get as many in-game reps as possible. I wouldn’t expect Eddie Royal to play, so that opens the door for guys like Daniel Braverman. Yes, we love our seventh round wide receiver picks here in Chicago. Braverman has been the talk of camp so far, so we’ll see what the kid has.

The Rookies

Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, Johnathan Bullard, Deon Bush, Deiondre’ Hall…hell, you can throw Kevin White in there as well. My favorite part about preseason is watching the rookies work. It’s likely that all of these guys (apart from Whitehair and White who will likely be working with the first team) are going to look like superstars one way or another. It’s almost as important to watch for mistakes as opposed to watching for a breakout play. If Floyd doesn’t get completely overpowered, I think it’s a huge win for the Bears’ first round draft pick. I’ll be watching Bush and Hall very closely as I know the Bears are going to need help in the secondary this season. It would be a huge bode of confidence for Ryan Pace’s drafting ability if he can get an impact player or players in the mid to low rounds once again.

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