Here we go folks, NFL football has made its triumphant return and with it brings our dear old Chicago Bears and their usual rounds of disappointment and gray skies. But that’s not to say there’s hope just around the bend. After a shakeup at quarterback and a bolstered secondary, the Bears have the potential to break .500 for the first time since 2010.
And to kick things off, the first preseason game against the Denver Broncos revving up tomorrow, August 10th, in the iconic Soldier Field. So to prepare, let’s go through the rundown of a few players that all eyes should be on in the impending showdown.
Here are the five players to watch for the Bears as they face the Broncos.
The third year center is coming into this season with generally little momentum. He appeared in only 8 games his rookie campaign and a torn ACL ended his sophomore year before it even began. And stuck on a Bears team loaded with talented interior lineman, this scenario on paper at least feels like it should be a hopeless one for Grasu. Injuries and a ton of competition on your own team is a recipe for ending careers.
That is if Grasu didn’t have incredible potential to be a surefire starting center if not more in his career.
After so much missed time, he’s really flying under the radar and is almost being written off by many already. So that means this first game back for him is going to be a massive one. It’s preseason and there’s no doubt he will see the field often. But he absolutely needs to heavily impress if he wants to have any chance of playing.
The potential is there but despite it only being preseason, Grasu will have to dominate to prove his worth on an otherwise loaded Bears line.
Ohhhhh, Kevin White. Where do we even start with you? You’re a seventh overall pick who has played in 4 out of the 32 possible games you could have appeared in. You had 19 receptions with zero total touchdowns in the entirety of your career. To say this upcoming season is life or death for you is an understatement. Any games you miss from injury only pushes the hands of fate closer to your inevitable retirement or more than likely cut from the Bears.
And it all starts with this game. You’re the number one receiver but that’s not going to stop John Fox from giving you a drive or two to re-acclimate to the NFL landscape. But oh do you have to acclimate quickly. The chances are heavily limited for you and the pressing fact you need to deliver this season is scarily clear for a 25-year-old receiver.
Rookie quarterback? Check. Second overall pick? Check. Acquired through a massive trade that could very well blow up in the Bears’ faces? Check. The pressure is there for both Trubisky and General Manager Ryan Pace to prove to everyone wrong and that this trade was a good idea this season is enormous.
And yeah, I know, it’s only preseason and whether or not he can look like Tom Brady doesn’t matter all that much. The regular season is when that matters. But these next four games are really his chance to earn the starting spot. Mike Glennon has it locked down pretty well but a wicked showing could force John Fox’s hand.
But if we’re being honest, any rookie quarterback on any team is going to make for an exciting season. Very few humans on the entire planet can play the position at a high level and to have selected someone who can is franchise changing. It’s been awhile since the Bears have had a rookie at quarterback. And even if he doesn’t start a single game in the regular season, seeing the UNC product throwing in a Bears uniform is going to be a ton of fun, to say the least.
There’s no hiding it-Fuller is going into a make or break year. Being a first round pick is always going to bring a ton of hype with it and Fuller honestly responded to it well his rookie year. But three seasons later, he has shown zero signs of stardom like his first season has flashed.
It will be nice to see him back in action after a season-ending knee injury but fans and coaches alike will need to see a lot more out of him than just being on the field if he wants any chance to secure a roster spot next season.
Yeah, yeah, it’s exciting to see all rookies for the first time and obviously, it’s the rookies to look out for in the first week of preseason. But Shaheen has a little bit more to his story than that. He was the Bears second round pick and the first of three players to selected below the FBS level this past April. But after being drafted so high despite being from the tiny Ohioan college of Ashland, there’s for sure a level of risk inherent in Shaheen.
And this is not to say he didn’t earn that selection. He demolished any competition in college and has every tool to become a top tight end in the NFL. But with the lack of strong competition, it’s going to be interesting to see how he responds to top tier NFL talent, especially against a defense as good as Denver’s.