The Bears are heading to New Jersey to face the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants on Friday night for their 3rd preseason game. The third preseason game is the best indication of what the Bears will look like in the regular season which is fitting considering the Giants will be a very tough opponent and will certainly help show where the holes are and what needs improving before the season opener on September 9th.
What to watch for and who to know:
- The Bear’s pass protection. Pass protection simply means how well the Bear’s offensive line will protect quarterback Jay Cutler from the oncoming defense. If Cutler doesn’t have good protection from the O-line then he has little time to effectively get rid of the ball. The Giant’s defense is ridiculously good – one of the best in the NFL, so it’s guaranteed that Cutler will feel the pressure.
- The on-going left tackle drama. This critical position on the offensive line has been up for grabs between J’Marcus Webb and Chris Williams since the start of training camp. Look for both guys to get playing time Friday night and for both to open up running lanes for running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush.
- No Brian Urlacher means more Nick Roach. Urlacher continues to sit out of training camp and preseason games after his arthroscopic knee surgery last week and won’t return until the first game of the regular season, if that. Look for back-up Nick Roach to fill in as the captain of the defense in this critical position while Urlacher heals and battles the press after the latest news of his trip to Germany this spring for unconventional medicine to help his banged up knee.
- Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall: The Cutler/Marshall duo impressed us and delighted fans last week against the Redskins when they connected early in the first quarter to set up 2 touchdowns. We’ll be looking for these guys to do it all over again – and longer into the game, with assistance in the running game from running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush. But it won’t come easy against a very tough Giant’s defense.
- Who NOT to look for (besides Brian Urlacher): 3rd string running back Kahlil Bell. Bell was waived by the Bears today after he wouldn’t accept a pay cut. Bell was picked up by the Bears last year after star running back Matt Forte went down for the season. But now that Bell is the 3rd option (behind Forte and Bush) his $1.26MM salary seemed a bit high for the Bears. When offered a new salary of $700K, Kahlil said “no thanks” and packed up his bags and left.
What’s Next: Kick off the weekend with the Bears/Giants game at 7:00PM on CBS. This game will prove to be far more exciting then the previous two, so make a night out of it!