Chicago Bears: The Key Players in Tonight's Preseason Opener Against Denver

Gabe SalgadoCorrespondent IIIAugust 9, 2012

Jay Cutler will play anywhere between the opening series and the entire first quarter in tonight's game.
Jay Cutler will play anywhere between the opening series and the entire first quarter in tonight's game.

Tonight the Chicago Bears begin the preseason portion of their 2012 schedule against the Denver Broncos. While there are some high expectations for this Bears team, there are some questions that need to be answered as well.

Here are the concerns about the 2012 Chicago Bears heading into tonight’s game.

Quarterback: Even though he won’t play much tonight, Jay Cutler needs to show that he is healthy and that he can take a hit, while backup Jason Campbell needs to show that he can run this offense efficiently in an actual game. Thus far he’s proven he can do this in practice.

Running Back: Keep an eye on both Kahlil Bell and Armando Allen as they battle for the No. 3 spot at that position.

Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall needs to show Bears fans, who still have doubts, that he is the real deal. Rookie Alshon Jeffery needs to show that he is ready for the NFL. Dane Sanzenbacher and Rashid Davis will battle it out for the final receiver spot on the roster, and hopefully we will find out who the No. 3 and No. 4 receivers will be behind Marshall and Devin Hester.

Tight End: The Bears have five tight ends on the current roster, all of whom will be battling it out for permanent roster spots. The Bears will only keep three or four tight ends during the regular season. Everyone at this position is under the microscope.

Offensive Line: J’Marcus Webb was reluctantly named the starter at left tackle for tonight’s game. He needs to prove that the coaching staff did not make a mistake in doing so. Gabe Carimi needs to prove that his knee is 100 percent and that he can be effective. Chris Williams needs to prove that he still belongs on this Bears team.

Defensive Line: Shea McClellin will get quite a few snaps tonight. This is his chance to show that he can play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. Defensive tackle is also something to keep an eye on as Henry Melton and Matt Toeaina fight to hang onto their starting jobs. Brian Price needs to show that all of his past injuries are behind him. He also needs to prove that he is in game shape. Stephen Paea needs to make his presence felt as well.

Middle Linebacker: Should Brian Urlacher be pulled out of the lineup tonight, Nick Roach and Dominic DeCicco will get a chance to prove their worth to this team.

Defensive Backs: There are a lot of young players in the Bears secondary this season. They need to show that they can gel with the veterans and become a cohesive unit.

While I do expect the Bears to perform well this evening, it is important that the best players are put on the field when the season begins next month. Tonight is the first step in that decision-making process.

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