6 Questions Chicago Bears Fans Should Be Asking
The Chicago Bears face the New York Giants tomorrow in their third preseason game. This game is often considered a "dress rehearsal" for the regular season, and you can expect the starting lineup to play well into the third quarter this week.
As the Bears work to get ready for their opening matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, there are still some lingering questions that need to be answered. Here are some key things that Bears fans should be asking over the next two weeks.
Will Brian Urlacher Be Ready for Week 1?
We're not going to get an answer on this until the Indianapolis game, but the alarm bell is officially going off. Brian Urlacher and the Bears continue to be evasive on exactly how bad Brian Urlacher's knee really is.
When questioned by the Chicago Tribune about a rumor that Urlacher went to Europe for a procedure on his knee during the offseason, Urlacher neither confirmed nor denied that it happened.
"I heard about that, Are there any quotes from me in there? Yeah, I didn't think there were any quotes from me, or anybody else, for that matter."
Urlacher became even more evasive when pressed on the issue.
"Like I just told you … I went to Europe last year. We played in London. I was definitely in Europe last year.''
Urlacher obviously won't play this week or next week either. But if he hasn't returned to practice by the time the last preseason game is over, there's a good chance he'll miss the opening week of the season.
Who Will Be the Starting Free Safety and Strong Safety?
The Bears have big question marks at the safety position. Again. This should come as no surprise to any Chicago fan given the fact that the Bears have drafted a safety every year since 2005.
Rookie Brandon Hardin hurt his neck in last week's game against the Washington Redskins. The Bears say that he will be OK, but he's not expected to play this week. The first chance we may see him in action is Week 1 against Indy.
Chris Conte has been having a great training camp and was competing for the starting free safety role. However, he dislocated his shoulder against the Redskins and is out until Week 1 as well.
Major Wright played against Washington, and he'll certainly see more time now; however, folks may remember that he injured his hamstring Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. How long can he stay healthy?
Craig Steltz will also see extended time this week. He has been doing well for the Bears, and it looks like he'll see a lot of time this week as well.
Can the Bears get through this preseason game without another injury? Who will be healthy for Week 1? These are also questions that we'll have to wait longer for to get an answer.
Who Is the Starting Left Tackle?
J'Marcus Webb is the starter right?
Or is it Chris Williams?
The job of starting left tackle is probably Webb's to lose. But the Bears rotated Webb and Williams against the Redskins and you'll probably see that again this week against the Giants.
Neither has really distinguished themselves this season. Rookie James Brown still has an outside shot, and all three will be tested heavily this week against the Giants.
Speaking of which...
Can the Offensive Line Protect Cutler?
Every Chicago Bears fan remembers the Sunday Night Game back in 2010 when the Giants' front four were in the backfield so much, it looked as if they knew the snap count. The Bears had 52 yards of total offense and allowed 10 sacks in that game.
Cutler was knocked out in the second quarter and the Bears couldn't do anything to stop the Giants' pass rush. Between the questions at left tackle and Gabe Carimi still getting up to football speed on the right side, it's going to be a challenge this week to protect the quarterback.
Cutler is expected to play three quarters. The Bears can hardly afford to let him hit the turf 10 times in this game or risk a serious injury before the season starts. The Giants will be without sack specialist Jason Pierre-Paul this week, but their defensive line is still pretty tough.
Can the Running Game Finally Get Rolling?
Passing game aside, the Bears want to run the ball more if for no other reason than to keep their defense off the field a little longer each game.
Is this the game where Forte and Bush get untracked and really show their potential? If the Bears can only move the ball through the air, what will that mean for the rest of the season?
This week will be a pretty big test.
What Will the Chicago Punting Game Look Like without Adam Podlesh?
Adam Podlesh went down with a hip pointer in last week's game against Washington. The Bears are being very tight-lipped about how long Podlesh will be out, but it is definitely a cause for concern.
Podlesh averaged almost 44 yards a punt for Chicago last season, and he will be a huge loss on special teams if he misses any time.
Rookie Ryan Quigley from Boston College will fill in for Podlesh this week. It will be important to see how he does against the former Super Bowl Champs.
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