It's game three of the Chicago Bears preseason, and that is usually the best indicator of where the team is, given that its starters are expected to play more than one half of football.
Meanwhile, the last game of the preseason is usually devoted to players on the bubble, with the idea that you want your starters to avoid injury.
Recognizing that, this is the last chance for the Bears to make a stand in what has otherwise been a lackluster preseason.
Can the Bears improve on defense, especially on third down, and can the offense score in the red zone? Those are but two of the many things that Bears fans should hope to find out in this, the third game of the preseason.
We know that Brian Urlacher won't play, and neither will Major Wright. And both are expected to be huge contributors during the regular season.
Still, this game offers a chance for Bears fans to see a little more of what to expect from the guys, even though some plays will be kept under wraps until the regular season.
Here we go...
Well, that depends on what the offensive line does. If they pass block like they have in the second game, then you can expect to see QB Jay Cutler out of rhythm and possibly out of the game by half-time.
But if the Bears offense can get into a rhythm, then Cutler and the Bears can throw more and hope the receivers don't drop the ball.
Since the Bears are game-planning this week, we should get a better feel for how the offense will look in the regular season.
Look, with all of the hype surrounding the Martz offense, we had better see more than we have the first two weeks, although we know we won't see all of the plays.
Third down, particularly third and long, has been a problem for the Bears since last season, as they ranked 27th.
Better tackling is needed in order to shed the image of the Bears allowing more than 30 percent of the third downs to be turned into first downs. Perhaps Lovie's focus on stripping the ball was fine when they were young and fast, but now that focus does not allow for wrapping up the player first.
Still, the safeties are a weakness here. Chris Harris and Danieal Manning have been late on most of their reads, so the return of rookie Major Wright will be a boost for week one of the regular season.
The offensive line needs to do a much better job of protecting the QB. Since this is the first week for game planning, blitzes and stunts should not be a valid excuse.
Can Chris Williams block anybody? e sure couldn't last week, so this will be an are to watch. Lance Luis has an ankle injury and is also on the bubble.
As ESPN's Jeff Dickerson writes, "This game may represent the final chance for certain players to prove their worth to the coaching staff since most personnel decisions are already set in stone before the final preseason game.
Will Garrett Wolfe find a way to vault past Khalil Bell on the depth chart? Can former third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias do enough to earn a roster spot for the second consecutive year? Will Josh Bullocks or Al Afalava secure the final slot at safety? And how many defensive linemen will the Bears keep?
Is there room for Jarron Gilbert, Corey Wootton, or Henry Melton? Not only is the third preseason game the most valuable for the first team, it's just as critical for the reserves trying to make the final 53."
As I've mentioned, I believe that third round draft pick Major Wright will eventually the a starter, but in the meantime who will play the position? Wright has a finger that has been surgically fixed, and even Craig Steltz is out for Saturday's game, even though he may not be a starter.
What will Lovie do? That will be one of the things to watch on Saturday night.