Bears vs. Titans Preseason Preview: 5 Things to Watch
At the mid-point of the preseason, it's very clear that the Bears have a lot of questions that have yet to be answered.
After Week 1, we were asking a slew of questions about the offensive line and it giving up nine sacks to the Bills.
Since Week 2, we've been hearing things about how poorly the defense and special teams played, while on the other hand, the offensive line gave up only one sack.
There's no question that the Bears are a talented football team, but can they put it all together before the September 11th opener against Atlanta.
With their third preseason game against Tennessee coming up on Saturday, here are five things to look for from Chicago against the Titans.
Can Offensive Line Keep It Up
Like I stated earlier, the Bears offensive line was horrendous against Buffalo and then vastly improved Week 2 against the Giants. It was especially promising because Jay Cutler stayed on his feet against the Giants first team defense in two quarters of work.
The key here will be to see if the Bears can hold the trenches again on Saturday.
I'm giving the Bears O-line a four-sack safety net to consider it a successful night, because keeping Jay Cutler on his feet will be the ultimate goal of the evening.
Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell have looked very good in two games of running the football.
After sitting out the first preseason game, I kind of expected Matt Forte to get more than four carries against the Giants. Even if he did have a nice 42-yard reception, which was mostly RAC, Forte's YPC is what I'm ultimately worried about.
Be sure to notice how the Bears use Forte this weekend and in what capacity.
Jay Cutler and Roy Williams
Jay Cutler made it clear early against the Giants that he wanted to connect with Roy Williams for a couple plays over the middle. Roy Williams seemed to have left his hands at home.
Williams' stat line against the Giants went zero receptions on three targets, two of which were blatant drops. That is simply unacceptable for a wide receiver that is going to lineup in the leading role in Mike Martz's offense.
It will be interesting to see if Cutler and Williams worked out any kinks this week in practice and if that work is going to translate to success on the field.
Brian Iwuh and Nick Roach
Brian Iwuh is rarely going to start for the Bears come the regular season, if ever. However, he is seeing some really nice playing time while Lance Briggs sits for the entire preseason.
Nick Roach is the presumed starter as strong side linebacker.
Frankly, I've been impressed with both players' ability to get into the backfield and break up running plays, as well as Iwuh's showing in coverage.
What I'll be looking for from these guys come Saturday will be how Iwuh handles the opportunity for more playing time and if Roach can continue his impressive play. Who knows, this preseason experience may come in handy later in the season.
The Absense of Chris Johnson
The Titans and Chris Johnson's people were unable to come up with a deal again today, so it's safe to say that CJ 2K won't be suiting up for Saturday's matchup.
With that said, I'll be watching if the Bears run defense can stop the other Titans running backs.
There's no argument here: the Giants flat out ran all over the Bears defense on Monday to the tune of 218 yards on 27 carries for three touchdowns. That's a whopping 8.1 yards per carry, and that is totally opposite of what Bears football is all about.
We'll just have to wait and see if the defense tightened up during their tuneups for Tennessee.
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