Bears Insider

Jenkins' big opportunity headlines four things to watch vs. Seahawks

Bears Insider
Teven Jenkins

The Bears opened the preseason with a 19-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field. Thanks to some interesting NFL scheduling, Matt Eberflus' team will be back on the field Thursday, just five days later, in Seattle against the Seahawks.

Given the short turnaround, Eberflus plans only to play his starters between six to 10 snaps against the Seahawks. But that doesn't mean there won't be a lot to learn from the 60 minutes at Lumen Field on Thursday.

Here's what to watch for in the Bears' preseason game against the Seahawks in Seattle:

Teven Jenkins' golden opportunity

Following the Bears' preseason opener against the Chiefs, Teven Jenkins expressed how much it meant to be 100 percent healthy and able to play the game he loves. He also told NBC Sports Chicago that he was excited to "show out" in Seattle and prove to the Bears that he can play at an elite level.

It appears that Thursday will be an important day for Jenkins as he looks to find a way to crack the Bears' starting offensive line.

During the past two practices, the Bears have kicked Jenkins inside and given him reps at right guard. On Tuesday, Jenkins worked with the first team at right guard, bumping Michael Schofield to the second team.

Given how the right side of the offensive line struggled against the Chiefs, it's not surprising that Eberflus, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, and offensive line coach Chris Morgan are looking to switch things up.

 

Jenkins is the Bears' most physically gifted lineman, so finding a way to utilize him, whether at tackle or guard, would be the best course of action.

The starters won't play much in Seattle, but it sounds like Jenkins will get more reps than most as the Bears give him a look at right guard.

How Jenkins performs Thursday could help determine how the Bears' offensive line looks in Week 1 and what his future with the organization is going forward.

Kyler Gordon's debut

While Jaquan Brisker flashed Saturday against the Chiefs, Kyler Gordon could only stand on the sideline and watch.

After missing a week of practice, Gordon returned Monday and said he'll be ready to suit up Thursday in what will be a homecoming for the Washington native.

"I would just say I was itching to go be out there," Gordon said of missing the preseason opener. "It just looked so fun, like, 'I wish I was playing right now,' just waiting to go out there. It was cool to see the players out, the people that I know, the people I used to watch in college and middle school, just be like, 'Damn, I'm here. It's time. I'm ready to do this stuff.' It's exciting. "

Eberflus said he hadn't decided yet about Gordon's availability for Thursday, but all signs point to the second-round pick making his Bears debut in the Pacific Northwest.

While Gordon likely will make his debut, we'll probably have to wait to see him and Brisker in the defensive backfield together. The Bears' rookie safety was a non-participant each of the past two days with a "day-to-day" injury, so it's unlikely he'll suit up.

However, third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. could make his debut Thursday after missing the Chiefs game. The speedy wide receiver said he'd leave the decision up to Eberflus but feels 100 percent after missing almost a week of practice.

Pocket presence

Justin Fields had an impressive preseason debut. While the Bears' first-string offense didn't put any points on the board, the second-year quarterback made two big-time throws and showed off his rare athleticism with a 10-yard scramble.

However, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy lamented one play when Fields left the pocket too early and took what should have been flagged for a late hit after a slide for minimal gain. Getsy and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko have worked with Fields all offseason on finetuning his mechanics and improving his pocket presence.

On the play in question, Getsy said Fields went through his progressions quickly but skipped his second read. The offensive coordinator wants to see the young signal-caller hang in there and climb the pocket instead of vacating when he starts to feel pressure.

For a young quarterback, that's all about feel and reps. He'll get six to 10 more reps to polish that pocket presence Thursday in Seattle.

 

Encore?

Besides Brisker, rookies Trestan Ebner and Jack Sanborn were the main standouts in the preseason-opening win over the Chiefs.

Ebner showed off not only his electric agility but also a physicality that impressed his coaches. The sixth-round pick opened the game with a 34-yard kick return and added a 27-yard run, courtesy of a nasty cut, and a 12-yard receiving touchdown later in the game.

As for Sanborn, the undrafted rookie recorded two takeaways in the second half (interception, fumble recovery) that changed the game's momentum.

The Bears' linebacker depth is thin behind Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow, and Matt Adams. Sanborn could have a chance to cement a roster spot with another quality game.

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