Bears

Ten reasons you should watch the Bears-Broncos preseason game Thursday night

Ten reasons you should watch the Bears-Broncos preseason game Thursday night

Over the next four weeks for NFL fans, these things are certain:

1. You’ll need the latest roster handy.
2. There will be complaints about the poor level of play once first- and second-stringers are done.
3. The best players are playing too much, risking injury, or not playing enough.
4. There will be impactful injuries.
5. People will ask if we really need four of these games.

Nevertheless, most Bears and NFL fans have been starving for the game’s return at any level since the team that’s here Thursday night (or a reasonable facsimile of) raised the Lombardi Trophy six months ago. They’ll take this anytime over free agency, the draft, OTAs and minicamps. So in an expanded edition of my Wednesday morning TweetStorm, we’ll double the list from above as reasons to tune in — live or DVR’d.

1. O-line help: Sexy? Hardly. After the Hroniss Grasu injury followed pre-training camp retirements of Manny Ramirez and Nate Chandler, it’s getting pretty bare bones in the trenches. The latest flyer came with Wednesday’s signing of former Steelers second-round choice Mike Adams, who’s been idle a year from a back injury. Can the likes of John Kling, Cornelius Edison and Jason Weaver provide any glimmer of hope behind the only veteran backup who’ll play tomorrow night in Amini Silatolu? And can the ex-Panther add anything?

2. Running backs: Has Jeremy Langford improved his pass protection and pass catching? Can rookie Jordan Howard beat out Ka`Deem Carey as the main backup option, and does veteran Jacquizz Rodgers keep his name in the mix? Senorise Perry was one of this team’s best special teams contributors as a rookie a couple years ago before a season-ending exhibition injury last August.

3. Wideout competition: If Eddie Royal can find a way to keep himself on the field, there’s a backup slot role — not to mention punt-return candidates — in rookie Daniel Braverman and incumbent Marc Mariani. With Marquess Wilson probably starting the season on the PUP list, Deonte Thompson (who showed he can be a capable kickoff returner) and Cameron Meredith (who’s having another strong camp) will battle it out with Joshua Bellamy likely on the roster, barring injury.

4. Tight ends and fullbacks: Can anyone from among Khari Lee, Tony Moeaki, Gannon Sinclair, Rob Housler or converted defensive lineman Greg Scruggs show anything? Undrafted Harvard classroom wiz Ben Braunecker’s been sidelined by an ankle injury. And the tight end numbers are affected by the level of commitment to keeping a fullback between Paul Lasike and six-year veteran Darrel Young.

5. Kevin White and Leonard Floyd: Ryan Pace’s two top draft picks are making their game debuts at this level. Enough said.

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6. D-line depth: Can rookie Jonathan Bullard show capabilities of overtaking Mitch Unrein at one end? Where do Phil Emery holdovers Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton and Cornelius Washington figure in the rotation mix, if at all? And who’s capable of filling in at nose tackle if something should happen to Eddie Goldman?

7. Backup linebackers: Is Christian Jones a better outside linebacker than inside in his third year? And is he good enough to move ahead of Sam Acho, who provides special teams value? Rookie Nick Kwiatkowski’s to be groomed as the main backup inside to Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman but has been spectating with a hamstring injury. Jonathan Anderson and John Timu? You’re up.

8. Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan: Everything we hear is that the staff loves the undrafted free agent who secured the nickel spot a year ago. But they’ll allow him to push the previous regime’s last first-round pick on the outside, with a leaping ability that makes up for his height (5-foot-9). Secondary coach Ed Donatell says he usually sees players he works with take a jump in their years together.

9. The Safety Dance: The rookies from a year ago, Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey, are the incumbents, but can two of this year’s draftees begin to open some eyes, in fourth-round banger Deon Bush and sixth-rounder DeAndre Houston-Carson?

10. Teams tightening: The more the revolving, unfamiliar ingredients stabilized last season, it was easy to note progress from an absolute disastrous start in almost every phase last season. With greater depth through veteran additions and a draft class that had experience and production in college, can the gashing and gnashing be kept to minimum?

Enjoy Thursday night. Or try to, as much as you can. Oh, and never mind the scoreboard, say, after the first half.

Brian Urlacher's curious response to Grant Hill on Instagram is cringeworthy

Brian Urlacher's curious response to Grant Hill on Instagram is cringeworthy

For some reason, on Monday evening, hair plug enthusiast and former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher felt his input was necessary. 

Urlacher hopped on over to Grant Hill's (??) Instagram account and decided that he'd contribute by leaving inflammatory nonsense in the comment section, where the most useful and productive conversation always takes place:

Hey Brian? What was the point of this? Surely you can find something better to do with your time, right? If you're looking for overwhelming validation on social media just make a joke about Aaron Rodgers. And while we're on the topic, did YOU watch that press conference, Brian? I'd bet if you asked the vast majority of fans you made your Instagram for if they felt protected right now, the answer would surprise you. No one's forcing you to carry all that water because you spent 120 seconds in the Oval Office. Maybe just log off for the night! It's really easy! All you do is literally anything else besides going on random athlete's pages to start fights. 

Why Tom Waddle believes Nick Foles will be Bears' QB1, not Mitch Trubisky

Why Tom Waddle believes Nick Foles will be Bears' QB1, not Mitch Trubisky

The central issue surrounding the Bears heading into the upcoming season concerns the starting quarterback situation, and that previous statement could apply to many more seasons than just 2020. Longtime ESPN 1000 host Tom Waddle is no stranger to QB drama, as the former Bears receiver has been a leading voice in analyzing the team for over a decade on the station’s highly-successful “Waddle & Silvy” show. When the Bears made their move to trade for Nick Foles in March, Waddle’s immediate reaction was a strong one, as he recounted to Laurence Holmes on the Under Center podcast.

“You don’t trade a fourth-round pick and give up $20 million guaranteed to a quarterback and sit him behind a QB that you don’t have full faith in,” Waddle explained. “I immediately thought this is going to be their starting quarterback. I think the familiarity that Nick Foles has with John DeFilippo and Bill Lazor and Juan Castillo and obviously Matt Nagy, I think you put that all together and you couple the familiarity with the uncertainty that is in the mind of the head coach about what the existing quarterback is capable of doing, and to me, it all added up to they got a guy that they trust and a guy that they see as their starter from Day 1.”

That doesn’t mean Foles will be an automatic savior. Of course, he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl title with a brilliant string of play in January and February of 2018, eventually outdueling Tom Brady to win the title in a shootout. But Foles has started more than eight games in a season just twice in his eight-year pro career, the last coming in 2015 with the then-St. Louis Rams.

RELATED: 2020 Bears Roster Review: Breaking down the Mitch Trubisky-Nick Foles battle

However, the fact that the Bears were aggressive in identifying Foles and then trading with Jacksonville speaks volumes about how they feel about him and it’s that conviction that truly sells Waddle on Foles being the starter. “If you were just looking for somebody to compete with Mitch, you could have waited out the Bengals, who were more likely to release Andy Dalton,” hypothesized the former Boston College Eagle. “You could have signed Case Keenum, but I don’t think the Jags were releasing Nick Foles at any point because of the contractual obligation they had to him. They had to go get him and once they went and got Nick Foles, that was the surest sign of all, in my world, that Nick’s got the edge.”

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