Three Things to watch: Bears-Browns preseason finale
|Saturday, August 27, 2022, 2:06 PM- -|
With the final preseason game set to get underway on Saturday night, Matt Eberflus and company are trying to close things out with a perfect 3-0 mark. Granted, none of this will count come week one, but it would be nice to see an unbeaten preseason, especially one as dominant as the Bears have looked.
This is typically what NFL fans call the dress rehearsal game, where the starters will often see time into the second half. Look for that to continue here as the Bears want their starters to get on a nice rhythm so they can use that going forward into week one. Here are some things to look for in the preseason finale.
How long will the starters play?
Across two preseason games, fans have seen the first team offense and defense play well, but it hasn't lasted long. In their first game, the first stringers saw one series; in their second week, they saw two or three.
This week will be vastly different as Eberflus has already said his starters would play the entire first half and some into the second half. That is what fans want to hear as they finally have an extended look at what this team can become heading into the regular season. A part from Justin Fields and David Montgomery, it will be interesting to see what starters go the longest and how they look after seeing minimum action this year.
Keep an eye on the position battles
While the first half will bring the most excitement with the Bears starters on the field, the second half could be the most important for Bears fans. This will be the time when all the roster bubble and position battle guys will be on the field as they have one last chance to impress the coaching staff.
Using that as motivation, fans may see some of the best play from those reserves as this is their opportunity to prove they are not only worth a roster spot, but could be worth more than that. The ones who show up and play the best will earn those final spots heading into week one, which will only help the Bears.
No one will argue that the Bears have been hit hard by injuries so far, but fortunately, most of those injuries have been camp injuries, and many of them are not lengthy injuries. However, there is still a 60-minute preseason game to worry about, and one injury to the wrong person could alter the Bears season.
Through two games, the Bears have done an excellent job of staying healthy, which is always the goal coming out of the preseason. With the starters expected to play the entire first half and into the second half, it becomes that much more imperative that they stay healthy now, as this is the final game before the regular season.
Can you imagine the backlash the Bears organization would take if Fields were seriously hurt because he was left in for too long? While that is a risk, it is a risk you have to take because these starters need reps. When you look at most teams across the league, the Bears have to consider themselves fortunate to be as healthy as they have been coming out of games, and now they have one more week to stay healthy.
Weeks one and two were crucial for the Bears to send a statement, but week three will be the most important week for Eberflus and his staff thus far. This is the perfect time for him to send a message to the NFC and the ideal time to balance reps and health leading into the regular season.