Hoge: Ten Bears Players To Watch Against Chargers
By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — The second preseason game is upon on us, which means the starters are starting to matter a little more.
The Bears’ first-teamers are expected to see about a quarter of playing time tonight and head coach Marc Trestman would at least like to see his offense put up a few points.
Beyond that, there are a number of position battles going on, most notably on the right side of the offensive line. Here are 10 players you should watch closely tonight against the Chargers:
Jay Cutler – Expected to play most of the first quarter, Cutler needs to be turnover free and put points on the board.
Matt Forte – The running game was hardly used by the first-team in the preseason opener. Forte looks healthy and could use some big plays in live action.
Martellus Bennett – He’s looked the part all through training camp, but didn’t get any looks from Cutler in the first game. The Bears would like to see him cause matchup problems tonight.
Shea McClellin – Despite being a little banged up, Corey Wootton is running away with the defensive end competition. McClellin will still see plenty of playing time — and he did cause four disruptions in the preseason opener — but he needs to be more effective against the run.
Jordan Mills – It’s his time to shine. The Bears loaned him the No. 1 right tackle job for a week and so far the results are mixed. No one needs to have bigger game tonight than Mills.
Kyle Long – The same (sort of) goes for Long. He’s the No. 1 right guard tonight and might be able to seal up the job permanently with a strong performance. If he falters though, the competition with James Brown will still be on.
James Brown – Brown knows where he stands in a battle with a first-round draft pick, but to his credit, he hasn’t backed down at all. He needs to keep up his strong play as he gives the Bears a lot of options should Matt Slauson have to fill in at center or — wait for it — Kyle Long ends up playing tackle.
Eben Britton – Britton looked like the top swing tackle last week, but that was before he saw time at left tackle against the Panthers. He’s more of a right tackle or guard and even though he has flown under the radar this week, tonight is very important for him as he’s likely the next guy to see time as the No. 1 right tackle if Mills struggles.
Jon Bostic – The rookie continues to show a lot of progress in the middle and another good performance tonight would go a long way in winning the starting middle linebacker job. No one knows when D.J. Williams is going to return from his calf injury and as long as the rookie looks good, why not start him now?
Marquess Willson – The coaching staff liked what they saw from Wilson last week, but they are tempering their enthusiasm because it came against third-stringers. How does he perform now that he’s been bumped up to the second team? And maybe more importantly, how does he grade out on special teams tonight?
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.