By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — As you’ve been told by now, Friday night’s game against the Raiders in Oakland is the preseason game that matters.
The starters will play at least the first half and head coach Marc Trestman would like to see his No. 1 unit get work that is close as possible to the real thing.
“I think it’s important that they get out and from a conditioning aspect, from a reps standpoint, from playing through more adversity and more success, just to get them a chance to get to play together,” Trestman said.
That’s especially important on the offensive line, where four of the five starters weren’t even on the roster a year ago.
But how similar can the third preseason game really be to the real games played during the regular season. Both teams will scheme and game plan more than the other three preseason contests, but they still don’t want to tip their hand too much.
“We’ll game plan with structure that is designed to attack but not designed to give up formations and personnel groupings that we may use down the road,” Trestman said. “That’s about as frank as I could be. Simpler than what we may do during the season but enough to be able to create opportunities for these guys to get open in the passing game and certainly be able to run the football.”
And that’s exactly why it’s silly to get too upset about quarterback Jay Cutler zeroing in on Brandon Marshall in last week’s game against the Chargers. It’s also why it’s silly to worry about the fact that tight end Martellus Bennett has exactly zero targets in the preseason so far.
The Bears don’t want to show too much in the preseason, because all 13 of their opponents will be watching closely.
So while you want to see the No. 1 offense execute the plays they do run Friday night in Oakland, don’t read too much into what is actually being run or who is necessarily getting all the targets.
That stuff can wait for when it really does matter. Sept. 8 against the Bengals.
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Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.