The Chicago Bears finally got back to business last week against the Miami Dolphins. Now, they look forward to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2 of the preseason. As Sean McDermott's squad visits Chicago this Saturday, there are a few storylines to watch for during the game.
Even though Bears head coach Matt Nagy has alluded to Andy Dalton starting in Week 1, he may not have a choice if Justin Fields continues to push the envelope. During a media season this week, Nagy proclaimed that Dalton will get more playing time than he did last week. Nonetheless, the fourth-year head coach capped Dalton at one and a half quarters.
Dalton did not look too hot in the two series he did see last Saturday. If that trend continues along with the rookie shining during preseason games, the decision becomes a no-brainer. Nagy will have to appoint Fields the starter no matter how good Dalton looks in practices. So this Saturday, the pressure is squarely on Dalton's shoulders.
This storyline carries over from last week. The Bears lost Teven Jenkins indefinitely due to back surgery earlier this week. However, the team did sign Jason Peters and get Larry Borom back from concussion protocol. In that regard, they are in a much better position against the Bills than they were against the Dolphins. Although, neither Peters nor Borom have practiced much this week, so it'll be interesting to see how much playing time they see against Buffalo.
Furthermore, the offensive line as a unit, no matter who's playing, has to elevate their level of play from last week's showing vs. Miami. That performance was a mess from start to finish. Hopefully a few of the regulars on the interior get snaps.
Here we have another recurring storyline from last week. Rodney Adams really stood out against the Dolphins, but the Bears want to see more from Javon Wims, Jon'Vea Johnson, Riley Ridley, and Dazz Newsome. The competition is coming down to these last players guys for the final spot or two, especially now that Thomas Ives, Jester Weah, and Justin Hardy are no longer on the roster.
This may the last chance for the aforementioned names to prove their worth considering there is another round of cuts coming on Tuesday. At this point, Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, and Marquise Goodwin are locks to make the 53-man roster. Damiere Byrd is questionable, but the general consensus seems to be that he will make the cut as well.
Ryan Nall/Artavis Pierce
Both Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce had huge runs against the Dolphins last week. However, it appears that one or none of them might make the roster as the Bears are already three deep at running back with David Montgomery, Damien Williams, and Khalil Herbert. Where do Nall or Pierce fit in, especially with a decision on Tarik Cohen looming? The stars of preseason might be looking for a spot on the practice squad at this point. Still, be on the lookout for them once they check into the game.
The Bears still have no clue who is going to handle return duties this season. It would be wise for them to figure that out sooner than later. They have only two more weeks of preseason action to see who can provide them with the best field position possible, or better yet take one to the house. Chicago has been blessed in recent memory with elite returners in Devin Hester and Cordarrelle Patterson. Someone will have to step up, but time is of the essence.
Sean Desai's unit needs to figure out who will be on the opposite side of Jaylon Johnson. The depth chart isn't necessarily stacked at this time, but someone needs to fill the shoes of Kyle Fuller. Kindle Vildor, Desmond Trufant, Artie Burns, and Tre Roberson, just to name a few, are the current options at CB2.
Mitch Trubisky's return to Chicago has been a sore subject for Bears fans. He's undoubtedly a polarizing figure for the fan base, as many among the Bears faithful feel underwhelmed with Trubisky's tenure in Chicago while others point to surrounding factors they believe hindered the young quarterback.
Either way, he returns to Soldier Field as a Buffalo Bills quarterback as the starting QB for this game. Hopefully he plays long enough to go up against Justin Fields. The Bears' 2017 first-round pick will likely hear a mixture of boos and cheers in his return to the place he called home for four years. It will be tense and awkward, for sure.
Honestly, how great would it be to finally get closure on the Trubisky saga? Justin Fields can slam the door shut on the Trubisky era by outplaying his predecessor. It's time to move on.