On Thursday Night the Chicago Bears face off against the Denver Broncos in the first of four preseason contests. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks with Mike Glennon and Mitchell Tribusky making their Bears’ debut.
Fans will be excited to see how Glennon fairs against the Broncos number one overall defense. On the flip side, fans will also be excited to see how Tribusky does in his first game as an NFL player.
Outside of the quarterbacks, the Bears have intriguing prospects such as Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen. After playing for small schools in college, the preseason will give them a chance to prove themselves against higher competition.
On defense, the battle in the secondary as well as the defense line will take center stage. There are starting defensive end and safety jobs as well as backup cornerback jobs on the line. They will be won or lost by preseason play.
Overall, the preseason allows for Bears fans to get the first look at their team. The preseason also allows for lesser players to prove they belong on the roster. A player may look good in shirts and shorts, but they have to prove they’re a baller when the pads come on.
Every Bear on the roster is looking to make a good first impression and prove their worth. As Chicago kicks off the preseason, look for these five scenarios to occur on Thursday Night against the Broncos.
Tanner Gentry Catches At Least One 20+ Yard Pass and One Touchdown
Tanner Gentry, an UDFA from Wyoming, has undoubtedly one of the most impressive players during Bears training camp. He has caught everything his way and seemingly makes a big play every scrimmage. Gentry made one of the best catches of training camp, snagging the ball out of the air as he is falling down in the back of the end zone.
Trubisky floats it up to Tanner Gentry for a nice snag pic.twitter.com/hKoQ1C7NOu
— Lorin Cox (@CoxSports1) July 30, 2017
Gentry spent four seasons with Wyoming, appearing in 42 games with the team. He caught 180 passes for 2,815 yards and 20 touchdowns. He exploded onto the scene his senior season, catching 72 passes for 1,326 yards and 14 TDs.
Gentry has great size at 6’2″ and solid speed, running a 4.5 40. He has all the prerequisites to succeed at the NFL level. He just has to prove that he can hang with superior competition.
Last season we saw puff piece on puff piece about receiver Daniel Braverman, only for him not to make the roster. Gentry cannot struggle during the preseason or he will suffer the same fate.
Gentry will likely be playing with the third stringers, including Tribusky. He will likely play most of the second half and a get real opportunity to prove he is worth keeping on the 53-man.
The forming Wyoming Buffalo will make the most of that opportunity in Week One, catching at least one deep pass and at least one touchdown for the Chicago Bears.
Jonathan Bullard Racks Up At Least Two Sacks
One of the most interesting position battles comes at defensive end. Akiem Hicks has one spot locked down, but the other is up for grabs. Currently Mitch Unrein is listed as the starter, but both Jaye Howard and Jonathan Bullard could realistically take his spot by the time the regular season roles around.
Unrein has struggled during his one season with the Bears. He appeared in 13 games, starting nine while racking up 26 total tackles and one sack. Unrein is one of John Fox’s favorites from the Broncos, but he won’t remain the starter with an output like that. It’s unlikely he ends 2017 as the Bears starter.
Howard was signed by the Bears during the offseason. He had an injury riddled 2016, but was dominant during his 16 game 2015 campaign. Howard racked up 57 total tackles with 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The former Chief needs to prove his health, but he is much better than Unrein and could realistically win the job with a strong preseason.
The dark horse in the race is former third round pick Jonathan Bullard. Bullard struggled as a rookie, managing just 18 tackles and one sack. However the former Gator was dominant in college and considered one of the best defensive lineman coming out of college.
Bullard has the potential to be a force on the defensive line. He has a lot of work to do to prove he is the player everyone expected him to be in the third round, but Bullard could be a hidden gem for the Bears in 2017. ESPN went as far to call him a potential breakout talent in 2017.
Like Gentry, Bullard will be playing against the Broncos third string offensive line. Bullard has the body of work and the talent to run through Denver’s line in the second half. He should be able to dominate, racking up at least two sacks in the process.
He won’t win the starting role in the preseason, but Week One should go a long way for Jonathan Bullard as he looks to prove he could be one of the league’s best.
Mitchell Tribusky Will Outperform Deshaun Watson
Following the Texans/Panthers preseason game, one of the most outrageous takes of all time was released.
National CFB writer friend just texted: "For f—'s sake, how did your Bears pass on Deshaun Watson?" Been wondering that myself for months.
— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) August 10, 2017
To whoever that college football writer was, there is no arguing that Deshaun Watson made a good impression in his NFL debut. The former Clemson star completed 15 of 25 passes for 179 yards and a rushing touchdown. His fundamentals weren’t all there, but was creative and capable of keeping plays going while on the run. He certainly outplayed projected starter Tom Savage.
But to say the Bears “missed’ on Watson after one game is ridiculous. Watson was playing against third stringers in a game that did not matter. The Texans were more concerned about keeping everyone healthy than winning the game. You cannot base an entire career off of one game.
Furthermore, Watson didn’t do anything that made him look like the next Aaron Rodgers. He looked good, but Watson did nothing that should draw up vulgarities from the national media.
Possibly his worst offense, was judging the Bears selection of quarterback without giving Tribusky a chance to prove himself. If Tribusky goes out and throws three interceptions then that writer has somewhat of a point. But without making his debut, it’s unfair to judge the rookie.
One preseason game will not determine an entire career. However Tribusky is going to make this writer look silly on Thursday Night. Playing against third stringers he is going to be able to show off his big arm, accuracy and decision making that made him the second overall draft pick in the first place.
It’s going to be at least a few years before we know who should’ve been the first quarterback taken in the draft. However Mitchell Tribusky will come out shining and make a great first impression during his first game in the NFL.
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