Bears Versus Jaguars Five Things to Watch

Bears Versus Jaguars Five Things to Watch
Adiran Wilson hopes to make a statement with the Bears after sitting out last season with New England. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

In the preseason opening 34-28 win over the Eagles, the Bears offense continued to look as dominant as they did at the end of last season. The first team defense shut out Philly and Nick Foles and looks like it will be an improved unit in 2014.

There will be many of the same storylines in week two.

Battle for Second String Quarterback

With a poor performance by Josh McCown in Tampa and strong performances by Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer for the Bears last week, Marc Trestman's system seems to have prevailed.

Clausen led the Bears passing game going 7-13 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Palmer went 8-11 for 104 yards with one touchdown and one int.

It should be an interesting battle between those two to back up Jay Cutler. Sixth round pick David Fales also looked impressive last week.

Who Becomes Steps up to Become the Third Wide Receiver

Marquess Wilson's injured leg is likely to keep him sidelined for two months. No one stepped out enough last week to emerge as the clear favorite with Wilson out.

Chris Williams showed explosiveness on his 73 yard touchdown catch. He was a star returner in Canada, but never got the chance last week on special teams. He strained his hamstring on the touchdown and didn't practice yesterday. It's not known if he will play or not.

Eric Weems netted just 22 yards on two kickoff returns. Mike Spurlock had four catches for 58 yards and touchdown, but his special teams performance needs improvement. He had two punt returns for one yard and lost a fumble.

Special Teams

Virtually all aspects of the Bears special teams failed against the Eagles. Robbie Gould had a field goal blocked, Spurlock and Michael Ford colliding on the punt return, neither Tress Way or Pat O'Donnell distinguishing themselves at Punter and allowing a 102 yard kickoff return.

O'Donnell had two punts for 67 yards. Dubbed megapunt, O'Donell had one for 47, but the other ones was for 20 yards. Way averaged 37.5 yards on two punts.

The Bears kick return game was also concerning. Spurlock was unimpressive on punt returns. Weems 11 yards KOR average won't cut it. Michael Ford had one kickoff return for 30 yards.Fighting for a roster spot, being strong on special teams will give Ford a chance to make the team. Williams once had six kick return touchdowns in a CFL season.  He needs to get a chance to show he  can be a dynamic return man the Bears need with Devin Hester in Atlanta.

They Eagles had no punt returns, but all it takes is one big return to change momentum in a game. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis has to be concerned with the kick coverage.

Running Game

Matt Forte had three carries for -5 yards, but should be fine. We will see more of him tonight and next week. None of the backups were impressive.

Kadeem Carey rushed for over 3,700 yards at Arizona the last two seasons. He finished with just 23 yards on 10 carries against the Eagles last week. He was impressive in pass protection.

Jordan Lynch had 24 yards on seven carries. He did have a 12 yard run. Making the switch from Quarterback at Northern Illinois, Lynch will have to learn a lot and is likely a long shot to make the team.

Ford had five carries for 15 yards. Shaun Draughn who is listed as second on the depth chart had just one carry for two years.

Secondary

Although no one stepped up and distinguished themselves last week the secondary was impressive. Nick Foles through only two touchdowns last season, yet threw two against the Bears. They also picked off Matt Barkley.

Ryan Mundy, Al Louis-Jean and Sherrick McManis were the interceptors. Adrian Wilson had a nice hit and three tackles total. The Bears depth will be one of the strengths in the secondary.

They are set at corner and nickel with rookie Kyle Fuller, Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman giving the Bears a great threesome to match up with any receiving core in the NFL.

The battle for the two safety spots between Mundy, Wilson, rookie Brock Vereen, Chris Conti and M.D. Jennings should be intense for the next few weeks. Conti is returning after being injury in training camp  It will be one of the most important battles to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the pre-season

 

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