5 players to watch in the Bears preseason clash with the Patriots

5 players to watch in the Bears preseason clash with the Patriots
CHICAGO, IL- DECEMBER 13: on December 13, 2015 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Washington Redskins won 24-21. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

The Bears showed very little in last week’s preseason opener against the Denver Broncos losing 22-0.

On Thursday night, they’ll play AFC elite New England which includes Tom Brady pre-suspension. Although Brady likely won’t have two of his top targets, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman, you know the Patriots will be pumped up for this one.

The Bears on the other hand have to perform better than they did last week. With the first team offense out there in the first quarter against Denver, they punted all three times. On the night, the Bears punted more times (9) than they picked up first downs (8).

It’s a new week, more players will get to prove their worth and we’ll see what unfolds in New England.

Here are five players you should watch in preseason game No. 2.

CB Deiondre’ Hall

Kyle Fuller is reportedly out the rest of the preseason with a knee injury, per WGN’s Adam Hoge. Plus Bryce Callahan (muscle strain) might not be healthy enough for this one as well. That leaves Tracy Porter, fourth round rookie Deiondre’ Hall and slot corner Demontre Hurst as your three starters.

Porter might only play sparingly due to his injury past so expect to see outside corners De’Vante Bausby and Jacoby Glenn get their chances as well. However, all eyes will be on Hall after he flashed his cover skills last week with back to back pass breakups in the endzone. He is very physical and could be an early season contributor if Fuller misses any time.

C Ted Larsen

The Bears’ offensive line allowed seven sacks last week, including two on quarterback Jay Cutler. No one on the starting line or backup lines played well. But right now Cutler is building his rapport with veteran Ted Larsen at center with Hroniss Grasu out with a torn ACL.

Larsen is the toughest offensive lineman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. At 29, he’s also the oldest of the young group. The Bears need him to be a constant contributor in the middle and this is a big test against a very solid New England defensive front.

WR Alshon Jeffery

We got a small glimpse of what Alshon Jeffery brings to the table when healthy last week. He had a 12-yard grab that he fought for on the opening offensive play for the Bears.

Of course, Jeffery is a superb athlete when at 100 percent, but he’s still working through a hamstring issue so that is always a concern. The Bears want him to play above and beyond his talents all season long and even in these preseason matchups. Along with Kevin White, it’s a must for Jeffery to be a star in this offense.

RB Jeremy Langford

10 yards on four touches. Those were the numbers for second-year back Jeremy Langford against Denver. Indeed, none of the Bears running backs did much combining for 34 yards on 17 carries (2.0 yards per carry).

Langford didn’t find much running room behind the starting offensive line. So this week is an important one against the Patriots defense. Langford has the lead for the starting gig over Jacquizz Rodgers, Ka’Deem Carey and Jordan Howard, but if he falters this will turn into a true rotation very quickly.

DT Eddie Goldman

The Bears’ starting defense only played two series against the Broncos, so second-year nose tackle Eddie Goldman didn’t get to do much. The 22-year-old is a true piece to build around after recording 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a rookie in 12 starts. He had three sacks from Week 11-13.

Of course, Goldman failed to finish the regular season healthy with an ankle injury suffered in Week 16 against Tampa Bay. Goldman played at a high level once the Bears gave him the keys to the middle of the line following the release of veteran Jeremiah Ratliff. Seeing how much further he’s improved will be essential for the Florida State product.

Honorable mentions: QB David Fales, RB Jordan Howard, TE Tony Moeaki, WR Kevin White, WR Deonte Thompson, T Mike Adams, S Deon Bush, S Harold Jones-Quartey, CB De’Vante Bausby, LB Roy Robertson-Harris

Who will you be watching? Comment below.

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