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Preseason Watch List: NFC North

A detailed look at the key questions facing each team in the preseason

CHICAGO BEARS

For a team coming off a 3-13 season that saw both the offense (28th) and defense (24th) struggle, there were remarkably few changes this offseason. John Fox returns in spite of a 9-23 record, as do both coordinators. Analyzing the roster, most of last year's starters remain and are favored to keep their jobs. The question Bears fans are asking is how this coaching staff and roster can vault back into contention? General manager Ryan Pace made it clear he's taking a long-term view after drafting Mitchell Trubisky in the first round instead of players who would contribute immediately. Pace gave Mike Glennon $16 million guaranteed shortly before drafting Trubisky, further confusing the team's priorities. 

Camp Details:

  • When: 7/19 (Rookies) / 7/26 (Veterans)
  • Where: Olivet Nazarene University (Bourbonnais, IL)
  • Open to Public: Yes (See Website)

Preseason Game Schedule:

  • Aug 10 -- Denver 7:00 pm EDT
  • Aug 19 -- @Arizona 9:00 pm
  • Aug 27 -- @Tennessee 12:00 pm
  • Aug 31 -- Cleveland 7:00 pm

What We're Watching:

  • Getting a look at Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky -- Glennon was serviceable as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter before giving way to Jameis Winston, and the Bears opted to give Glennon $16mm guaranteed instead of keeping Jay Cutler. Pace then handed over a 2017 third round, 2017 fourth round and 2018 third round pick to swap one spot with the 49ers to select Trubisky. No matter what he or the coaches say, if Trubisky plays well in the preseason, the public pressure to start him over Glennon will be intense. 
  • Who replaces Alshon Jeffery atop the receiver depth chart? -- The surest receiver on the roster is Cameron Meredith, a surprise starter last season who caught 66 passes for 888 yards in 14 games. It's anyone's guess who starts on the other side. The Bears hope Kevin White will emerge in the preseason, but he's missed 28 games in two seasons. Veterans Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz have designs of re-living past successes, but both are past their primes. Which leaves Markus Wheaton, who got $6 million guaranteed to join the Bears after a forgettable career in Pittsburgh.
  • Who starts at tight end? -- Zach Miller is talented and productive, when healthy. He's rarely healthy and is rumored to be on the chopping block, as a result. Would the Bears turn the reins over to free agent Dion Sims, or can rookie 2nd rounder Adam Shaheen impress quickly enough to crack the lineup? 
  • The defensive end and safety battles -- Most of the starting roles are set barring injury, but Mitch Unrein and Jonathan Bullard will duke it out at defensive end while Adrian Amos and rookie Eddie Jackson vie for the free safety role. 

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