Bears Bourbo-Notes for Preseason Game 1: Watch early to see starters
BOURBONNAIS – School is in session on Thursday night. At least that’s how John Fox would like to think about it.
Consider the practices in Bourbonnais at training camp like small assignments. Preseason games when it comes to finding a roster are more like an exam.
“This carries a little more weight,” said Fox when asked about how he evaluates the team in games like the one Thursday night against the Dolphins at Soldier Field. “It’s like a midterm or final. It carries more weight than maybe some of the pop quizzes which would be practice.”
That will apply to the number of players in Bears camp who are fighting for the last 10-15 spots on the roster. The majority of the starters won’t have quite the pressure for the first preseason game. In fact their evening will be more like a quiz than a final exam.
Fox said the starters will see somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15 plays against Miami-a typical amount for a team in the preseason opener. Still it’s the first time he’ll get to see the players in his system and philosophy so some natural curiosity comes from this typical throw away game.
“I’m really excited to see them play,” said Fox. “Anxious to see how they do it under pressure.”
A Soft Opening to a Bears Career
Perhaps the most exciting things for fans in the first preseason game (Again, that’s a bit tempered with the game not counting) is the new faces that will be on the field.
With a new coaching staff a number of new players will don the Bears jersey for the first time-whether it’s most of the game or just a dozen plays.
That’s about how many Eddie Royal should be on the field for if all goes well against the Dolphins. He’s a likely starter in 2015 after joining the Bears from San Diego in the offseason.
“I’m excited to see it,” said Royal of the Bears’ offense. “I kinda know what our guys can do. I’m excited about getting out there and playing against another team.”
Pernell McPhee is another one of those big names fans will have their eyes on. He was one of the key acquisitions for the defense in free agency for the team and he doesn’t want to disappoint even if the game doesn’t count.
“We need to bring that intensity,” said the outside linebacker. “We need to bring that attitude and that swagger where we’re going out there and make people know that we are for real this year.”
Keeping Kevin Calm
If you asked someone about the most exciting thing that could happen in the Bears’ first preseason game, it might have been one of the players who won’t be on the field.
This was supposed to be the first time for first round pick Kevin White to hit the field in his NFL career but shin splints took care of that. It’s put White on the preseason PUP list and out of games for the foreseeable future.
Just this Monday White began some light running work on the practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University-and for the moment the Bears will keep the workouts that way.
“He’s a tough young man. He’s at the bit ready to go but we’ve got to be smart enough to ease him back into it,” said Fox of White. “He’s not played in seven-and-a-half, eight weeks so it would be crazy for us just to throw him back out there.”
Receivers coach Mike Groh said this week that he wasn’t sure if White would play in the preseason. That would seem to be a blow to the Bears who were hoping that White could be a starter for opening day against the Packers on September 13th.
But that doesn’t mean that Groh is discounting the work that White has done so far in training camp.
“I think mentally he’s doing an outstanding job. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to and more. Certainly made sacrifices in his personal time to get out in front of the playbook to understand everything we’re trying to do and everything that we’re installing.
“I’m very proud of him for what he’s done off the field and when we get him on the field we’re gonna see what he can do out here physically.”
Stat of the Week: 1,110
The number of days since John Fox coached a game at Soldier Field.
Coincidentally it was the first preseason game of the 2012 season for his Denver Broncos when they traveled to Chicago to face the Bears.
It was a major event because it was the first time Peyton Manning ever wore a jersey other than the Colts in his career. He was signed by the Broncos in March of that year.
Manning played in just one series and was intercepted but the Broncos ended up winning it 31-3.