Sit down, kids. We need to have a talk. No, not about the birds and bees, but about The Birds and Da Bears. The Arizona Cardinals will be back in the nest this Saturday, August 19th, to face the Chicago Bears in their third preseason game of the year. In a matchup that will feature the Bears 2017 second overall draft pick, Mitch Trubisky, the Cardinals will look to build upon the good vibes they have generated in their first two preseason games. In his only action last week, Carson Palmer marched the starting offense down the field for a 14 play, 70 yard touchdown drive. Preseason or not, head coach Bruce Arians will expect nothing less from his starters when the Bears come to town.
In a “what have you done for me lately?” type of league, Arians has been very critical of his receivers in recent weeks. Just a few short months ago Bruce raved about his receiving core. This week he sings a different tune. “I must’ve been seeing things back in the spring when I said we had had 12 guys who could play in the NFL,” Arians said,”We might have two.” Maybe he is simply trying to light a spark, or maybe his new vegan diet has just left him hangry. Either way, you can expect the ever-reliable Larry Fitzgerald to be there when you need him. Jaron Brown and Brittan Golden may not be household names, but when all else fails, play the guys that are hungry. With lingering injuries to receiver John Brown, it just may be their time to eat. Golden showed he is more than capable of running with the first teamers when he capped off the first drive of last week’s game with a 12 yard touchdown reception, coming across the middle of the endzone. Jaron nearly ended that same drive earlier with a narrowly missed 46 yard bomb from Palmer.
Whoever ends up being the playmakers at wide receiver this Saturday, they will be facing a completely remodeled Chicago secondary. With the offseason signings of former Cardinal Marcus Cooper (CB), Prince Amukamara (CB),and Quinton Demps (S), the Bears defense will look to improve on a season that produced just eight interceptions in 2016-17. Only Jacksonville had fewer interceptions (7). Should 2017 fourth round draft pick Eddie Jackson continue to remind head coach John Fox of Hall of Famer, Rod Woodson, there is a good chance that Windy City will be watching an entirely new starting secondary come week one when the high-powered Falcons fly in to town.
Speaking of “what have you done for me lately?”, Bears wide receiver Kevin White, their 2015 seventh overall pick, doesn’t even have an NFL touchdown. Granted, his first two seasons were riddled with injuries, but unless he starts putting up numbers as fast as he runs the 40 (4.35), Chicago is unlikely to pick up that fifth year option. Newcomer Victor Cruz (WR), is also no stranger to injury. While he was able to provide fans with his touchdown salsa last week, he is certainly no lock to make the team. The Bears may not have any star wide-outs after Alshon Jeffery left for free agency, but there is still talent there. Should things come together for White, Cameron Meredith, Kendall Wright, and Markus Wheaton, the Bears could have a respectable receiver core. Wheaton’s recent injury (finger) may help Cruz keep his foot in the door.
With all of Chicago’s new additions, none are as important or will be as scrutinized as the quarterback position. In addition to adding Trubisky in the draft, the Bears also signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Mike Glennon. In Glennon’s first drive with the Bears last week, he threw a touchdown…to Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. In Trubisky’s first drive he orchestrated a perfect two-minute-drill going 4-4 with a touchdown. Granted, it’s a bit more difficult throwing at Chris Harris than it is (insert third string/practice squad name here), but the quarterback controversy is well underway, even if the coaches have yet to admit it. The organization may feel forced to start Glennon week one, but you can be assured that the “Mitch-Tru-Bis-Ky!” chants will start the moment Glennon fires his first interception. Don’t feel too bad for Mike should things not work out in Chicago, though. He has $18.5 million guaranteed to fall back on. Jay Cutler may have not been the answer, but even he’ll only be siphoning $10 million from the Dolphin tank down in Miami.
If Glennon thought it was going to get any easier this week, he will be facing another top defense, and another lockdown corner by the name of Patrick Peterson. P2 may not lead the league in interceptions, but that’s only because most quarterbacks shy away from throwing his direction. Glennon would be smart to do the same. Then again, throwing anywhere else runs the risk of the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, making you look just as incompetent. Glennon might not need to worry about throwing an interception. In fact, with how disruptive Robert Nkemdiche has been, Glennon may not get a pass off at all. As of late, Nkemdiche seems to be doing whatever he wants but he should be tested this week against what Pro Football Focus (PFF) is calling the fifth best offensive line heading in to the 2017-18 season.
Here’s to another healthy game of “practice”. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm (PT).
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