Three things to look for: Bears vs. Titans
Matt Marton - USA Today Sports

Three things to look for: Bears vs. Titans

by - Senior Writer -

Fasten those seat belts and buckle up those chin straps as things are about to get real. Yes, games may not count this early in the season, but the first official week of the preseason is underway, which means Chicago will have some football this weekend.

First on the docket is a tough Tennessee team (12 pm CT, NFL Network) that is not only coming off a rough ending to their season but has a roster that has undergone significant changes. The same can be said about the Bears, but in a much more important matter, as this team will look entirely different in 2023.

Depending on who you ask, everyone has a different opinion on how they view the preseason. Some see it as a waste of time and want the number of games cut from three to two. Some feel it is about as vital as they come, as these games are made for players looking to make a team or, at the very worst, carve out a role. That will be the goal for the Bears this season as they are looking to improve on last season and have several new faces eager to make a lasting impression.

Here are three things to look for ahead of the first preseason game:

1. How long do the starters play?

One thing that varies from team to team in week one of the preseason is the number of times the starters play. While most teams elect to sit most, if not all, of their starters in week one, you have the ones who feel the starters need at least one series on the field to prepare for the upcoming season.

According to Matt Eberflus, not only will Justin Fields start, but so will several other starters as the Bears are looking to gain momentum to carry into the season. How much those starters play is another question, as I don't expect to see them more than two series at most. While it is good to have your starters on the field, this isn't the game to focus on, as there is still plenty of time for them to get reps.

2. Rookies adapting to the NFL game

With many veterans and starters expected to sit out or see minimal playing time, the focus will shift to the rookies as they will take center stage. Ultimately, that is what the preseason is about, as this is the chance for the Rookies on this team to leave a lasting impression on the coaching staff, hoping to earn a bigger role.

Guys like Gervon Dexter and Darnell Wright appear to have starting spots locked down, but the rest of the rookie class must prove themselves. The better they play now, the better chances they have to make this roster and be in a position to contribute from day one. Their growth is something the Bears will lean on this season as they look to build toward the future.

3. Get out healthy

One thing every coach talks about during the preseason is getting out healthy. This is no exception for the Bears, as they have had to deal with several injuries in camp and would like to avoid any more if possible.

While these games will be competitive and vital for some players, the bottom line is they don't count in the standings. Most coaches will tell you that you should be fine if you go out and give, at worst, 80%. After dealing with so many injuries last season, the Bears need to stay healthy to be at their best this season.

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