1. Can the O-Line block anyone? - This one is pretty easy to see. As Cutler goes, so goes the bears. Can the O-Line bounce back after a bad half against the Raiders?
2. The timing between Cutler and his WRs - As has been said repeated times over the offseason, Martz's offense is all about the timing between the QB and WR's routes. Martz preaches to throw to a spot on the field because the WR should be there which is really hard to cover if the WR is there. The defenses have always tried to disrupt the WRs and QBs by blitzing or jamming the WRs. Are the bears' WRs good enough to run a precise route and get off a cornerback's jam at the line? Can Culter be under control enough to throw to a spot and trust his WRs? Watch and see how much Cutler has to pump and then pull the ball down because some WR isnt in the right spot? Hopefully not a lot.
3. Don't let up D - The last couple of years the bears' defense has let the opponent convert on too many 3 downs. And on a lot of 3rd down and longs. The Raiders carved up the bears on the third down. Many things can be pointed at as the reason for this trend but most importantly its the safeties and pass rush. I have no doubt that Peppers will get consistent pass rush but what will the other linemen do? And are the bears safeties good enough in coverage to play man and let others blitz and not just drop back in zone coverage? Watch and see if the bears can get off the field on 3rd down.
Positions to Watch - The bears dont have a whole of questions at who is gonna start but they do have some interesting questions as to who will contribute behind the starters.
1. The slot WR - I'm interested in seeing what the bears do here because i dont think there is any question that Hester, Aromashodu and Knox are their best 3 WRs. But, they want to have Olsen on the field a lot and people have been praising Rashied Davis' camp and he has gotten quite a few snaps in the preseason. Who is gonna get snaps as the 3rd WR and how many will they be? This will be the first chance we have to see how Martz will juggle all the players?
2. Left side of the D-line - We know that Tommie Harris and Peppers will start on the right side. Now who will join them? Will it be Mark Anderson or Idonije at the other end (im praying for Izzy)? And who will be in the DT rotation? We know that Anthony Adams will play in run situations because he is solid against the run but who will be the nickle and pash rushing DT next to Harris? Harrison, Melton and Toenia all have a shot to win that job and it should be interesting to watch how they all perform this week. If anyone can make an impact, they will guarantee themselves more snaps and more time come the regular season.
3. The safeties - Like I've said before, I dont think the bears can win with Harris starting at free safety and Danieal Manning at strong safety. It looks like the bears safeties are healthy for the most part and maybe we will see someone else step up and take the free safety spot so that Harris can be moved back to strong. Watch to see on the deep throws to the sidelines and see if how quickly a safety gets there to cover and maybe we will have an answer to the bears safety questions.
4. O-line - Not sure, I need to say much here. They just need to block better because I'm not sure the bears realistically have any other options for players to start on the roster. They must just get better as a unit. Pray for this!
Enjoy the closest thing to real Bears football until September 12th.