Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson (10) runs with the ball as Washington Redskins free safety David Amerson (39) makes the tackle in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 45-41. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears Preseason Storylines To Watch

The preseason doesn’t get much credibility in terms of charting the course for a team, but what are some story lines that should still draw attention for the Chicago Bears?

The evolution of Marquess Wilson

Excitement is building around the Bears wide receiving corps for 2014, and it’s no longer just because they have two Pro Bowlers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.  A good part of the buzz is surrounding second-year man Marquess Wilson.  Scouts were high on his talent coming out of Washington State but off-the-field problems dropped him to the seventh round.  At 6’4″ he has the trademark size Chicago is looking for and after spending the off-season with Marshall and Jeffery in Florida, he’s reportedly put on over 20 lbs of bulk to his slender 186 lbs frame.  Based on how the work played out for Jeffery from his rookie to his second year, the results for Wilson should show up early.

Mel Tucker and his new defense against Philadelphia Eagles

Chicago Bears fans have a vivid memory of the last time they saw Chip Kelly and his Philadelphia Eagles.  In fact they still have nightmares about it.  That cold Sunday night was the true low point of the 2013 Bears defense in which it surrendered six touchdowns and over 250 rushing yards.  Philly cruised to a 54-11 rout and Chicago ended up missing the playoffs a week later against Green Bay.  While it may be preseason, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is certainly still smarting from that humiliation and will want to test his newly reloaded defense against Kelly’s high octane attack when the Eagles visit Soldier Field.

How the offense handles the Seattle Seahawks home field and defense

Most football fans know the NFL preseason has one game out of the four that can be taken seriously, and that’s the third one.  In those games the starters typically play into the third quarter, offering a clearer picture of what the team has.  For Chicago, they get as big a test as any when they visit the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in their notorious home stadium, domain of the 12th man.  If the Bears offense were looking for a great measuring stick to their progress in year two of the system under Marc Trestman, they’ll get one in that loud venue against the “Legion of Boom.”

Whether Jordan Palmer can handle the Phil Emery gauntlet

Jay Cutler is the starter.  The debate on that has long since closed.  However, there is a very interesting competition starting to boil at backup.  Initially it was thought Jordan Palmer, who came in during the preseason last year and ended up as the 3rd string quarterback, would assume the mantle left by Josh McCown.  That assumption has since lost a bit of weight.  Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery is notorious for creating competition and he worked diligently to do just that.  Not only will Palmer have to deal with rookie 6th round pick David Fales who played very well at San Jose State, but he’ll also see a challenge from recent free agent pickup and former second round pick Jimmy Clausen.  If one of them makes a move in the preseason, no one should be surprised if Palmer loses his grip on the backup job.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Chicago Bears Jordan Palmer Marquess Wilson Mel Tucker Phil Emery Philadelphia Eagles Seattle Seahawks

  • Cutler2Marshall312

    I agree Mel Tucker will remember the that @ss kicking philly put on us but he has a hell of more to worry about..like you said that week 3 preseason Match up against Seattle, let alone in Seattle will have a regular season feel to it..this game should give us a glimpse of how the bears will attack the run game..But the 4 first games on the season will be rough..Week 1-The Bills have 3 nice running backs Spiller/Jackson & Brown..Week 2-San Fran Gore/Hunter Week 3- The Jets Johnson & Week 4-Lacy/Starks…The Bears run D will have there work cut out for them..Good preseason outlook #BearByBirth

    • Erik Lambert

      That front seven is going to be tested early and often, no question about that. I would view that as a blessing in disguise, sort of a trial by fire that gets them acclimated to what it will take to play against the top teams.

      • ksmack

        My question is can this front seven cover the weaknesses in our secondary? I was very high on Conte going in to last year, and while I want to take in to account the injuries up front, I just can’t use it as an excuse for his poor play. Too many missed tackles and assignments to just say “Well the front four was decimated with injuries, so it’s not Conte’s fault.”

        • Erik Lambert

          It’s always about finding a balance. Conte wasn’t solely responsible for his struggles and neither was the front seven. Both had a hand in some of the ugly plays that took place last year. Don’t forget Conte had career best numbers last season in spite of the problems. One can hope that an improved front seven will make his life easier.

          • ksmack

            I hope you’re right. You can tell Conte was making progress at the Free Safety position in 2012 which is why he was one of the players I was really keeping an eye on last year. I am liking the Vereen pick in the 4th, but an wondering when the Bears will get a sure fire play maker at the Safety position. Nice job on the article, it was a good read.

          • Erik Lambert

            People forget during that Green Bay game was that Conte was in position to make some serious game-changing plays but through some bad bounces and miscommunications came out as the goat. He’s still young and has time to right the ship. Vereen will either provide him a good push or eventually just replace him. In the end it’s up to Conte.

            I appreciate the shoutout. Thanks for reading!

      • Cutler2Marshall312

        Marc Trestmen said he likes the tough games early in the season..

        • Erik Lambert

          He should. The quicker his team his tested, the more efficiently they’ll play late in the year.