10 Bears players to watch vs. Seahawks

·7 min read

It’s only the middle of August but it feels like the grind of the regular season for the Chicago Bears given the NFL’s unique preseason scheduling. The Bears are playing on the west coast on a short week, taking on the Seattle Seahawks in a primetime matchup for their second preseason game.

The game will likely feature most of the team’s reserves, with most starters only getting around 6-10 plays, according to head coach Matt Eberflus. Still, it’s a great opportunity to watch players who are looking to either continue their strong preseason campaigns, or others who are trying to get one started.

Here are 10 Bears players to keep an eye on throughout the game on Thursday evening.

1. WR Tajae Sharpe

Aug 13, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (88) pulls in a 25-yard reception in front of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Elijah Lee (44) in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran wide receiver Tajae Sharpe has come on strong as of late, following up solid camp practices with an impressive preseason debut. Sharpe caught two passes for 44 yards to lead the team, making impressive catches on both targets. He’ll likely see extended playing time on Thursday and could be a top option in the passing game yet again.

2. WR Velus Jones Jr.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., warms up with teammates during the NFL football team’s rookie minicamp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, May 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A couple Bears rookies are set to make their preseason debut during this game, one of them being wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. The team’s third-round pick out of Tennessee was out for about a week due to an undisclosed injury and missed the preseason opener last weekend. But now healthy, he’s sure to see plenty of reps to help get up-to-speed and will be itching to show off his speed when the Bears take the field.

3. TE Cole Kmet

Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet (85) warms up with teammates at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Lake Forest, Ill., Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Starting tight end Cole Kmet, like the other starters, probably won’t see a ton of action but he is returning after missing last week’s game with an injury. The Bears coaching staff may want to give him some extended reps and it will be a chance to see his connection with quarterback Justin Fields. Kmet has become one of the primary weapons for Fields, along with wide receiver Darnell Mooney. The latter made a highlight grab last week and we can expect Kmet to see at least a couple of targets before he exits the game.

4. OL Teven Jenkins

Chicago Bears offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, left, fights for the position with Kansas City Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis, right, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Last weekend, Teven Jenkins was a player to watch at offensive tackle. This week, he’s someone to watch at right guard. Jenkins played adequate against the Chiefs in the preseason opener, but moved positions when the team returned to practice on Monday. The former second-round pick has moved to guard and will get a chance to show whether or not he can acclimate to the interior of the offensive line against the Seahawks. Jenkins might get the start, but don’t be surprised to see him continue playing with the reserves.

5. C Sam Mustipher

Jul 30, 2022; Lake Forest Illinois, US; Chicago Bears offensive lineman Sam Mustipher (67) during training camp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears are having trouble keeping their centers healthy through training camp. First, starter Lucas Patrick was lost for the duration of camp due to a thumb injury. Now rookie Doug Kramer is out for the season with a Lisfranc injury, meaning Sam Mustipher is the last man standing. The Bears did sign veteran Corey Dublin when Kramer went down, but Mustipher will be getting most, if not all of the work during the game. It’s a good opportunity for him to improve on an uneven performance against the Chiefs.

6. OT Larry Borom

Chicago Bears guard Larry Borom (75) blocks during an NFL football game, Monday, November 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

Like Jenkins, Borom has been elevated to the first-team offensive line this week as well. He’s starting at right tackle in place of Riley Reiff, who likely won’t suit up in Seattle, and it’s a golden opportunity to take the starting position and run with it. Borom was set to compete with Jenkins for the right tackle spot before camp began and now finds himself in a battle with Reiff instead. How long he winds up playing will be an indication of his status but either way, it’s still a good chance for the former Mizzou standout.

7. DT Micah Dew-Treadway

May 7, 2022; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway (98) stretches during team’s rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Players like safety Jaquan Brisker and undrafted free agent (UDFA) linebacker Jack Sanborn stole the show last Saturday, but don’t forget about another defender who stood out; UDFA defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway. He totaled one tackle, one for loss, one sack and one QB hit in the game as a reserve defensive lineman, but was active on the line all day. He’s a dark horse to make the roster and Thursday’s performance could go a long way for him.

8. LB Jack Sanborn

Chicago Bears linebacker Jack Sanborn (57) stretches with teammates at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Lake Forest, Ill., Wednesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Sanborn was one of the bright stars during the Bears’ preseason opener last weekend. The linebacker out of Wisconsin led the team in tackles and nabbed an interception to begin the comeback rally in the second half against the Chiefs. That performance earned him a promotion in practice as he was running with the second-team defense. He will likely play the majority of the snaps at linebacker once again against the Seahawks, providing yet another prime opportunity to stand out and solidify his case for a spot on the final roster.

9. CB Kyler Gordon

Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon watches teammates before a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Chicago.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

While Jones is making his debut for the offense, the Bears top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is making his debut on defense. Cornerback Kyler Gordon returns home to Washington for his first preseason game after missing time with an injury. Gordon grew up just outside of Seattle played at the University of Washington. He said “it was meant to be” in regards to his debut taking place back home. Hopefully he can wow both Bears fans and Washington fans with an impressive performance against the Seahawks receivers.

10. S Elijah Hicks

Aug 13, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson (84) is brought down after a short pass reception by Chicago Bears defensive back Elijah Hicks (37), bottom, and linebacker Caleb Johnson (92) in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie safety Elijah Hicks was one of my picks to be a preseason darling. That hasn’t come to fruition yet as he struggled in coverage against the Chiefs last weekend. With starters only playing a handful of snaps, Hicks should see extended playing time. The Bears are also going up against a weaker offense than the Chiefs, which could lead to more takeaway opportunities.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire