10 Players to watch in Bears’ final preseason game vs. Browns

·7 min read

The preseason is about to come to a close for the Chicago Bears, but before they finalize their rosters for the regular season, they have a date with the Cleveland Browns. The Bears take on the Browns this Saturday evening in their preseason finale, beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT. With one last preseason game, the starters get a chance for a tune up, the bubble players have one last opportunity to earn a roster spot, and the team can go for an undefeated record before the real games begin.

With the starters likely playing well into the second quarter, according to head coach Matt Eberflus, it seems every healthy player will take the field at some point on Saturday night. That gives fans plenty to watch for throughout the game. Here are 10 players we’re keeping an eye on when the Bears take the field one last time before the regular season begins.

1. QB Justin Fields

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 18: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears warms up prior to the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on August 18, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Through two preseason games, quarterback Justin Fields has only attempted 14 passes while playing limited snaps. That should change with the extended playing time the starters will be getting, allowing him to get into a rhythm with his receivers and offensive line. Plus, it would be nice to see him exorcise some demons in Cleveland after what happened in his debut last year.

2. RB David Montgomery

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 02: David Montgomery #32 of the Chicago Bears takes part in a drill during training camp at the PNC Center at Halas Hall on August 02, 2022 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

One offensive starter that hasn’t seen any time this preseason is running back David Montgomery. The team’s RB1 has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, but all signs point to him playing in this final game. He should see a handful of carries, but what will be most interesting is how active he is in the passing game. Running back Khalil Herbert has struggled with both catches and blitz pickups serving as the starter in his absence. Having someone like Montgomery back will improve both areas on offense.

3. WR Equanimeous St. Brown

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 18: Equanimeous St. Brown #19 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the preseason game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears at Lumen Field on August 18, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Many of the Bears wide receivers are banged up this week and aren’t expected to suit up come game time. One receiver who has remained healthy is Equanimeous St. Brown, though he hasn’t caught a pass yet this preseason. St. Brown has been active on offense in blocking and end-around runs, though. Seeing him build chemistry with Fields in a game setting would be ideal before the regular season, but it has to happen now.

4. OL Teven Jenkins

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 18: Cody Barton #57 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by Braxton Jones #70, Teven Jenkins #76, and Larry Borom #75 of the Chicago Bears during the preseason game at Lumen Field on August 18, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Tackle/guard Teven Jenkins has been a player to watch all preseason given his fluctuating status on the line but now comes his final test to see if he’s capable of starting week one at right guard. Jenkins impressed during his debut last week against the Seattle Seahawks, but now faces a more formidable defensive front in Cleveland. It will also be important to note whether he’s with the starters or not and if so, how long he plays.

5. OT Braxton Jones

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 02: Braxton Jones #70 of the Chicago Bears answers a question from the media during training camp at the PNC Center at Halas Hall on August 02, 2022 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Like Jenkins, Jones has had eyes on him since training camp began and he’s performed well as the starting left tackle. He isn’t counting his chickens before they hatch, though, and is still focused on the upcoming game at hand. Jones knows he very well could be going up against star pass rushers Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney and needs to keep Fields upright. It’s the perfect final test for him before he takes on the San Francisco 49ers pass rush.

6. G Zachary Thomas

Nov 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the Chicago Bears helmet during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the offensive line talk this preseason has centered around players like Jenkins, Jones, Larry Borom, Michael Schofield, etc. But let’s not forget one of the rookies who has looked good in the later part of the games and that’s Zachary Thomas. The guard out of San Diego State has helped open running lanes and keep the reserve quarterbacks upright in the previous preseason games. Let’s see if he can keep up the trend in Cleveland.

7. DE Sam Kamara

Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Kamara runs on the field during the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

One of the most under-the-radar defenders for the Bears has been defensive end Sam Kamara. The second-year player has made quite the impact this preseason and showed out last week against the Seahawks. Kamara had two tackles, including one for loss, and a sack while playing with the reserves. He’s squarely on the roster bubble and another impactful game might be the push he needs to make the team.

8. LB Roquan Smith

Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith smiles on the bench during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Chicago. The Bears won 19-14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

After a lengthy and public hold in regarding his contract situation, star linebacker Roquan Smith returned to practice last weekend and is set to make his preseason debut against the Browns. Smith has drawn rave reviews since coming back to the practice field and the hope is that translates to this weekend’s game. Smith might have to shake off a little rust, but it’s good to get him back out there before the regular season begins.

9. CB Kyler Gordon

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) drops to pass as Chicago Bears’ Kyler Gordon (6) closes in during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)

Rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon had a mixed performance when he debuted against the Seahawks last week. While he showed great range and quickness, both in coverage and in the backfield, there were some tackling woes that allowed big gains to happen. Now that he’s had a taste of the NFL, let’s see him elevate his game against the Browns to build confidence heading into week one.

10. S Elijah Hicks

Aug 18, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Chicago Bears safety Elijah Hicks (37) celebrates with teammates, including wide receiver Dazz Newsome (83), after recovering a fumble for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Truthfully, I was going to put safety Dane Cruikshank in this final spot, but Elijah Hicks is just so fun to watch and he’s finding his footing after an impressive outing in Seattle. Hicks is likely still on the roster bubble, but he offers a lot of upside on special teams. Hicks had five total tackles and a special teams touchdown. He flies to the ball and plays hard every chance he gets. He’s someone that can pop off the screen and hopefully he’s playing with a little more confidence heading into this final preseason game.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire