Bills vs. Bears: Learning more about the final preseason opponent

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

We caught up with Bear Goggles On to learn more about the Buffalo Bills’ final preseason opponent in 2018, the Chicago Bears.

The Buffalo Bills finish up the preseason Thursday night against the Chicago Bears.

There is plenty to focus on when it comes to the Bills, but we also wanted to learn more about the upcoming opponent, as the two teams will meet up later in the regular season.

To do that we conducted a Q&A with Mike Burzawa of Bear Goggles On.

1. Mitch Trubisky was held back in his first season. Is he primed for a Jared Goff-like breakout season in 2018?

MB: GM Ryan Pace did everything he could possibly do to put Trubisky in the best possible position to succeed. He hired offensive-minded Matt Nagy as head coach, signed big ticket free agents Allen Robinson and Trey Burton and invested draft picks in wide receivers Anthony Miller and preseason surprise, seventh-rounder Javon Wims. The Bears offense is about as stacked as it has been in the last several years.

Whether or not Trubisky can take the next step depends a lot on Trubisky himself. He’s started a total of about 25 games in college and the NFL over the last two seasons and as you pointed out, he was “held back” last season by an overly conservative coaching staff.

I think Bears fans are hoping for a breakout campaign but would settle for above average and steady improvement in the first year of a new system.

2. Who are some Bears players fighting to make the roster that Bills fans can keep an eye on during the game?

MB: There are a few interesting position battles to keep an eye on Thursday night. The battle for pass rusher is interesting as that position appears to be lacking depth. Look at guys like Kylie Fitts, Isaiah Irving and Kasim Edebali to try to impress coaches.

Another group that has a few guys vying for just a couple of spots is the cornerback group. Undrafted rookie Kevin Toliver raised a few eyebrows early in camp and hopes to snag a roster spot from veteran Marcus Cooper, who hasn’t been particularly impressive.

Finally, the last running back spot seems to be in question. Guys like Ryan Nall, Taquan Mizzell and veteran Knile Davis appear to be in a battle for one roster spot.

3. What does the future hold for Kevin White? Is he finally going to stay healthy and live up to his draft status?

MB: The Bears are certainly hoping to get something out of Kevin White this season. If he can stay healthy, there is certainly a good chance he could be productive in this offensive scheme. The Bears were wise not to rely on him like they did the last couple of seasons, so they’ve doubled down with extra wide receivers this season. If you get anything productive out of White this season, it’s like finding a $20 in the jeans you haven’t worn for a while.

4. Who is one under-the-radar Bears player poised for a breakout year?

MB: I was hoping that tight end Adam Shaheen would be a breakout candidate in 2018, but an injury he suffered a couple of weeks ago could hurt his chances, especially early in the season.

I’ll give you rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller. His game kind of follows former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. Miller is a grinder and has shown well in camp. For you fantasy players out there, he could be a lat- round steal.

5. What is your Bears record prediction for the season? Are they going to be a surprise playoff team?

MB: I think it’s very reasonable for the Bears to get to eight or nine wins but still miss the playoffs. Just look at the division and conference they play in – the NFC North and NFC are loaded. Despite their improvements on the offensive side of the ball, they’re still chasing the Packers and Vikings in the North.

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I’d love to say they’re going to be the surprise “worst to first” team of 2018 but I’ll settle for eight wins and a clear improvement of the offense. If Trubisky ends up as most fans hope he will, the Bears should be playing relevant games in December and that would be a welcomed change around here.