It’s the Thursday before the most important preseason game of the year, so get hyped with Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller:
This is all I want… pic.twitter.com/tijBGm0iKl
— Zach Miller (@ZMiller86) August 23, 2017
- The Bears had a legendary quarterback on the field on Wednesday, as future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning visited his old coach John Fox and spent some time with the Bears’ quarterbacks, writes Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky soaked it all in, noting that Manning was giving out pointers and explained why the Bears’ current offense is a good one for him. We’ll see how that goes, but there’s no harm in picking the brain of an all-time great.
- While there is an obvious focus on Trubisky gaining valuable practice reps with the first team, we can’t allow ourselves to forget about the other side of the equation. Trubisky’s ascent means that practice reps and game snaps are being taken away from Mike Glennon. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes Glennon is feeling a bit of deja vu after going through a similar experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Of course, Glennon sees it as a blip on the radar as the team has assured him of his spot. But it’s evident he sees the move as a wake-up call to improve on his sub-50 passer rating.
- Over at CSN Chicago, JJ Stankevitz explains why the Bears decided to give Trubisky time with the 1’s and how the hungry rookie earned his shot. Beyond the hype (I mean, what hype?) and monetary commitment that came with Trubisky’s draft status, it’s hard to ignore a 73 percent completion rate, 226 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers without the benefit of playing with first-string offense. Yes, Trubisky played against the bottom halves of rosters, but he played well in those spots – which should be expected from a player with his athleticism and upside.
- There was a short-lived rumor in which it was believed Trubisky was going to start Sunday’s third preseason game, but it was quickly rebuffed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
- Almost lost in the mix was Charles Leno Jr.’s four-year extension. Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma details Leno Jr.’s climb from a seventh-round pick to a starting tackle, to a well-compensated building block along the offensive line. The left tackle of the future (and present) has a lot to be proud of after making his way through the rigors of life as a late-round pick.
- On the other side of the ball, there could be a change in the middle of the defense. With Danny Trevathan’s status to start the season being uncertain, Larry Mayer answers a question about who could start in his place. Second-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski is naturally the default answer, but Mayer notes a concussion suffered by Kwiatkoski in the preseason-opening loss to the Broncos forced Kwiatkoski to miss the team’s win against the Cardinals. If Kwiatkoski can’t step into the starting role, perhaps Christian Jones could be the next man up.
- Connor Barth isn’t the only NFC North kicker who finds himself competing for a job. The Detroit Lions seem to be taking full advantage of having expanded preseason rosters and a late cut-down date, and it could help them find stability in the special teams. Punter Kasey Redfern could be the beneficiary of the extended look, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes the third-year punter is inching closer to his NFL dreams by handling punts and kickoffs this preseason.
- Adam Thielen was a breakout star for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, and his role could be expanding. Matthew Coller writes Thielen could see more time lined up on the outside after operating primarily in the slot last year. Thielen had a nice season with 69 catches, 967 yards, and five touchdowns.
- The Green Bay Packers will be without starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga when the team travels to face the Denver Broncos in the ever-important third preseason game. Bulaga injured his ankle in practice Wednesday, and the team is playing it cautiously to the point where it could impact how much playing time quarterback Aaron Rodgers sees against Denver.
- Off the field, a tip of the cap goes to Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who successfully completed his summer internship at a Wisconsin courthouse. Clinton-Dix was a criminal justice major while at Alabama, and his time spent with Judge Donald Zuidmulder helped him earn three credits toward his degree.
- All eyes will be on Sam Darnold probable ascent to being the No. 1 quarterback prospect in college, but Lance Zierlein shares a lot of love for some defensive standouts who could make waves in 2017. Zierlein offers up Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans as a potential breakthrough star, believes Florida State cornerback Tarvarus Jackson could be the next big thing in a loaded secondary, and a slew of defensive linemen could be worth keeping tabs on as the season rolls on.