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Bears fans should get first extended look at starters as Raiders invade Chicago

It’s hard to believe, but Saturday’s night’s home game against the Raiders is already game #2 of Lovie Smith’s win-or-get-canned coaching campaign. For Bears fans, this second installment of the 2010 preseason should give us the chance to see our starters play more than two series.

Here’s your 6-pack of things to watch – 3 offensive and 3 defensive – when the Men in Black invade Soldier Field Saturday night.

Offense

  1. In what should amount to more than a quarter of playing time, we’ll get an extended look at Jay Cutler’s comfort level with a) his offensive line and b) his wide receivers/tight ends. Will Jay continue to hurl balls Johnny Knox’s way? Will his o-line keep his home white pants clean? Will the TEs get involved as much as they were during the just completed (Staples) Training Camp (presented by Chase)?
  2. Let’s see if the Bears can generate any semblance of a running game…whether it’s by first or second teamers. Last week against the Chargers, Forte, Taylor, Bell and Wolfe averaged a putrid 2.6 yards per carry. The Raiders run defense ranked 29th last year, so if the Bears don’t at least have moderate success vs. these guys…
  3. Juaquin Iglesias. He’s been a solid offseason and training camp performer, but Bears fans didn’t see that translate to on-field production last week. Although it could be hard this week too considering he’ll be primarily working with a rookie (LeFevour) and newly signed vet (Gutierrez) who he hasn’t had a lot of bonding time with.

Defense

  1. It’s time for Jarron Gilbert to show up. But don’t take it from me. Take it from the big boss man, Jerry Angelo, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. Angelo singled out Henry Melton for his play but said last year’s top draft pick, Gilbert “has got to pick it up. We need to see something out of Jarron.” Hey Jarron – Jerry just put you on blast! (Is that the proper usage of that phrase?)
  2. Watch the battle for strong side LB between Pisa Tinoisomoa and Nick Roach. In a fight for one of the few starting spots still up for grabs, Pisa and Roach have been running even on the field. While the spot won’t be won on Saturday night, one of the two could get a jumpstart on the starting spot on opening day.
  3. See who, if anybody, steps up behind the starters at CB. Bowman and Tillman are known commodities at corner. But who will stand out (in a good way) between backups Graham, Jennings, Turenne, Moore and Moore. Of course, if Manning moves back to Nickelback, it won’t matter as much as only one of these guys will see significant action come the regular season…unless someone gets hurt…I’m looking at you, Zack Bowman.
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