The Chicago Bears are hoping to get in the win column in the preseason as they enter their third preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. Through two weeks, Chicago has fallen victim to the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants.
In the Bears’ preseason opener, the team elected to not play the majority of their starters against the Panthers. Following their loss to the Panthers, Chicago doubled-down and held out their starters for the second straight week.
Entering the third week of the preseason, Matt Nagy has already stated that the team will not play their starters against the Colts. On the other side of things, Frank Reich has also decided to bench his starters for the exhibition contest.
Therefore, if you were anxious to see Mitchell Trubisky under center, you will be disappointed when you turn the game on. Despite the starters not taking place in the game, there are still some players who could benefit from playing this week.
Here are three players to watch on Saturday in the Bears third preseason game versus the Colts.
3. Duke Shelley
The backbone of the Bears has been the dominant play of the defense. In 2018, Chicago had a stifling defense and forced the most turnovers in the NFL with 36 of them.
This year, the Bears are hoping to continue their success as a defense—especially in their secondary. Earlier this offseason, Chicago lost cornerback Bryce Callahan to the Denver Broncos.
To replace him, the team signed veteran Buster Skrine, but a player who could work his way into the defense is rookie Duke Shelley. Shelley was the Bears’ sixth-round pick in this year’s draft out of Kansas State.
In two preseason games, Shelley has shown his ability to make plays in the run game with eight tackles. At 5-foot-8, nearly 185 pounds, Shelley may not look menacing but he hasn’t been afraid to stick his nose into the play.
For the time being, the top cornerback spots on the roster seem to be set but Shelley could earn himself an eventual role in the defense with two more productive performances in the preseason.
2. Ryan Nall
With Nagy deciding to err on the side of caution, it’s likely we don’t see much of Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, or Mike Davis. Therefore, the coaching staff will be able to get a better look at the rest of their options at the position.
One of the running backs who are competing for a roster spot is Ryan Nall. Nall is an undrafted rookie and is trying to earn himself a role on the team for the upcoming season.
Last week, Nall led the team in touches with 11 of them against the Giants. The undrafted rookie ran it seven times for 23 yards and caught four passes for 21 yards.
The yards may have been less than impressive but the ability to be versatile in the offense is crucial for the Bears. If Nall hopes to stick with Chicago into the regular season, he will need to continue showcasing his dual-threat ability in the offense.
1. Riley Ridley
Arguably, the Bears’ deepest position comes at the wide receiver position. The top three receivers in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller will likely be in street clothes in Week 3 of the preseason.
As a result, rookie Riley Ridley should receive more reps with the backup quarterbacks of the Bears. Ridley is Chicago’s fourth-round pick in this year’s draft and has the chance to become a vital piece of their passing attack.
Of course, Riley is Calvin Ridley’s brother and is longing to have a similar rookie campaign as his brother. Calvin caught 10 touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons in 2018.
As for Riley, the quick receiver is attempting to translate his big-playmaking skills into the NFL. Riley made his preseason debut in Week 2 of the preseason against the Giants.
The rookie wideout out of Georgia caught just three passes for 19 yards. Now, against the Colts on Saturday night, Riley will seemingly get a chance to improve upon his decent outing in Week 2.