Aug 19, 2021 3 min read

Bears vs. Bills: Three things to know before the second preseason game

Bears vs. Bills: Three things to know before the second preseason game

Love the Bears? Get Midway Minute, the Chicago sports newsletter that will make keep you on top of things the entire season. Sign up for free here.

If last week's 20-13 win over the Miami Dolphins was the most anticipated Chicago Bears preseason game ever, this next one might be just behind it. The Buffalo Bills are headed to town for week two of the preseason and they're led by none other than former Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

We've already covered the return of Trubisky at length and there's so much more to this game than just a hollow revenge tour.

Here are three other things you should know before kickoff on Saturday afternoon.

1. Expect more from the starting offense

All eyes were on rookie quarterback Justin Fields last weekend and he certainly put on a show with the reserves. But what about the starters? Quarterback Andy Dalton and much of the starting offense appeared for just two series, going three-and-out while gaining just 14 yards. It was an uninspired performance with a vanilla gameplan, but coach Matt Nagy says they will get more time on the field this Saturday.

In speaking with the media on Thursday, Nagy said Dalton and the starting offense will likely play well into the second quarter and get more than 2-3 series.

"He'll play probably at least a quarter and a half. Now it can always change. I think if you get the ball or don't get the ball, that dictates some of it, which was the case last week."

The fourth-year head coach did say both Dalton and Fields will get plenty of reps and while everyone still wants to see Fields' progress, it's important to see a stable drive or two from the starting unit. Nagy also praised Dalton for an impressive practice on Wednesday and as someone who was in attendance, I can confirm he was on fire. Here's hoping he can let loose a little and show fans he's capable of being QB1 for the time being.

More from Brendan Sugrue: What it was like to attend Justin Fields' debut at Soldier Field

2. The Bears have a new punt returner

The Bears released their second unofficial depth chart on Thursday and while many spots remained unchanged, one position in particular shows a new starter.

Rookie wide receiver Dazz Newsome is now listed as the primary punt returner after defensive back Jordan Lucas and wide receiver Jon'Vea Johnson struggled in that role last week against the Dolphins. Both players muffed punts, though they were able to get the ball back each time.

Newsome was a sixth-round pick out of North Carolina and boasts tremendous speed and quickness. He has experience returning punts from college, leading the ACC in punt return average with 9.9 yards in 2020. With Tarik Cohen still unable to see the field due to the ACL injury suffered last year, Newsome has a chance to lock down the position and give a spark to the special teams unit.

3. Don't forget about the other quarterback revenge game

Trubisky is getting all of the headlines for his return to Chicago, albeit in a preseason game that is meaningless in the standings. But another quarterback storyline is going under the radar in a big way — and it has to do with Fields and his time at the University of Georgia.

For those who don't remember, Fields started his collegiate career in 2018 as a Georgia Bulldog, backing up starter (and future Bills QB) Jake Fromm. He saw limited time in 12 games, but never unseated Fromm, who led the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship Game. After that season, Fields transferred to Ohio State where he became one of the best college quarterbacks in the nation. Fromm, meanwhile, had success with Georgia, but couldn't reach the same heights as Fields.

Now, the two players meet for the first time since they were teammates three years ago. Though their NFL careers are going in vastly different directions, Fields hasn't forgotten how he lost out to Fromm while at Georgia. Shortly after he was drafted with the 11th overall pick,  Fields reflected on being passed up in previous experiences.

Everyone is waiting to see Fields and Trubisky go head to head. But the more interesting matchup will be when Fromm comes into the game. If Fields is still playing, don't be surprised to see him show out.

Join the conversation

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Midway Minute.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Midway Minute.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.