It’s safe to say that Bears preseason football won’t be that exciting considering that many of the starters won’t see the field. However, it is still important to follow the depth players’ performances. We don’t usually see these guys in the regular season, so this is really their only opportunity they have to prove themselves.
The preseason is especially crucial for the back ups that could eventually be starters down the road. And I believe that there are four Bears in particular to whom this situation applies.
Alex Bars, Offensive Guard
Bars was considered one of the gems of the undrafted free agent haul that Ryan Pace brought in. I personally thought he was a top 100 player of the 2019 class, but he fell off most draft boards because of injuries.
Fortunately, he is healthy now and should be ready to go for the preseason. If Bars shows that he can get back to the player he was at Notre Dame. I fully believe that he can be an eventual replacement for Kyle Long. A strong preseason could ultimately be the catalyst to a bright future with the Bears
Emanuel Hall, Wide Receiver
— thomas kavanaugh (@tomkavanaugh44) April 28, 2019
With all of the depth the Bears have at receiver, many were surprised that Emanuel Hall decided to take his talents to the Windy City. This decision could come back to bite him because he might not make the roster when it’s all said and done.
Hall has barely practiced in training camp (because of injuries) and has been forgettable when he has. Additionally, guys like Javon Wims and Marvin Hall have stolen the show thus far, ultimately hurting Hall’s chances to make the team even more.
The only way I see Hall revitalizing his stock is with a stellar pre-season. His health is a big question mark in this equation. But if he doesn’t start showing some signs of life soon, his days with the Bears could be numbered.
Kevin Toliver II, Cornerback
Prince Amukamara’s tenure with the Bears could be over after this season so Ryan Pace has been throwing darts at guys like Kevin Toliver II, Stephen Denmark, John Franklin III and Michael Joseph in hopes of finding his replacement.
Toliver has shown the most promise out of this bunch and has the best chances of furthering his future with the Bears. However, there are still some looming questions that he must answer this preseason before he can be considered a serious replacement candidate.
Obviously, the overall consistency is one of them. He just doesn’t have a large enough NFL sample size to thoroughly evaluate. But my main concern with Toliver is how he will fair in press coverage.
Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano is known for playing a great deal of press coverage, which is still a question mark of Toliver’s game. He has the length and athleticism to be a solid press man corner. We just haven’t seen him in this coverage enough to really know if his technique is there.
This preseason is the perfect opportunity for him to answer these questions. If he does, he can solidify himself as a viable replacement option if and when the Bears have to move on from Amukamara.
Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Linebacker
Iyiegbuniwe was not on the draft community’s radar when the Bears selected him in the 4th round of the 2018 draft. It was nearly impossible to get a good idea of his skill set because none of his film was accessible, as he went to a small school without much national attention.
The only thing that we really knew about him was that he was good athlete from his combine testing. So, many assumed that he was more athlete than football player because he fell to Day 3. And after watching him in his one preseason start in 2018, that assumption was proven true.
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) August 19, 2018
Iyiegbuniwe is coming into this preseason with a full year of NFL coaching under his belt. So it is crucial that he showcases some progress. We all know that Danny Trevathan is entering the last year of his contract and Iyiegbuniwe was drafted to be his replacement. In order for this contingency plan to come fruition, “Iggy” needs take the bull by the horns this preseason.