Bears-Colts Primer: Storylines To Watch

August 23, 2019 - 9:26 am

(670 The Score) What was once known prominently around the NFL as the preseason dress rehearsal has now become a day of rest for many teams.

That will be the case for the Bears and Colts as they meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday evening, as both teams have indicated most of their starters and key players will sit out of the third preseason game. It's the way many modern-day coaches choose to operate.

But with roster cutdowns due in a week, the game will provide one more opportunity for those who do play to put out film in an exhibition stage.

Here's what to watch for.

Battle of Bulldogs

In consecutive years, the Bears have drafted Georgia's leading receiver. Now, those two players -- 2018 seventh-round pick Javon Wims and 2019 fourth-round pick Riley Ridley -- are fighting for roles in coach Matt Nagy's offense.

Wims and Ridley will be featured prominently in the Bears' offense Saturday, which will be led by backup quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray. Wims had five receptions for 64 yards during the second exhibition game last Friday. Ridley had three catches for 19 yards in his first preseason action.

Both Wims and Ridley figure to be safe with spots on the roster. Now, their challenge is to show Nagy and the coaching staff they deserve playing time when the games matter.

In line?

As the Bears look to solidify roster depth, they have two players making a strong impression at their respective linebacker positions.

Inside linebacker Josh Woods and outside linebacker James Vaughters have each been among the preseason standouts, and they will get another showcase Saturday. Vaughters had a strip-sack and fumble recovery last Friday, while Woods posted eight tackles. 

With the Bears hoping to establish depth behind their starters at outside and inside linebacker, Woods and Vaughters are two players to keep an eye on.

Nall in?

The Bears don't have a true fullback on the 90-man roster this preseason, which means there's an important opportunity for second-year running back Ryan Nall.

Nall stands at 6-foot-2 and 239 pounds, making him the closest type to a fullback in the Bears' running back room. He's a strong downhill runner who can catch passes in the structure of Nagy's offense. All of that offers him a chance to crack the 53-man roster, and he'll get another good look Saturday.

Steady Eddy?

Part of the reason the Bears released kicker Elliott Fry last weekend was to offer Eddy Pineiro the opportunity to get more work and win the kicking job outright.

Pineiro will no longer be alternating kicks with Fry. He will be the Bears' lone kicker Saturday and for the next week before rosters are cut down. Pineiro is 2-for-3 on field-goal attempts this preseason.

A week remains for the Bears to either settle on Pineiro as their kicker or find an alternative. Cutdown day will determine Pineiro's fate. Every kick until then is part of his case.

Cornering a job

Among the positions Nagy will be closely evaluating in the next week is cornerback, which features several young players getting key opportunities.

Beyond starters Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara and Buster Skrine, the Bears have yet to solidify their depth chart cornerback. Kevin Toliver, Duke Shelley, John Franklin and Clifton Duck are among players fighting for roles at that position.

With a week remaining before roster decisions, Saturday brings a key chance for each to make an impression.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.