Gabriel: Bears-Chiefs Takeaways

August 27, 2018 - 8:17 am
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(670 The Score) Bears coach Matt Nagy created a firestorm of debate when he decided to rest most of his starters in a 27-20 preseason win against the Chiefs on Saturday. 

I was in agreement with Nagy's decision. The point of the preseason is to prepare a team for the regular season, and Nagy knows his team best. While Nagy's move was an extreme version, the reality is more and more coaches are deciding to rest key players in the preseason, preferring practice as the means to get them prepared and so as not to risk injury.

What stood out most was that the Bears' second string outplayed the Chiefs starters for almost the entire first half. That tells us the Bears' depth is better than we were giving them credit for.

Here are my thoughts on some players/positions groups that helped/hurt themselves Saturday.

Quarterback

The Bears' quarterback position might be in better shape than at any time in recent memory. While Mitchell Trubisky played about the equivalent of a half this preseason, I believe he's ready to lead this team. It was just two years ago that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was a rookie in a similar offense and played just one quarter in the preseason and didn't practice for nearly three weeks because of an injury. He then opened the season with a series of big games. Who's to say Trubisky can't do the same?

Chase Daniel put on a remarkable display Saturday. He completed 15 of 18 throws for 198 yards and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 149.5 and -- this needs emphasized -- he did it against the Chiefs' starters. If anything happens to Trubisky, the Bears can still win with Daniel.

Tyler Bray has looked good this preseason and had another strong showing. He should get most of the playing time in the preseason finale Thursday evening.

Kevin White, Javon Wims

Receiver Kevin White has finally looked like the player we hoped he would be when the Bears took him in the first round in 2015. He's playing fast and with confidence, and he looks ready to put up quality numbers this year. What we don’t know is what kind of trust the Bears coaches have in White.

Rookie receiver Javon Wims just keeps getting better. He opened up the preseason with a big game against the Ravens and had four receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown Saturday. Some of his catches were of the remarkable variety. He could prove to be a late-round steal.

Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts

Linebackers Isaiah Irving and Kyle Fitts had strong performances in the preseason opener, then leveled off to an extent in the next two games. I thought both played well against the Chiefs.

That's what you want to see in youngsters -- ascension after some struggles. It shows they're learning, executing the coaches' advice and making adjustments. I feel that's the case for both Irving and Fitts. Irving had six tackles and a sack, while Fitts had a tackle and a sack.

Irving showed good instincts and reactions. On one play, he made a quick read of a screen pass and made the stop after a short gain. Not only will Irving make the 53-man roster, I feel he will receive plenty of playing time when the regular season begins.

Fitts is on the roster bubble, depending on how many outside linebackers the Bears keep. If they waive him and try to get him through to the practice squad, there could be a 50/50 chance or better that he gets claimed by another team because of his upside.

Knile Davis, Ryan Nall

If the Bears decide to keep four running backs, the final spot will be a battle between Knile Davis and Ryan Nall. Part of that decision will also be affected by if the Bears choose to keep a fullback or decide to use a tight end as the fullback when needed. 

Nall has had his moments this preseason, including a 95-yard game against the Bengals. He added a 19-yard run at an important time Saturday. Nall has shown that he can contribute on special teams. His weakness is that he's not a sudden runner and while he has good speed once underway, his short-area quickness is average.

Davis was a late addition to the team, but he played under Nagy in Kansas City and understands the offense. He also can contribute as a kick returner.

If the Bears only keep three running backs, Nall as a rookie is practice squad-eligible while Davis isn’t. It may come down to who plays the best in the preseason finale against the Bills this Thursday.

Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who's an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.​