Records: 0-0 all around
Game Time: 7:00 pm CT
TV: Fox 32
Radio: WBBM 780 AM/105.9 FM
NFL Network re-air Saturday 8/10 10:00 am, Monday 8/12 3:00 am, Wednesday 8/14 noon
(Because we’re all gonna need this three more times, yessir)
YOU KNOW YOU GOT IT WHEN YOU’RE GOIN’ INSANE: CatScratchFever
The time is finally upon us to kickoff the 2019 NFL (pre)season, and boy are people eager to see who gets to kick it off for the Bears. I sincerely hope the Panthers have something more to offer than the Cat Scratch Fever, because both the real disease and the Ted Nugent song are incredibly fucked. Those two sentences right there are probably about as interesting as things will get for fans on Thursday night, but they have to play these games. Can’t just have grown men walking off the practice field and smashing into each other without a few meaningless quarters of football in the books.
The Panthers wasted no time in announcing way back on Tuesday that Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly will both miss tonight’s game. It’s strictly precautionary, and frankly very wise, to sit the duo as Cam is coming off a shortened season that ended in shoulder surgery and Luke doesn’t need to start collecting concussions before the games matter.
Kyle Allen will get the start, but expect a heavy dose of rookie third rounder Will Grier under center for Carolina in this one. Grier had a pretty interesting career at West Virginia and will look to build his pro resume and win the lead backup role to Newton this preseason. Christian McCaffrey will likely get a series and then sit around shooting the shit with rookie RB Jordan Scarlett, who will miss the game with back soreness. If you’re searching for Panthers beyond that to watch, uhh….rookie first round EDGE Brian Burns out of FSU is likely to make life harder for Chase Daniel? Sure.
Da Bears haven’t yet announced any certain inactives of real note, though the tight end position will be one to watch. Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen are dealing with minor/nagging injuries, and the two TEs that have the most to gain (or lose) are probably undrafted FA Ian Bunting and converted OL Bradley Sowell. Both are more of the blocking TE variety, but given the injury histories of Burton and Shaheen and the need at the position in this offense, opportunity is there for Bunting and the 40 lbs. lighter Sowell to make an impact and last at least another week in camp.
Eyes will also be on the offensive and defensive backfields, with rookie running backs David Montgomery and Kerrith Whyte Jr set to make their Bears debuts. Montgomery comes with high expectations, but White should see more opportunity to show what he can do at full speed and where or if he’ll fit on this team. On the other side of the ball, it’ll be interesting to see who gets early reps at nickel corner between new signee Buster Skrine and veteran Sherrick McManis as they battle for a starting spot. Coaches will likely give plenty of snaps to Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carter at Safety and Duke Shelley, Stephen Denmark, John Franklin III and Kevin Tolliver as they sort out a new stable of DB depth.
The outcome of this game will be entirely meaningless, but get ready for a lot of coach speak in postgame pressers about individual battles and situations. The Bears kicking competition is another spotlight, as I’d expect Elliott Fry and Eddie Piniero to split the work throughout the night. If either of them has a particularly poor showing you can expect to see new competition at kicker as early as Friday afternoon.
Happy football, everyone.