<
>

Mitchell Trubisky, Adam Shaheen make Bears preseason a must-watch

"I'm ready to get hit just to get that over with," Bears first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky said. Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire

CHICAGO -- Don't tell Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks preseason football is meaningless.

"So, my rookie year, I broke my hand in OTAs," Hicks said on Tuesday. "When I broke my hand, I couldn't practice. So in training camp, I had to take all the reps. And then in the preseason games, I played every single preseason game -- one through four -- every rep, every snap."

Hicks -- a third-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2012 -- ended up playing in 14 games as a rookie. Hicks' first year in the league -- regardless of draft status -- might've been a wash without that extended preseason look.

"It's always fun to see the preseason because you get guys who have a chance to develop," Hicks said. "In my case, it was a lot of development because it was a lot of reps. But for guys coming up now, it's important for them to go out there and put that stuff on tape."

The Bears are expected to follow their standard preseason football script on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos, with the first team playing a couple of series before giving way to the backups.

But unlike previous years, there are plenty of compelling storylines to watch at Soldier Field.

Here are five players to watch against the Broncos, some of whom may not enter the game until the second half:

Quarterback Mike Glennon: "It'll be different going out there right away. When you're the backup in the preseason it's kind of a weird feel because you know you're going to get in and you're not exactly sure when. So now it's mentally going into the game, you know you're going to be in there right away. I'm looking forward to that. It'll be a little bit different.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky: "I'm ready to get hit just to get that over with. That's the hard thing about quarterbacks is we're sitting back there in the pocket and we can't really get a good feel in practice of when we need to get out of there, when we need to move on, when we might have been sacked. You see a couple of plays throughout practice where a big play happens but the defensive end might have had you down, might have gotten the ball out. So it'll be good to play live on Thursday, to get hit, things will move faster and to know when you need to move on and what you've got to do, because we don't get hit in practice. I'm anxious to just get back to real football."

Tight end Adam Shaheen: "Fan Fest [last Saturday] was a little taste of Soldier Field, but on Thursday it will be a real live opponent. I'm tired of hitting on the same guys every day, you know what I mean?"

Running back Tarik Cohen: "I'm feeling very comfortable, and you know in our offense the coordinator [Dowell Loggains] and Coach [John] Fox have really put me in the perfect position matchup-wise to be able to showcase my speed, agility and quickness."

Wide receiver Tanner Gentry: "I had a productive college career. I knew it would be different at this level. I didn't play in a Power 5 conference. I knew it would be different at this level considering how good everybody is. It's been great coming out here and being able to compete against top-tiered talent."