It appears that the NFL will cut preseason games to two. If true, Chicago Bears fans should expect a season we’ve never seen before.
This has been one very strange offseason. A former MVP quarterback basically signed for the league minimum. Another quarterback, one who led the league in passing yards last season, is now a backup. Up and down and down is up. On top of all that, the league is dealing with the COVID-19 virus. Chicago Bears football will be a totally different game than we’ve ever seen.
Recent reports have the NFL finalizing the details of cutting the preseason. Instead of the four games we usually see, there will only be two. The league already planned on cutting preseason games to three when they extend regular-season games to 17, but that was supposed to happen in 2021.
Cutting the preseason in half will cause a seismic event in the NFL, especially with the Chicago Bears. Incumbents around the league facing competition likely keep their jobs. That’s very good news for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, facing stiff competition from former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
There is no way to fairly gauge a competition with just two games. Yes, the coaches look at practices, but quarterbacks don’t face heat in practice. Trubisky has to completely fall on his face in order for him to lose his job. That won’t happen. Trubisky usually does just enough to warrant another chance. He’s been mediocre throughout his career (including his supposed breakthrough in 2018) but shows flashes of how much better he could be.
That doesn’t mean Foles doesn’t have a chance. Trubisky likely has a short leash and head coach Matt Nagy won’t hesitate to pull him as soon as Trubisky shows signs of struggling. This battle will be decided during the regular season.
Other players affected as well
The quarterback position isn’t the only spot that a shortened preseason affects. This greatly affects the backup players on the roster. The starters usually don’t get a lot of playing time during the preseason. The backups and players trying to grab a roster spot play most of the time.
In a shortened preseason, the starters might get more playing time. That means the backups get less. That affects the team’s depth. Take for example the Chicago Bears defense last season.
The Bears lost linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith and defensive end Akiem Hicks. Yes, the defense’s play fell, but it didn’t take a dramatic fall because of the depth. Kevin Pierre-Louis and Nick Kwiatkowski were especially good at stepping up.
Now, however, there are unproven players in backup roles who need playing time to get a better understanding of what they need to do. With a limited preseason, the team will experience an increase in injuries. That means the backups need to be ready to step up.
Additionally, there is the virus. Players will test positive. It’s happening now and will continue to happen as the season progresses. Players will go down and others need to step up and play well in their teammates’ absences.
In 2020, chaos reigns supreme. This will be a season like no other.