The players that answered the bell on offense in the first week of the preseason, like Jimmy Clausen and Zach Miller, still have to show consistency and do it again when the Jaguars come to town.
Here are five other players on the offensive side of the ball that we’ll be watching closely when the Bears have their final preseason home game on Thursday night.
Quarterback Jordan Palmer: Since Day 1 of camp, Clausen has been considered the No. 2 quarterback to observers, and he will get his turn with the second team against Jacksonville. That means Palmer gets the third-team reps, and he needs to have a big performance to gain ground in the competition to be Jay Cutler’s backup. Working with a third-team O-line won’t be ideal, but Palmer will get to face Jaguars reserves on defense and needs to take advantage and show off what he is best at, and that’s his knowledge of the offense.
Wide receiver Josh Morgan: For the first two weeks of training camp, we didn’t notice much from Morgan that stood out, but he had an impressive practice on Monday and has the most experience and career production — by a lot — among those fighting to be the No. 3 wideout. The Bears would likely prefer to give that spot to someone on the team other than find a veteran following cut-downs. Morgan needs to seize the opportunity and be the player that had 48 catches for 510 yards two seasons ago.
Running back Shaun Draughn: The surprise of camp, Draughn has received almost all the second-team reps in the past two weeks, ahead of Ka'Deem Carey and Michael Ford, and he backed up Matt Forte in the opener, but we didn’t see anything aside from a two-yard carry. He has good size and the team likes his receiving abilities. Michael Bush had 63 carries last season — are the Bears ready to give Draughn, who had four carries in 2013, that workload? If he hasn’t won the job yet, he certainly can vs. the Jags.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: All the talk, and rightfully so, has been about Miller and his two touchdown catches last week. Miller has also impressed in Bourbonnais catching the football. The Bears know what they have in incumbent Dante Rosario, which puts the pressure on Mulligan, who actually has received just as many, if not more reps with the first and second teams. More of a blocker than the other two, Mulligan has good hands, too, and can remind people why he’s played in 50 games over the past four seasons and prove himself worthy of the No. 2 job.
Offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr.: According to Pro Football Focus, Leno Jr. did not allow a sack, hit or hurry in his 46 snaps in the preseason opener. The seventh-round pick is in a fight to make the roster with depth chart ascender Michael Ola, versatile veteran James Brown and last year’s backup center Taylor Boggs, among others. Another good performance would help the rookie’s chances greatly.