Five questions the Bears hope to answer in Seattle

Chris Conte will play in his first game since a forgettable 2013 season when the Bears 
play the Seahawks on Friday night. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File)
Chris Conte will play in his first game since a forgettable 2013 season when the Bears play the Seahawks on Friday night. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File) — Ann Heisenfelt

It’s time for the third and most important preseason game on the schedule — the longest we’ll see Bears starters before the regular season begins.

Here are five questions the Bears should hope to get answered on Friday night when the Bears take on the defending champion Seahawks in Seattle.

Can Chris Conte win a starting job?

In his first game since Randall Cobb’s touchdown, Conte can begin proving his many doubters wrong. No safety has locked down a starting job, and the Bears’ brass has made it no secret that they believe Conte has the skill set to start. Now, can he make a play or two on Friday to set himself apart from Ryan Mundy, Danny McCray and Adrian Wilson, to regain the starting spot he has had the past three seasons?

Will the backup quarterback picture become clearer?

Jordan Palmer will be the No. 2 quarterback, and it could be his last chance to make a run at the backup job. He played well enough against Jacksonville last week to make the competition closer, one that Jimmy Clausen has seemingly been ahead in since the start of training camp. The Bears may prefer not to go to Cleveland still trying to sort out their backup situation.

Will a return man emerge?

This should be Chris Williams’ time to shine. Even with a hamstring injury, he outran the Eagles’ secondary for a touchdown, but he has yet to return a kick. The job to replace Devin Hester is still up for grabs, and keep an eye on this week’s addition, Darius Reynaud. Williams could end the competition in Seattle if he shows off the speed the Bears love, but he’s still unproven at the NFL level.

Is Santonio Holmes healthy enough, and good enough to be the No. 3 wide receiver?

On the one hand, there’s a reason Holmes was still available in mid-August. On the other, the Bears still don’t have a third receiver. Josh Morgan had a solid outing against Jacksonville, but if Holmes is ready to play — which will be a game-time decision — we could see the skill set he has shown in his career to be an extremely effective receiver. Learning the Bears’ offense and proving that he is fully recovered will be Holmes’ biggest tests.

Will Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic continue to show progress?

Marc Trestman and Mel Tucker were pleased with the young linebackers and how they showed improvement against Jacksonville. The Bears know what they have in Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams, and would like to be more confident in what they’ll get from McClellin, who could be an effective edge rusher and cover ‘backer, and Bostic, who flashed in run defense and is important in the nickel defense.

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