When the Bears kick off their 2018 campaign in Green Bay on September 9th, Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine won’t have a clue what Matt Nagy intends to do with Jordan Howard. He won’t have a clue what Nagy intends to do with Tarik Cohen. He won’t a clue what Nagy truly intends to do with any of the newly-assembled Bears weapons on offense. Sure, Pettine and his staff can scavenge old tape of Andy Reid’s offenses but different personnel bring an entirely different set of skills and Reid never hired an outside-the-box offensive coordinator like Mark Helfrich.
No, Nagy’s Bears, at least on offense, will be a mystery in Week One. And that, to start this season, is their biggest strength.
That’s why over these next two preseason contests fans shouldn’t be surprised if very few of this team’s core offensive weapons – Howard, Cohen, Trey Burton, Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel – are featured in any kind of prominent way. They’ll get snaps, I suppose, but those snaps will be more about getting them into the rhythm of an actual game and maybe taking a few hits so the first contact in Green Bay doesn’t jar their livers loose.
Contributors will still be out there. Anthony Miller and Adam Shaheen are young talents who’ll be expected to make an impact but not relied upon like highly-paid starters.
We’re less than a month from the start of the season and some folks have opined Kevin White won’t be on the roster in Green Bay. Others believe he’s going to be given every chance possible to play on game days. Either way, expect him to be out there for these practice games.
The depth wide receivers and backs are all jockeying for the placement at the bottom of the depth chart. Can a good performance in a practice game make a significant difference for an Ayers or Wims or Fowler or Knile Davis? Not likely. But when they are used in these games should let fans know how they’re valued by the organization.
But the guys who’ll be shouldering a bulk of the offensive responsibility will remain shrouded in mystery. It’s what makes the opener one of the most exciting Bears games in recent memory. It’s also what makes this offense impossible to game plan against early in the season.