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Here Comes Sickness: Bears News And Notes

By Rob Winn in News on Aug 22, 2014 4:15PM

The Bears take on the Seattle Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest tonight in the third, and most important, preseason game. This will also be the last time we'll see most of the starters until opening day, since very few will play in the final game. Plenty of questions remain unanswered after last week's lackluster effort against the Jaguars. The first-team offense had a few explosive plays, but looked to be on cruise control, while the defense picked up where they left off, allowing the opposition to march up and down the field. A dress rehearsal against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks will be a good measuring stick to see exactly where the Bears stand. Here are a the top story lines heading into the game:

Special Teams
The special teams showed improvement in the second preseason game, but going from horrible to bad isn't anything to write home about. After a costly fumble, returner/wide receiver Eric Weems was cut, paving the way for open competition at the returner position. Michael Spurlock will get first crack at the job, with some time going to Chris Williams. Spurlock has experience in the league, last playing for the Lions, while Williams was successful as a returner in the CFL but has no returns for the Bears. As for coverage, all fans can hope for is coordinator Joe DeCamillis can tight up the special teams when the roster is settled and his schemes are implemented.

So far, no one has stood out at the safety position. That means when Chris Conte sees his first action of the preseason Friday, he will be firmly entrenched in the battle for a starting job. Conte was a solid contributor in his first two years in a Bears uniform, but was simply atrocious last year. No one needs to be reminded of where he was when the Bears playoff chances died in the opposing end zone last year. As for other safeties in the running, Ryan Mundy has yet to contribute and 14-year veteran Adrian Wilson looks to be a step slow. Considering all that, a solid game will most likely put Conte on the field opening day, much to chagrin of Bears fans.

Back-Up QB
Surprisingly Jordan Palmer will be first up to relieve starter Jay Cutler against Seattle. Most thought Jimmy Clausen had solidified himself as the back-up quarterback after a solid game against the Jaguars. Clausen is still the heavy favorite to be the back up considering his preseason play and NFL experience, but head coach Marc Trestman will give Palmer one last shot to really stand out.

With a 9 p.m. start, Bears fans will have plenty of time to finish a few drinks before the game kicks off. And with a road preseason match-up, that will be just what the doctor ordered.