Gosh, I sure hope they're better. Josh McCown was often running for his life last week. That said, the Bears starting right tackle Jordan Mills from last year has been in a walking boot to protect a surgically repaired foot, so I'm not sure you'll see him on Thursday night. The rest of the line will be the line from last year, who were able to keep both Jay Cutler and Josh McCown generally upright during the season.
Will the Jaguars defensive line have as much success as they did last week? I don't think so. Are there key areas they should work to expose? Definitely. Big pressure up the middle and over the RT/RG gap would allow them to have some success, at least against the first team.
2. Are you worried about your running game? The backups seemed to do alright against the Eagles, but Matt Forte struggled and the first-team offense only really clicked when Jay Cutler was throwing the ball.
No, not really at all. Forte actually ended up with the second most rushing yards in the league last year (1,339 to Shady McCoy's 1,607). The Bears are returning the same offense and the same system for the second year in a row, and everyone on the team seems pretty comfortable with it.
I think that the first preseason game was used largely to get the quarterback and receivers on the same page. By the same token, Marc Trestman's offense is very pass-heavy. I would look for Forte to possibly receive a pass target or two coming out of the backfield.
3. Who's been the most impressive rookie in Bears camp so far?
In my mind, it's Kyle Fuller. He came into camp strong, has played very well, and had a great game last Friday logging a pass breakup and three tackles. Assuming he doesn't have a spectacular let down over the next three weeks he's well on his way to becoming the Bears starting nickel corner. That may not sound impressive at first glance, but the Bears in the last two years have played just under 60% of their snaps in the nickel.
Other than him, the rookie defensive tackles Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson have had good camps, and both played well on Friday as well.
4. If there was one player you'd tell Jaguars fans to watch on Thursday night, who would it be?
From the "it's fun to watch this guy play football" angle, I'd say Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is poised to have another big year after his breakout sophomore season (1,421 yards, 7 TDs)
From the "this guy will help determine how good the Bears are" angle, keep an eye on Chris Conte. The Bears defense last year was a sludge farm of epic proportions. The line created no pressure, the linebackers were always out of position, and the safeties caught the brunt of it. Conte included. Conte became the whipping boy for the Bears defensive woes, but is realistically probably still the best Free Safety on the team. If he has a solid preseason game or two, it's likely we will see Conte return as a starter alongside Adrian Wilson.
5. From an outsider's perspective, how did Blake Bortles look last week? Is he the best quarterback on the roster?
That's tough. He certainly looked the part at times last week, but I'd be interested to see how he performs over the next two weeks. I don't know that the Jaguars needed to take him where they did, but they needed an upgrade.
Chad Henne seems like a nice guy, but everything about him to me screams backup who keeps getting a chance to start. Bortles gives me more confidence in the Jaguars QB than I have had in the last roughly decade. I hope he can be the touchpoint to the Jaguars turning things around.