© Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers Kick Off Preseason at Bears

Sharon Thorsland
August 08, 2019 - 11:20 am

It's finally time for football! The Panthers kick off the preseason on Thursday night against a formidable foe, traveling to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears. Kick-off is set for 8:00 on WBT.

The Bears have one of the best defenses in the NFL and an offense that looks much-improved on paper with the addition of former Patriots receiver Cordarelle Patterson.

The defending NFC North champs finished last season at 12-4 before losing that heart breaker kicking debacle to the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bears return the bulk of that team, and are favored to once again win the division. The Panthers are looking to bounce back from a down year, and guys are ready to see some real game action after two weeks at camp.

“I'm so excited,” said backup quarterback Kyle Allen. “To get some real competition, get out there on the field, take some hits, go out there and play against a team – I'm so excited about that.”

Allen and the Panther offense will be facing one of the NFL's top defenses. The Bears were number one in the league in points allowed and takeaways, and feature a trio of first-team All-Pros in linebacker Khalil Mack, safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Kyle Fuller.

Mack is a beast – he had 12.5 of the team's 50 sacks in just 14 games last season. Fellow linebacker Roquan Smith led the Bears with 121 tackles as a rookie last season, and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks anchors a solid front line. Jackson and Fuller had 13 of the team's 27 interceptions.

It's going to be fun to see how this Panthers offense stacks up against them, particularly young receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.

The Bears have their own electrifying receiver in Patterson, who is also an elite kick returner a-la former Bears star Devin Hester.

He gives third-year quarterback (and former Tar Heel) Mitch Trubisky another weapon to go with veteran Allen Robinson, 2nd year pro Anthony Miller and slot receiver Taylor Gabriel. “They have a pretty good vertical attack,” said Panther safety Ross Cockrell. “They have good speed on their offense.”

With star running back Jordan Howard gone to the Eagles, rookie David Montgomery will team with former NC A&T standout Tarik Cohen, who is the bear's version of Christian McCaffrey and is nicknamed “the human joystick.”

They'll face a Panther defense that has switched to a 3-4 scheme and has a lot of speed. “They're really fast, they're smart, they run to the ball,” said Trubisky. “They get after it with the front seven and they're really solid on the back end.”

After two weeks of lining up against each other in the Spartanburg heat, guys are certainly looking forward to lining up against a different opponent in a real game situation.

It might be only the preseason and not everyone will be playing but this is still a good test - and the Panthers are ready to see how they stack up against a very good opponent.

“Anytime you get to put the pads on, it's for real,” said guard Trai Turner. “We're definitely taking this serious and going out there and competing for one another. Everybody's ready to go.”

Comments ()