Writers for ESPN today said the Chicago Bears are among five teams with a clear path to the Super Bowl. The one catch: they need to have breakthrough play from the quarterback position. Whether the Bears can capture actually pull that off will be decided in large part by preseason play, including tonight’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, because the Bears need to finalize their backup QB situation. If you happen to be a TV, the game’s nationally televised on ESPN. Or, you can watch Jaguars vs Bears online NFL preseason Week 2 in various ways.
The Bears’ backup QB position is vital to their Super Bowl chances because starting QB Jay Cutler hasn’t played an entire 16-game season since 2009. That’s a frightening prognosis for Chicago, though backup Jimmy Clausen came in in preseason Game 1 to throw two TD passes and achieve a passer rating of 134.6. If he can repeat those stats in tonight’s Jaguars game, he’ll make current-backup-QB Jordan Palmer mighty uncomfortable headed into Week 3.
Indeed, the Bears are currently planning to have Clausen runt he show once Cutler sits for the night tonight. If he performs well, the backup position will be all but his. If he can’t capture lightning in a bottle for a second straight game, it’s a safe bet Palmer will hit the field late in the game and regain his position as the likely No. 2.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will also use tonight’s Bears game to get a first look at a prized offensive weapon. Running back Toby Gerhart is scheduled to play his first game tonight after signing a three-year deal to replace Maurice Jones-Drew. Gerhart practiced this week for the first time, leading offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to tell ESPN that he’s only likely to see five to six carries tonight. If the Jags like what they see from Gerhart tonight it’ll go a long way in determining how they plan to approach their running game once the regular season hits.
Jacksonville will also keep close tabs on rookie QB Blake Bortles, who had a solid debut last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Against the Bucs, Bortles went 7-of-11 for 117 yards but only faced a four-man rush once. Chicago’s likely to bring more pressure in tonight’s Thursday Night preseason game. Bortles practiced against a more aggressive rush this week and had mixed results. If he can handle those situations and make his reads, he’ll prove his NFL preseason debut wasn’t a fluke.
Kickoff for tonight’s Jaguars / Bears game is scheduled for 8:00 EST. The game will be televised live from Soldier Field on ESPN.
If you’re looking to see the game live online, you can watch tonight’s Jaguars vs Bears NFL preseason Week 2 game online via the NFL’s Preseason Live service. That package grants viewers access to watch any and all out-of-market football games for $19.99. Alternately, if you’re an NFL Network subscriber via your normal satellite or cable TV package, you can watch the game online free via the NFL Online website once you put in your info for that provider.