By Adam Hoge-
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The 10 most important things to know from Halas Hall as the Bears prepare to face the Seahawks Friday night in Seattle:
1. Jordan Palmer will follow Jay Cutler at quarterback.
It’s a little surprising that Jimmy Clausen won’t follow Cutler, but the catch here is that it appears Palmer and Clausen will both see similar playing time. Palmer is scheduled to play the third quarter, while Clausen will see the fourth.
“We’ll continue to rotate these guys around,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “We’ve got another week after this one and that’s the way we’ll operate this week.”
Palmer went first after Cutler in the first preseason game while Clausen got the nod last week against the Jaguars. If Trestman is sticking to that rotation, it’s Palmers turn this week, setting up Clausen to start next week against the Browns (assuming Cutler doesn’t play at all).
2. Cutler and the first-team offense will play about a half.
“Jay will work certainly into the second quarter and we’ll make a decision during the second quarter what we’re going to do: through it or are we going to go through halftime and then bring him out in the third quarter? That will be dependent on a number of different things,” Trestman said.
Basically, the Bears have an idea of how many reps they want Cutler to receive Friday night. During a typical game-week practice, Cutler gets about 30 reps, so expect the number to be around there.
Last year, when the Bears went to Oakland for the third preseason game, Cutler and the first-team offense received 35 plays in the first half and Trestman took them out of the game at halftime. Cutler threw 21 passes in that game, completing 12 of them for 142 yards and a touchdown.
3. Jordan Mills returned to practice, but was limited. In a good development for a banged-up offensive line, right tackle Jordan Mills (sore foot) was back out on the practice field Wednesday. He only went through individual drills, however, so don’t expect him to play Friday.
4. Trestman wants Santonio Holmes to dress in Seattle. Signed Saturday, there’s a chance Holmes has picked up the offense fast enough to play in Seattle.
“We want to get him in there as quickly as possible,” Trestman said. “We also want to respect him and do the right thing. We don’t want to put him in a position where he can hurt himself or hurt our football team.”
My guess is Holmes plays. The question is: for how long and with which unit? I’m sure the Bears would like to see him with Jay Cutler, but Trestman also wants to see his offense in regular season form so he would have to be confident in Holmes’ knowledge of the offense for that to happen.
5. Chris Conte will play. The Bears safety will get his first action since last year’s season finale. Now we’ll just have to see where he is in the rotation. Given that he hasn’t played at all this preseason, you’d think the Bears want to get Conte out there early and often — assuming he’s back in game shape.
6. Chris Williams will play. After missing last week’s game against the Jaguars with a hamstring injury, Williams will be a go in Seattle. He will get important reps both in the return game and on offense and Trestman wants to see production.
7. Speaking of the return game, Darius Reynaud expects to get reps. Reynaud was signed off the street this week to help a sputtering return game and he should get a look or two in Seattle.
8. Jared Allen returned to practice. After sitting out Tuesday’s practice with a shoulder bruise, Allen was back out there Wednesday and should play Friday night.
9. Kyle Fuller will not play. The rookie cornerback didn’t practice all week and doesn’t appear to be in the plans for Friday. The bigger question is whether or not he’ll be ready for the Browns next week. The rookie could use the reps.
10. The Bears are embracing their preseason challenge in Seattle. The players and coaches are probably a little annoyed that they have to fly all the way out to the West Coast for preseason game, but it does present a good opportunity for the Bears to face a quality opponent in a tough environment out West. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer called it “a perfect setup,” which is not surprising considering the Bears face the 49ers on the road in Week 2 of the regular season.
“I think the guys are aware of the matchups, particularly that are going to be there in the first half,” Trestman said. “Two teams that like football. I think we all are excited to see what happens and we’re not going to take too much out of it one way or the other but we certainly are going to be competitive with a highly competitive team. And it will be fun to see what happens.”
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for 87.7 The Game and TheGameChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.