There are lots of questions surrounding the Chicago Bears and their wide receivers ahead of their final preseason matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night at Soldier Field.
Four-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall has been held out of practice while recovering from his third hip surgery, and has expressed frustration with the offense. However, Marshall did say on Twitter that he plans to play in Week One. News also broke early Thursday morning that the Bears are trying to trade receiver Earl Bennett, but it might be difficult since he’s just coming back from a concussion.
Still, new head coach Marc Trestman does have a couple of silver linings. Seventh-round draft choice Marquess Wilson has five catches for 96 yards, and second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery has looked sharp with eight receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Those two might see some time, but Chicago should hold out most of their starters in anticipation for their regular-season opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 8.
Same goes for Cleveland, who will rest starting quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson.
The starting quarterback nod will go to reserve Jason Campbell, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with key players like linebacker James-Michael Johnson, defensive lineman Armonty Bryant, and tight end Brad Smelley getting one more chance to make the final roster.
Cleveland signed seventh-round pick Bryant back in July, but he started off on the wrong foot after being arrested for a DUI in May. With four total tackles and a sack this preseason, Bryant is currently fourth on the depth chart at right defensive end, behind Hall Davis, Billy Winn, and projected starter Desmond Bryant.
Capable of playing fullback, Smelley has one catch for 15 yards during the exhibition season.
Game coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET and a live online stream is available by subscription on the NFL’s official site here.
Chicago can watch on Fox 32 or WFLD-TV, and Cleveland will be on WKYC-TV.
Betting Odds: Cleveland is favored by 1 point.
Over/Under: 38.5 points
Prediction: Chicago 17, Cleveland 6