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5 Bears players to watch in preseason finale

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

The Bears will play their third and final preseason game Saturday night against the Browns in Cleveland. Here are five players to watch in the contest:

The second-year quarterback and the rest of the first-team offense are expected to play 25-30 snaps versus the Browns, which would be their most extended action of the preseason. In wins over the Chiefs and Seahawks the past two weeks, Fields combined to complete 9 of 14 passes for 87 yards and an 81.5 passer rating.

Asked what he hopes to see from the former Ohio State standout Saturday night in Cleveland, Bears coach Matt Eberflus said: "Just poise, execution, running the offense, having command, presence out there, him doing his thing."

"We're just excited to get him more in there, more comfortable," Eberflus said. "He's a young player. This is a big-game experience for him that he's going to have prior to the start of the season, and he's excited about it. He's excited about getting out there and doing it."

Take a look at the best photos taken throughout Enjoy Illinois Training Camp, including the Meijer Family Fest practice at Soldier Field, as chosen by Bears photographers.

It's been a whirlwind last few weeks for the second-year offensive lineman, who was switched from tackle to right guard Aug. 14. Jenkins initially practiced with the second-team offense at his new position, but was elevated to the No. 1 unit the next day and then started there two days later against the Seahawks.

Eberflus told reporters that he felt the 2021 second-round pick had a solid game in Seattle but added that "he's got to continue to grow at the position." The Bears coach indicated that the competition for the starting right guard position remains open heading into the preseason finale, but it seems as if Jenkins can cement the job with a strong performance versus the Browns.

After practicing at right guard Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jenkins said that he feels "a lot more comfortable than when I started, because I actually had more reps under my belt and I'm starting to learn all the tendencies, all the consistency I need to have to be a guard instead of a tackle."

Having signed with the Bears this year after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Packers, the veteran receiver is eager to continue developing a bond with Fields. St. Brown knows that it's not an overnight process and is excited that Bears starters are expected to see their most expanded playing time of the preseason Saturday night.

"It's my first year with him," St. Brown said. "You've got to get more reps in with a quarterback to build chemistry, build trust within that quarterback. You can't just come in—new quarterback, new receiver—and just have chemistry. That takes time."

It's even more important for St. Brown to continue to mesh with Fields because three of the Bears' top receivers—veterans Byron Pringle and N'Keal Harry and third-round rookie Velus Jones Jr.—have been held out of practice due to injuries.

The Bears were back on the fields at Halas Hall Wednesday as they continue to prepare for Saturday's preseason finale against the Browns in Cleveland.

Perhaps the most underrated player on the Bears roster, the seventh-year pro figures to play a prominent role on both defense and special teams this season. Houston-Carson has consistently made impact plays in both phases and could be called upon to start the regular season opener at safety if second-round pick Jaquan Brisker remains sidelined with a right hand injury he sustained in the preseason opener.

"He does things right," safeties coach Andre Curtis said of Houston-Carson. "As a coach, you love guys that do things right and do exactly what you try to coach them to do. He's got versatility. He plays nickel for us. He plays safety. We just trust him. I just like the type of makeup of the person and how he approaches every day and every situation are the same."

Every game rep is valuable for the rookie second-round pick, who is expected to play his second straight preseason game after sitting out the opener with an injury. Gordon has been practicing at both cornerback and nickel back, but he played solely at nickel back in the Bears' preseason win over the Seahawks.

Gordon has shown a knack to make plays on the ball in practice; this week he intercepted a pass that was deflected by cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Despite not recording a tackle or pass breakup in Seattle, the Washington product still impressed coaches with his play.

"There were some good plays in coverage where the ball might not have went his way," said defensive backs coach James Rowe. "But it showed up on tape that he played well."

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