Typically, there's not much that you can call riveting viewing in a fourth preseason game. I've always said if you've got season tickets, cross your fingers that the third preseason game is at Soldier Field. At least you get to attend (or sell your seats) a game that has some semblance of a regular-season affair.
That being said, the preseason finale against Cleveland at the end of the summer in 2005 carried at least some interest. It marked the first start for rookie Kyle Orton after Chad Hutchinson had bombed out following Rex Grossman's broken ankle.
Worth watching when the Bears take the field Thursday night at Cleveland will be how the secondary is deployed. Don't expect the first-team units to be on the field long, but Danieal Manning made it known change is in the air when he was asked about the departure of Ricky Manning Jr., the former nickel back.
"Right now they are moving some stuff around,'' Danieal Manning said. ``They said they are going to try something different. Some stuff might change.''
Brandon McGowan is the only member of the secondary with any experience as a nickel cornerback. It's a hybrid linebacker/defensive back position and he's stout vs. the run. He figures to take over there with Danieal Manning getting nudged aside in his bid to replace Ricky Manning Jr., who happens to be a distant cousin. That would allow the Bears to get Kevin Payne on the field at strong safety.
More compelling will be whether or not the change at strong safety in the nickel defense carries over to the base defense and Payne replaces McGowan there. Don't rule it out. Coach Lovie Smith is high on Payne and he split time against San Francisco with the first team. How things shake out in the defensive backfield will be interesting.