There’s little doubt the national media will focus on Peyton Manning when the future Hall of Famer makes his Broncos debut in Thursday night’s preseason opener at Soldier Field. But Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is interested in something completely different.
“I’m anxious about us, concerned with us and how we perform,” Marinelli said. “That’s the key. We want to come out feeling good about how we execute, and sometimes it may not be all 11. It may be two or three guys we’re looking at. We want to see that execution.”
Marinelli constantly focuses on fundamentals in practice and is eager to see which players can transfer what they’ve learned in training camp into a game against an NFL opponent.
“You really want to see the discipline, you want to see the movement, you want to see guys flash obviously, to understand the defense, guys rush and break on the ball and tackling,” Marinelli said. “We want some guys that can tackle and guys get opportunities to make plays on the ball and who can rush.”
One of the players that Marinelli is most eager to see against the Broncos is second-year defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who has performed exceptionally well in training camp.
“I’ve been really pleased with him,” Marinelli said. “He’s made the statement to you by watching him. You don’t have to say anything. He’s just made his statement. He is accelerating off the ball. He’s tough. You don’t see the guy up and down every single day, and that’s key for us.”
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