Bears newcomers prep for preseason opener

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Josh Morgan grabs a pass during the Bears practice Friday, July 25, 2014 in Bourbonnais.

BOURBONNAIS — Last year, Josh Morgan started the Redskins’ preseason opener and had three catches for 39 yards. He entered that exhibition season as someone expected to play a key role.

Now, Morgan heads into Friday’s preseason opener against the Eagles as someone fighting for a roster spot in a stiff competition at wide receiver. He maintains, though, that he takes this preseason with the same mentality.

“I’ve never felt comfortable in my roster spot. That’s the same way I try to go into everything,” he said following Tuesday’s practice. “I have to make the team, I have to do whatever it takes to make the team. I’m never comfortable.

“This is a league where every day, somebody’s trying to take your spot. Somebody is interviewing for your spot. They’ve got a thousand other people that’s trying to be here in my shoes and trying to take my spot. I’ve never been comfortable. I go into it with the same mentality and I try to go into it with the same work ethic.”

Jordan Palmer is in a similar situation as he was two years ago, fighting for a spot as a backup — then, he completed 9-of-13 passes for the Jaguars. Last preseason, he only had the finale to make an impression.

“When Friday rolls around, I want to be locked in and show the coaches I can move the team, get us in and out of the right plays, find the open guy and hit him,” he said. “It’s just another game, really, and I’m excited for the opportunity to show the coaches that I can do that.”

Ryan Mundy began last preseason as the No. 3 safety with the Giants. Now, he’s squarely in the competition to start. Like Morgan, Mundy said he won't let the different roster situation facing him affect his focus for Friday.

“I’m highly intrinsically motivated. Regardless of the situation that’s going on around me, my motivation was always going to be high coming into this opportunity,” he said. “I’m a hard worker. I’m just excited to be here and can’t wait to get out there and play on Friday.”

Mundy also acknowledged the value of putting together good tape during a preseason game, and saw what happened last season when the Giants lost their final three preseason games, leading into an 0-6 start to the season.

The players won’t admit it, but the pressure that always comes with trying to make a 53-man roster will be elevated under the Soldier Field lights on Friday, as Bears fans — and most importantly, the staff — get their first chance to see some players in a game situation.

“Going into this preseason game, it’s basically the same thing [as previous seasons],” Morgan said. “I want to go out there, do whatever I’ve got to do, work hard, learn everything, get the game plan down and go out there and put on a show, let my talents speak for themselves on game day.”

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