ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On Thursday, the Broncos will play their first first game at Soldier Field in five years.
For quarterback Caleb Hanie, it will be a return to familiar turf.
Hanie appeared in 11 games for the Bears, including four starts for the team in 2011, before joining the Broncos as a free agent this offseason.
"I'm real excited about it," Hanie said about playing against his former teammates. "I'm a little weary about playing against some of my buddies, but it's all in good fun."
Following Monday's practice, Head Coach John Fox said to expect second-teamers to take over somewhere in the first or second quarter and play into the second half of the team's preseason opener at Chicago.
With Hanie listed No. 2 on the depth chart that the team released Monday, that could mean significant playing time for the fifth-year quarterback against the Bears on Thursday.
"Chicago has always had a great defense," Hanie said. "(Head Coach) Lovie (Smith) runs a tight ship up there defensively. They'll be ready to go. They are very sound and very disciplined. That front four is always very strong – (defensive end Julius) Peppers and (defensive lineman) Israel (Idonije) over there – whoever tackles the runner in there, it seems like you can count about eight guys always. So it'll be a test for everybody."
While the team doesn't approach Thursday's preseason game in the same manner it would a regular-season contest, Hanie still looks at it as a golden opportunity to get better and show the coaching staff what he can do.
"It'll be fun," he said. "And hopefully we can make some strides and improve and just go out there and make plays."