Friday night saw the return of NFL football in Chicago as the Bears took on the Philadelpha eagles down on the lakefront at Soldier Field. I had a few concerns going into the game, and I still do, but I was pleasantly surprised in several areas. Let’s go over them, shall we?
First thing I noticed was that Jay Cutler looked like he was in full command of the offense. For someone who has been watching the Bears for 29 years now, I can’t tell you how promising this is. The fact that 2 starters on the offensive line did not start did not go unnoticed on me. I know at one point, they had attempted 42 pass attempts with 1 sack. I’ve been through games where they had given up 7-9 sacks in one half. So this was nice.
The Tight End depth was surprising. It quickly became apparent that Zach Miller and Dante Rosario were better than adequate pass catchers. They both made some key plays. It was fun to watch that unit make play after play as the night went on.
It was good to see the safeties were making some nice plays. Filling in on run defense, breaking up passes and intercepting the football. Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray both stood out early. Adrian Wilson laid the wood on an Eagles receiver later in the game. I would have liked to have seen a little more from Brock Vereen, but it’s only 1 preseason game.
The Bears might have the tallest collection of wide receivers in the league. A huge departure (pun intended) from when QB Jay Cutler first came to Chicago. Josh Morgan looked OK. My guy, Chris Williams (I claimed him as “my guy” at Family Fest”) showed what he can do on a 73 yard TD reception from Jimmy Clausen in the 3rd quarter. I saw flashes of this at last weeks practice at Soldier Field. Let’s hope his hammy isn’t strained bad and he gets back into action soon.
Another thing I noticed, or deduced is that they seem like a well coached team. Especially on offense. Even rookie David Fales had some good throws when he came into the game. Coaches Marc Trestman, Aaron Cromer and Matt Cavanaugh deserve a lot of credit. Not having 2 starters on the offensive line meant that they were probably not with the 2nd or 3rd units. This kind of O-line depth is as unusual as solid QB play around these parts.
If it sounds like I am gushing, it’s because I am. I knew the importance of this game and they pretty much blew me away in most of the areas I was concerned with. I do have some questions and concerns though.
The backup Running Back competition didn’t go as well as I would have liked. Draugns, Carey and Ford looked OK at times. No one really stood out. Jordan Lynch came in and ran hard but it wasn’t until 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. I would like to see him get some time with the 2nd string unit if he can work his way in there.
My major concern is at Linebacker. Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic didn’t really stand out. They both seemed to get “wiped out” of plays most of the night. 2nd year LB Kaseem Greene picked up a fumble.
Special Teams had an up and down night. They made some good stops on punt and kick coverage but then they let up a 102 yard TD to Josh Huff. You never like to see that, but in preseason, it doesn’t cost you a whole lot. Both punters looked OK. O’Donnell had a 60 yard punt negated by an illegal touching penalty.
Overall, it was a really good night for the Bears. It was a fun game to watch and interesting to see some of the competitions develop.