After practicing with the New England Patriots for three days, the Bears finally played them in a preseason contest on Thursday night. The results were much better than last week’s game vs the Denver Broncos. Here is what I took away from it:
Jay Cutler: Looked much better, mainly because he had time to throw, thanks to the offensive line. He made his best throw on a touch pass near the sideline that Alshon Jeffery hauled in. He led the team for 2 scoring drives that culminated in a FG, a TD, and a nifty 2 point conversion. Perfect? No, but a very nice improvement over last week.
The offensive line: What a difference a week makes. They looked very solid at times, getting into the second level and pushing the Patriots around. They opened some nice holes for Jeremy Langford to run through. One of their best blocks/runs got called back for holding by Cameron Merideth.
Alshon Jeffery had a few nice catches before he retired for the evening. It’s clear how much his presence means to the Bears offense. Kevin White caught a couple passes, dropped one, and one was over his head. I would like to see Jay connect on a couple deeper passes with him, but you gotta crawl before you can walk.
Jeremy Langford: I think he answered whether he could be the “guy”. He ran decisively, and well, taking one run up the sideline for long gain. It’s one game, but given what he did last year, it was all I needed to see from him. We know he can block, we know he gets the offense. He showed he can catch a little bit out of the backfield as well. He’s ready to go.
The defense looked really good at times, only giving up points late in the 2nd quarter. They had a couple nice goal line stands. They only gave up 3 points until backup QB Brian Hoyer threw a bad interception.
Front seven: Continued to show they are the strength of the defense. There is a lot of depth on this unit. I think people will be pleasantly surprised how they perform and carry the team at times. They had a sack that was called back on a hold, and got some decent push at times. More is needed from this unit, but it’s preseason.
Defensive backs: Terry Porter made a nice play and stripped Brandon Bolden, stopping them from scoring. They will likely be without CB Kyle Fuller until week 1 of the regular season at the earliest, so someone needs to step up.
Plus or minus: Tight ends Rob Housler and Tony Moeaki both had some nice catches. Neither of them are Martellus Bennett, but they are nice pieces that will add depth to the roster.
While the defense was steady in the first half, the offense did little after they converted a pass for a 2 point conversion. The lack of depth at wide receiver was apparent. Backup QB Brian Hoyer had a rough night, but third-strong QB Tim Shaw looked solid.
Overall, all three units showed improvement over week 1. They got through the game relatively injury free. There were a few injuries in practice however, on Tuesday there were about 19 Bears sidelined with various injuries. Some of those were preexisting coming into the preseason. It’s being reported that Kyle Long has a shoulder injury.