The Bears looked like a team at the tail end of a three games in 11 days stretch rather than at the start of the busy week and a half as they dropped their second preseason game to fall to 1-1, losing to the NY Giants 41-13. The score doesn’t matter in preseason, but some things stood out. Most concerning on the offensive side of the ball were third down conversions and the Red Zone offense.
The Bears could only muster a 3-15 third down conversion rate, going 0-6 in the first half (when it actually kinda mattered) with most of their conversion coming in garbage time. Roy Williams – the “No. 1 wide receiver” that the Bears brought in failed to convert on his first two attempts and is still o-fer the preseason.
The red zone offense is another big area of concern and seems like it’s a common theme carrying over from last year. I don’t know if Mike Martz gets stage fright once he gets close or if he’s just not used to working in confined areas, but this area needs a big improvement. The Bears had a number of chances and whether it was playcalling or execution, the Bears didn’t get the job done.
On the defensive side of the ball, third downs were a problem as well. Eli Manning picked apart the Cover-2 a few times and it became even more vulnerable when Urlacher and Peppers left the game, in which starter Lance Briggs sat out. I’m not as concerned about the defense, but you always wonder when the jig will be up on this aging group.
Let’s go bullet points for my rapid reaction after the jump:
- Jay Cutler made it through the game relatively unscathed, only going down for one sack and a few knockdowns. WAY BETTER than his last visit to the new Meadowlands. On the one sack that he did take, he probably could have gotten rid of it to avoid the sack. Both Lance Louis and J’Marcus Webb were beaten by their men, leading to the sack. Still shaky but better than last week.
- The O-line was actually good enough to let Cutler make a few throws down the field. His first big hookup came to Devin Hester down the right sideline, when Hester clearly beat his man. JC acknowledged a “my bad” knowing that if his throw was a little better and it was almost a sure 6. Getting better.
- Earl Bennett just makes plays.
- So does Matt Forte. How about that Marshall Faulk impression on the screen pass? That’s how you go out and get yourself paid son!
- That said, Chester Taylor, please drop your playbook at the door on your way out.
- Any time Roy Williams would like to join the team, please feel free. He was 0-2 in his first two attempts to convert a third down. Yes, the Bears need a big wide receiver, but more importantly, THEY NEED A WIDE RECEIVER TO PLAY BIG! Step it up Roy!
- Raise your hand if new punter Adam Podlesh has failed to impress so far. This was the Bears’ #1 target in the offseason?
- Speaking of the punting game, way to give up a blocked punt gang. Dom DiCicco, I’m talking to you! Bubble players can’t miss an assignment, especially on special teams.
- I’m not even reaching for the panic button, but the Bears’ special teams were just putrid in all phases – kickoff and punt coverage, returns, you name it. I would hate to be in the special teams meeting room on Tuesday.
- On defense, I thought Brian Iwuh had a decent day filling in for Lance Briggs. I’m slightly less nervous (I say slightly, but I was in a panic before the game) that he could fill in for a game or two. Still, the other linebackers were invisible. The Bears need to upgrade their depth in this area. If I keep saying it, maybe Jerry Angelo will finally hear me.
- Tim Jennings plays way bigger than his stature. Could you image that heart on someone with some size? That said, Julio Jones and Roddy White await in Week 1. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
- The defensive line that has had a ton of praise heaped on it over the preseason failed to impress besides of course Julius Peppers, who continues to be a menace to opposing offenses. Other than Pep, it gets scary especially at the DE position. Izzy is solid, but not spectacular and no one else really stood out this week.
What did you see during the game? Are you concerned? Share your comments. It’s easy, I promise!