Hey gang, sorry for the delayed reaction. After spending a weekend away with the family, I’m catching up on the Bears’ third preseason game, a 14-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans. As we say repeatedly in preseason games, the numbers on the scoreboard don’t matter nearly as much as how the starters play and getting out cleanly without any serious injuries. For the most part, I’d say they did well in those areas.
The starting offense did a decent job, moving the ball well and converting third downs while keeping Jay Cutler relatively clean. It’s really interesting to see how Mike Martz’s offense can look if Cutler gets time. Cutler routinely completed passes of 15-20 yards; that’s a long way from Ron Turner’s dink and dunk offensive philosophy.
There are still some areas of concern, some bigger than others, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The defense is predicated on a couple of things – pressuring the quarterback and taking the ball away. The Bears’ defense hasn’t been doing either of these with any consistency this preseason. They’ve only got 3 sacks in 3 games and just 1 takeaway. Some will attribute that to the “vanilla” defense that they’re playing and a lack of gameplanning. That’s fair but there’s still reason to raise an eyebrow.
To get some more of my notes, let’s go bullets after the jump…
- Time to give the offensive line credit. Not only did they keep Jay Cutler relatively upright (still need to work on some of the hurries and knockdowns) but they moved some people around in the ground attack. I think this team will be able to run that ball and run pretty effectively. Matt Forte is looking like a kid that wants a new contract this preseason. He’s looked really sharp out there.
- Speaking of guys who looked sharp, Brian Urlacher was all over the field on Saturday night. Midseason form to say the least. Anyone else concerned about that elbow brace he was sporting?
- Wide receivers still need to step it up. Roy Williams’ alligator arms cost Jay Cutler an early interception. Devin Hester had a rough night with a couple of missed opportunities.
- Earl Bennett gets excluded from the comment above. He had a great homecoming and continues to prove his value as a reliable Jay Cutler target.
- Bears cornerbacks continue to scare the hell out of me. The undersized Tim Jennings and DJ Moore get picked on routinely opposite Peanut Tillman. Zack Bowman didn’t show much in his opportunity to play with the starters. Roddy White and Julio Jones are less than 2 weeks away.
- Major Wright needs to sharped up his game, especially in run support. He’s whiffed in the red zone leading to opponent touchdowns in 2 straight game. Michael Turner awaits.
- Amobi Okoye had a nice game. He’s played really well in his stints with the #2′s and #3′s. Can he do it with any consistency against top offensive lines? I think he’s put himself in a good position to make the final 53 and make some noise at the DT position.
- When is it time to start worrying about Robbie Gould? Is there a time to worry about your field goal kicker? Yes, he connected from 45 and 52 yards against the Titans, but he missed a 29-yard gimme and he’s only connecting on 56% of his attempts this preseason. Yes, the Bears have had him take quite a few long attempts, but is new holder Adam Podlesh have anything to do with his struggles?
A couple of off-the-field business items to touch on. First, the Bears need to stop jerking Chester Taylor around. Ever since Marion Barber was signed, Taylor’s status with the team because tenuous at best. It’s unclear why he was benched at the last minute on Saturday, but the Bears need handle this professionally. He should have been told before suiting up that he wasn’t going to play. I hope the Bears put him out of his misery and cut him in the next round of cuts on Tuesday. He’s a pro and did what was asked of him, so be respectful of him and send him packing with a shred of dignity and respect.
As for perennial Pro Bowl linebacker and semi-perennial crybaby Lance Briggs, heal up your bruised boo boo and shut the F*ck up and play. Maybe he thinks now is the appropriate time to complain about his contract – on which he has 3 YEARS REMAINING – because the Bears are lacking in linebacker depth and he’s got Jerry Angelo by the shorties so to speak. I feel a LOWER THE BOOM coming on for Lance, but I’ll let this one percolate for a couple of days.