The Marc Trestman era started with a whimper. That’s the best way to describe the first outing as head coach of the Chicago Bears, as they dropped their preseason opener 24-17 to the Carolina Panthers. It was a sloppy game and it was clear that both defenses were ahead of the respective offenses in a turnover-laden affair.
The Bears were without a few starters as Julius Peppers and Brandon Marshall did not dress for the game. Earl Bennett did not even travel with the team. Jamaal Anderson also sat out as did tight end Kyle Adams. I was really surprised to see Jermon Bushrod play and play quite a bit. Most of the starters played about a quarter.
The starting offensive line was Bushrod, Slauson, Garza, James Brown and J’Marcus Webb, as co-starter Kyle Long had to wait his turn. All in all, the offensive line gave up 5 sacks on the night. Rookie Jordan Mills struggled as he gave up a couple of sacks and getting penalized for holding along the way. Kyle Long play a lot despite not starting. He showed flashes, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Jay Cutler was in mid-season form, as his first pass of the season was intercepted. It looked like Alshon Jeffery cut off his route or didn’t fight enough for the ball, but when asked about it, Cutler said it should have gone to Jeffery’s other shoulder. He sounds like he’s taking accountability. Would you call that progress? Cutler was in there for pretty much the entire first quarter, finishing up the night 6-8 for 56 yards and the one costly interception.
On the defensive side of the ball, rookie Jon Bostic showed why the Bears drafted him in the second round. He made one heck of an athletic interception and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown. I don’t think he’s going to make fans forget Brian Urlacher just yet, but it was definitely a step in the right direction.
On the injury front franchise player, defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a concussion on the first play of the game. That’s a tough blow to an already depleted defensive line. Long snapper Patrick Mannelly suffered a rib injury when he got leveled covering a punt. Backup fullback Harvey Unga, who actually had a couple of nice runs, was seen limping off the field.
Let’s go bullet points for the rest of the story:
- Defensive tackle Nate Collins had a really nice game. He was in the backfield quite a bit and had good penetration.
- Did I mention in my offensive line assessment that J’Marcus Webb is still bad?
- Did everyone else’s heart sink when Cutler got sacked late in the first quarter? My note – GET HIM OUT OF THERE.
- Zack Bowman had a nice interception. Isn’t this his MO – strong play in practice and preseason? Let’s see if he can keep it up.
- Sherrick McMannis had a nice forced fumble. It’s great to see the second string corners making plays and stepping up their game.
- Camp hero Isaiah Frey dropped a sure interception. At least he’s around the ball and making plays.
- Fendi Onobun ought to be on a bus. You can tell why he has kicked around the league for a few years. He dropped a beautiful pass that would have gone for a touchdown and then turtled up and cost Matt Blanchard an interception. The battle for the backup tight end continues.
- Armando Allen didn’t do himself any favors with a costly fumble in the red zone.
- Brandon Hardin dropped a sure pick of his own. That’s the rust of not playing for the last couple of seasons. At least he didn’t get hurt.
- James Anderson did a nice job filling in for Patrick Mannelly as the backup long snapper. Remember when Desmond Clark was pressed into action a couple of seasons ago?
- Rookie Khaseem Greene showed well. He had a nice tackle for loss and made a special teams tackle.
- Speaking of rookies, Marquess Wilson had a couple of nice plays, showing promise. He finished the night with four catches for 82 yards and just missed scoring a long touchdown. He appeared to step out of bounds just before getting in. Undrafted rookie Michael Ford cleaned it up, scoring a four yard touchdown.
That’s all for now. What did you guys see out there? Anything that impressed or surprised you? Let’s see your comments on the Bears preseason game.