The Bears are being hit hard on the injury front this season, but on the bright side that could speed up the development of this year’s rookie class. In week 6 against the Giants, all but 1 rookie was on the active roster. Jon Bostic, Zach Minter & Marquess Wilson all got their first snaps of the season and David Bass played twice as many snaps as last week. These rookies will need to grow up quick if they want to continue to get playing time. Here is my breakdown of their performance in week 6:
Kyle Long RG: After being matched up against some of the top DTs in the league (Suh, Atkins), Thursday night’s matchup against Linval Joseph and a struggling Giants D-line seemed like somewhat of a breeze on paper. Unfortunately, Long struggled more with his pass blocking Thursday than he had at any point of the season so far. He gave up a team high 3 QB pressures (tied with Mills) and had his worse pass blocking grade of the season (-1.4)¹. Long was solid against the run (as usual) and but still graded out slightly negative overall (-0.5). On a positive note, Long avoided any penalties and despite his struggles Thursday he has become the Bears most consistent lineman only 6 games into his career.
Jordan Mills RT: Mills continues to struggle with pass blocking, giving up one of only two hits on Cutler all day and tying Long with 3 QB hurries allowed. Granted Justin Tuck is a tough match-up for even a proven vet, but Mills has graded out negatively in every game this year except the opener. On the bright side, Mills didn’t give up any sacks, didn’t commit any penalties, and actually had his best overall grade (-1.6) since the opener. I’m going to take that as a slight sign of improvement. Despite Mills’ struggles since the opener, he still hasn’t allowed a sack all year which is a pretty impressive accomplishment for a 5th round rookie.
Jon Bostic MLB: It’s unfortunate that Bostic only got to play because of DJ Williams’ season ending injury, but that’s life in the NFL. Next man up. Bostic had a strong enough pre-season that some fans were clamoring for him to get the starting job outright. He was a playmaker in the preseason and his obvious athleticism will be a welcome addition to an aging defense. The problem with Bostic playing before he’s ready will be his inexperience and play recognition. He had a rough 2nd half against the Giants. He got stood up on a blitz his first play and overall graded out at -2.1 vs the run which was worse than everyone else on the team except for Shea MccClellin, of course. It wasn’t all bad Thursday. Bostic made two solo tackles near the line of scrimmage and actually graded out positively (0.2) in pass coverage. It was his first half of regular season football in the NFL and he probably wasn’t even expecting to play, so I’m fine with overlooking a few mistakes Thursday. Bostic has had all week to prepare for the Redskins; Let’s hope he comes out and takes advantage of the opportunity or at least shows enough progress to prove he can handle the job. The Bears need help on defense badly right now.
David Bass DE: Played a career high 29 snaps on Thursday , which was more than double his 14 snaps in week 5. Unfortunately, doubling his snaps didn’t lead to an increase in production as Bass only recorded 1 tackle on the day. Bass was the only D-lineman besides Wooten to grade out positively against the run (.5), but he failed to provide any pressure on Eli Manning and graded out negatively against the pass (-1.4). Bass will continue to get snaps with all the injuries on the D-line and hopefully he will take better advantage of his opportunity next week against the Redskins.
Michael Ford RB: Played on special team but was a non-factor (0 tackles).
Kaseem Greene OLB: On the active roster, but didn’t see the field on defense or special teams.
Zach Minter DT: After not getting any defensive snaps in his first week on the active roster, Minter played 14 snaps on Thurs. He looked a bit overmatched (like the rest of the DL) but didn’t embarrass himself. Minter didn’t record any tackles and was called for an “illegal hands to the face” penalty which the Giants declined, but he did record a QB hurry so it wasn’t a total loss.
CJ Wilson CB: Played on special teams. Wilson made 1 tackle, but missed two and had the lowest overall grade on the Bears special teams unit (-2).
Marquess Wilson WR: Played his first NFL snap on Thursday, a pass, but Wilson wasn’t targeted. The fact that the Bears coaches trusted him enough to be on the field is a good sign and will hopefully lead to more playing time as the season progresses.
Cornelious Washington DE: After being on the active roster a few games early in the season, Washington has been inactive since the loss to the Lions.
¹All grades provided courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com