The Bears rookies weren’t quite as impressive in week 2 of the preseason, so if you are looking for good news check out my week 1 rookie report. It wasn’t all bad verse the Jags, but there were definitely some “rookie” mistakes and a few players took a step back from last week’s progress. It’s rare that a rookie comes in and is flawless off the bat, so any negativity should be taken with a grain of salt because it is pretty normal for there to be some growing pains with rookies in the NFL.
This year’s rookie crop is considerably more talented than last year’s due to the fact that this year’s draft was one of the best in recent memory. When a guy with starter potential like LB Christian Jones doesn’t get drafted, you know it is an extremely deep draft. Due to the large number of rookies still in camp, I broke the post down into drafted rookies, priority undrafted free agents, and rookies who earned a training camp invite.
CB Kyle Fuller - I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I saw Kyle Fuller being led into the locker room early in Thursday night’s game. I haven’t seen an official report yet on the extent of the injury, but I hear it’s a minor ankle injury. Let’s hope that’s all it is and that Fuller doesn’t miss much time.
DT Ego Ferguson – He wasn’t as much of a factor as he was in week 1, but I did see a nice hustle play from Ferguson. He correctly read a screen pass and hustled his 300+ pounds to the sidelines to make the stop after a few yards. That speaks well for his conditioning and awareness since he was the only Bears D-lineman to recognize the screen and make a play.
DT Will Sutton – There wasn’t any pressure on the QB from Sutton which is disappointing, but Sutton played really well against the run which may be more important considering the Bears struggles in run D last season. Sutton finished with 3 tackles and two of them were impact stops near the line of scrimmage. He continues to move well down the line on outside runs and looks significantly more fluid than he did last season at ASU. I have a feeling that big plays are coming from Sutton and he will be a factor in the Bears DT rotation this season.
RB Ka’Deem Carey - His overall stat line looks bad for the second week in a row (2.8 ypc) but the Bears O-line just isn’t opening any holes. It’s unfair to compare Carey’s stats to Draughn’s (11 ypc) as some analysts are doing because the carries came in vastly different contexts. I’m not knocking Draughn, but his yards came on 2nd or 3rd and long against soft coverages due to multiple Bear penalties, while Carey’s came against base formations on 1st and 2nd down. Carey did have the best run of the night with a 15-yarder, scored a TD on a tough short yardage run and also had a nice blitz pickup. The one negative play I saw was a dropped screen pass that could have resulted in a big play.
FS Brock Vereen - Rough day for Vereen in pass coverage (-1.2 grade from PFF) and had an embarrassingly bad missed tackle on a short out pass. Vereen did have 4 tackles on the day including one for a loss, but the free safety needs to be strong in coverage and after two games Vereen hasn’t proven he can cover consistently.
QB David Fales - Did not play. My pet theory is that the Bears want to sneak Fales through waivers so they can stash him on the practice squad and keep both Clausen and Palmer. Not likely, but you never know.
P Pat O’Donnell - After a mediocre 1st game, O’Donnell showed why the Bears used a 6th round pick on the punter from Miami. O’Donnell boomed a couple of kicks, his longest being a 57-yarder and pinned the Jags inside the 20 on 2 of his 3 punts. For the day O’Donnell averaged 48.7 yards per punt. For a frame of reference, 48.9 yards per punt was the best in the NFL last season (M. King, Raiders).
T Charles Leno – A mixed bag for Leno in his 2nd game. Leno got beat bad by former 10th overall pick Tyson Alualu for a sack and had a false-start penalty, but outside of those two plays Leno was really solid.