The Bears first string defense took a step back in week 2 of the preseason, allowing the usually hapless Jags offense to move the ball at will in the first half. On the plus side the Bears D held up in the red zone forcing field goals on 2 of the Jags 3 red zone trips. For a more detailed recap of the game, check out Boomer’s take and Napier’s “non-expert” recap.
I have been covering the Bears position battles all preseason and I will be updating who helped and who hurt their chances in Thursday night’s game. Performing in practice is one thing, but the winners will be decided by who performs on the field during preseason games
Position: 4th-5th Defensive Ends
The top 3 spots are locked up with big money free agent acquisitions Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, and Willie Young but there are 4-5 players competing for the remaining two DE spots. The Bears kept 5 DEs last year.
Up: Cornelius Washington – One game might have been a fluke, but that is two strong performances in a row for 2nd-year DE Cornelious Washington. He dominated the Jags LT on multiple plays. The most impressive was a run play that Washington blew up 4 yards deep in the backfield by bull rushing the LT; He also came off the edge hard on a run up the middle to stop the back for no gain. As good as he has been at DE, Washington also had two nice special teams plays on kick coverage, one of them a hard tackle at the 15-yd line. Washington was dominant against the run, got some pressure on the QB and played great on special teams. Pro Football Focus gave him the 2nd highest grade on the Bears defense (2.6) behind Jon Bostic.
Up: Trevor Scott - Wasn’t quite as dominant as his Bears debut in week 1 but still had a good game. Scott’s best play was a sack on Henne that was negated by a Kelvin Hayden penalty. He also had an impressive two play stretch in the 2nd quarter. Scott didn’t fall for the play-action fake and chased Bortles out of bounds on a roll-out. Bortles just managed to cross the line of scrimmage stealing the sack from Scott. On the next play (3rd down) Scott got pressure inside on a stunt and forced an incomplete. Scott was also in the game on the game-ending interception and got a hit on the Jags QB. In two games Scott has got consistent pressure on the QB and I think he’s a lock for the 4th DE spot.
No Change: David Bass - He showed good awareness, staying home on two QB rollouts to pressure the QB into incomplete passes. Bass got 1 hit on Bortles on a roll-out but that was it for the day. He only played 18 snaps because the Bears offense controlled the ball in the 2nd half.
No Change: Austin Lane – Had a nice QB pressure, but for the 2nd week in a row didn’t do much despite around 30 snaps per game. Lane has more experience than Bass or Washington but is getting out played by the two 2nd-year DEs.