New Bears Season, Same Story
Some things change, but for the Chicago Bears, it appears that at least one thing stays the same. The Bears lost their second preseason game to the Seattle Seahawks and the game plan remains unchanged from the previous seasons under Lovie Smith. The offense was completely useless except in small flashes, the defense held down the opposing offense and create turnovers and points, and the special teams helped save the day.
It doesn’t matter what quarterback was on the field, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, or Caleb Hanie, the offense couldn’t get anything to work. To give him some slack, Orton looked decent but was only in the game for a series of plays and found his spot on the bench still warm. Coaches opted to give Grossman the majority of the first half and rookie Caleb Hanie the entire second half. Grossman looked like typical Grossman despite all the reports of his work in the offseason. I’ve never seen a player put in so much work to improve and make no actual improvement on the field.
I’m starting to wonder if Rex Grossman has problems with teammates, more specifically the offensive line. On any given play the line will give Grossman all the time in the world and on the next play they don’t even attempt to pick up blitzing linebackers and let him get floored. It almost makes me wonder if some of his teammates really want him on the field. Opposing defenses blitz Grossman constantly and the Seahawks followed suit. Until he can learn to deal with a blitz and check down or evade the sack, it will be the same story of Grossman running for his life.
Fans began to wonder aloud if Caleb Hanie could progress but he failed to look spectacular in the second half. His only flash of offense production came at the hands of same amazing plays by rookie tight end Kellen Davis. Davis was so good he is sure to see some playing time when the regular season rolls around. Starting tight end Desmond Clark went down with a knee injury but there has been no word on the severity. If Clark misses time, Davis will see significant playing time and the fantasy value of Greg Olsen could go through the roof.
The defense started the game in typical fashion by holding the Seahawks to field goals and keeping them in the game. When the offense struggled to score they broke the game open with an interception return for a touchdown by Corey Graham. The most impressive player was defensive tackle Israel Idonije, playing in place of Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek, who did not play. Rookie defensive tackle Marcus Harrison also looked good but Idonije was constantly getting penetration and always seemed to be in the quarterbacks face. Defensive tackle is a key position to allow the Bear defenders to make plays like they did tonight. Having this kind of depth at the position gives the Bears the kind of rotation they need to keep the defense up-tempo and wear offensive lines down.
The special teams came through again with a safety recorded on a blocked punt by Darrell McClover, a punt return for a touchdown by rookie Earl Bennett, and another blocked punt by Mark Bradley that gave the Bears a chance to win the game. The Bears opted to let the clock run down instead of trying to get more yardage and Robbie Gould missed the 47 yard field goal and put the game into overtime. In overtime the defense just looked too tired and let the Seattle offense run the ball down the field and win the game. At that point most of the players on the field were fighting for a roster spot so I don’t hold it against the defense as a whole.
I will say the defense needs to work on finishing tackles. There were a lot of crappy arm tackles that allowed Seattle ball carriers to pick up an extra 5 yards when they should have been taken down. On a few occassions I saw players trying to make a big play to get a spot on the squad by going for a forced fumble instead of just tackling the ball carrier. As time goes on and players get more game time practice, I’m sure the tackling will fix itself. This defense has too much experience and leadership to allow sloppy tackles for the first down.
Overall, this looks like the exact same team of recent years. The offense was clueless, the defense was in control, and the special teams almost scored more than the offense.