The Bears held their annual Family Fest at Soldier Field on Friday night. That’s a story in and of itself, when you consider that they had to cancel the event last season because the Soldier Field turf was deemed unsafe, sending the Bears back to Bourbonnais and fans home unhappy to say the least. Quite the contrary this year, as 27,000+ showed up to find perfect Soldier Field turf, the best its been since they renovated in 2003.
One thing to keep an eye on is the health of the lynchpin of Lovie Smith’s defense, Brian Urlacher. Urlacher sat out his third straight practice on Friday night with a sore left knee. We saw what can happen to the Cover-2 without #54, when he was lost for the season in the first quarter of Week 1 back in ’09 against the Packers. No reason to panic just yet and most likely Urlacher would be playing if this were the regular season, but his game is still predicated on speed, so a bum wheel could hurt his game.
The Bears have done a good job bolstering the back end of their roster with solid backups at many critical positions, but they’re left with some question marks at the backup linebacker spots in particluar. With Urlacher out, Nick Roach played the middle linebacker spot and Geno Hayes took the strong side spot.
On the offensive side of the ball, it was an aerial assault, with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall putting on a show. It was bombs away as Cutler and Marshall wowed the Soldier Field faithful, giving them a taste of what they hope to do during the season. Marshall was excited for his first trip to Soldier Field as a Bear:
"“I’m excited about this opportunity and all the support that the Bears have and all the love that they’re showing me.”“I love it,” said Brandon Marshall of Soldier Field fans. “I’ve never been welcomed so warm before so this is exciting.”"
Those quotes from Zach Zaidman’s Twitter account.
A few more notes:
- It looks like we can plant the JWebb Nation flag at the left tackle spot. Webb was running with the 1’s and undrafted rookie James Brown got most of the reps with the 2’s. Gabe Carimi played RT and Chris Williams was left with some backup reps behind Carimi. So much for a competition.
- Even though Stephen Paea is getting more reps with the 1’s on defense, Matt Toeaina got some time with the starters too. This might be the last race left.
- Tim Jennings keeps making plays. I’m liking this kid more every day.
- From what I hear, the matchups between Brandon Marshall and Peanut Tillman are becoming legendary.
- Devin Hester was back in action after being excused for personal reasons on Thursday.
Bears with a day off on Saturday before they get back to action on Sunday afternoon. Peyton Manning and the Broncos (that sounds weird, doesn’t it?), roll into town in just a few days.