It was a mixed bag for the rookies in the Bears season finale. Kyle Long played one of his best games of the season and Marquess Wilson made the most important catch of his young career. On the flip side, Jordan Mills broke his foot and Jon Bostic watched most of the game from the sidelines. I’ll be doing a year-end recap next week, but for now here is a breakdown of how the rookies performed in the Bears crushing loss to the Packers last Sunday.
Kyle Long RG: After two sub-par games, I was worried that Long was worn down after playing more games than he ever did in his college career. He proved me wrong Sunday as he stepped up with one of his best games of the season. Long’s pass blocking was flawless as he didn’t even allow a hurry on Cutler. In the run game Long was the Bears highest rated blocker (Pro Football Focus) with a 2.1 run blocking grade and a 3.3 grade overall which was his second highest all year (4.0 vs Dallas). Bear RBs averaged 5.1 YPC on runs to either side of Long. It was an impressive end to a very solid rookie campaign.
Jordan Mills RT: It’s a shame Mills didn’t get to go out on a high note, as he had played some of his best football of the season over the previous three weeks. Mills broke his foot on the 3rd snap of the game and will face a lengthy rehab in the off-season. The injury is not expected to impact his ability and he should be healthy in time to compete for a job in training camp.
Jon Bostic MLB: It was a disappointing end of the season for Bostic as well. After playing poorly for three weeks in a row with an average grade of -3.3, Bostic watched this one from the sidelines as the Bears spent most of the game in nickel & dime packages. He was only on the field for 4 snaps and didn’t record any stats in his limited time. It will be interesting to see what the Bears do with Bostic next year. There has been talk internally about moving him outside or perhaps switching to a 3-4 defense and keeping him inside. I’ll cover this in more depth in my rookie recap next week.
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Marquess Wilson WR: The coaches have spoken highly of Wilson all year and he finally got a chance to play with Earl Bennett inactive (personal) for the Bears biggest game of the season. Wilson played a season high 34 snaps (previous high was 15) and made a tough 1st down catch in the 4th quarter for 10 yards. It was his only catch of the game on his only target, but he took a big hit after and held on the to the ball. Wilson didn’t embarrass himself run blocking either and overall his performance should be a nice confidence booster going into his 2nd season with the Bears.
David Bass DE: After his worst game of the season against the Eagles, Bass stepped up and played pretty well in the last game of his rookie year. He didn’t make many plays, he was only credited with 1 QB hurry and an assisted tackle, but he was consistent in his outside contain responsibilities which has been a major issue for all the Bears DEs this season. It was an up and down year for Bass, but he showed enough to at least be in the mix at DE next season.
Khaseem Greene OLB: With Lance Briggs back and the Bears in a must win game, Greene didn’t even see the field on Sunday. To me that’s a sign that Greene failed to win the coaches confidence in his seven game stint replacing the injured Lance Briggs earlier in the season.
Michael Ford RB: Played on special teams but didn’t make an impact.