Chicago Bears Week 1: Takeaways

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

6.) Chris Conte is still Chris Conte – When Conte intercepted a pass in the 3rd quarter, I was happy for him and thought maybe that play was just what Conte needed to win back the fans and get back to his 2012 form. I should have known better. The more Conte was on the field, the more his inability to tackle stood out. Overall it was far from his worst game (-1.2 grade from PFF), but he is just not a good tackler. He takes terrible angles, has bad form and doesn’t have the strength to bring down ball carriers in the open field. On Fred Jackson’s 38-yard overtime run, Conte looked like a little kid trying to tackle his dad. Conte is decent in pass coverage, but is a liability against the run and stopping the run is the Bears biggest problem right now. Can rookie Brock Vereen be any worse?

7.) Is Earl Bennett still available? – There was a stretch during Sunday’s game when both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were on the sidelines with minor injuries. Instead of running the ball with their Pro Bowl running back, the Bears kept trying to throw and the Bears backup receivers, Santonio Holmes, Josh Morgan and Micheal Spurlock, failed to step up. They struggled to get open, ran sloppy routes and couldn’t catch the ball when targeted. WR depth was a question mark throughout training camp and it still is. Holmes (-2.3), Morgan (-1.3) and Spurlock (-1.9) had three of the four worst grades on the Bears offense Sunday.

8.) Willie Young needs more snaps – Young was the most effective pass rusher on the field for the Bears on Sunday, but was only on the field for 21 snaps. In his limited plays, Young had 4 tackles, a sack and a QB hurry. He was the most active of the Bears D-lineman and should have been on the field more often. Pass rushing is Young’s strength, but he had a 1.0 overall grade against the run last year, so it’s not like he is a liability. Perhaps a few plays off for the 32-year old Allen (54 snaps) would keep him fresher and more effective.

9.) Was that Jared Allen or Julius Peppers? – In 54 snaps, Allen had just 1 QB hurry. Allen was neutralized by the Bills offensive line and looked a lot like the guy he was signed to replace, Julius Peppers. It’s just one game, but an auspicious start for the Bears highest paid D-lineman.

10.) The Bears season isn’t over – Nobody thought the Bills could beat the Bears on the road, but they did. Nobody thinks the Bears can beat the Niners on the road… Stranger things have happened. A surprising number of professional sports writers are already declaring the season over, which is ridiculous. It’s one of 16 games, don’t give up yet.