Position-by-Position thoughts on the first preseason game.
(Note: With a few exceptions, most of thoughts/analysis are focused on specific roster battles)
|TE Zach Miller - photo: rantsports.com
Quarterback: Right now, it should be Jimmy Clausen as the number two QB and Jordan Palmer at the three. Both of their stat lines were decent, but Clausen's presence on the field, confidence in the pocket and zip on his passes were far and away more impressive.
Palmer had moments, but threw a bad interception and his touchdown pass was a wobbler thrown behind tight end Zach Miller, who just made a great play.
Running back: Shaun Draughn had a surprising number of reps with the first/second team ahead of Michael Ford and Ka'Deem Carey at running back. He wasn't given a lot of chances with the ball in his hands, but seemed to know where he needed to be in terms of blocking and providing a safety outlet for Cutler.
Wide Receiver: Eric Weems as the number three receiver did not inspire much confidence, but Josh Morgan did get a couple reps with the first team and had a couple nice catches. Chris Williams had a nice swim move and 70 yard touchdown but then proceeded to strain his hamstring.
Morgan seems to be the best choice at that position, unless the Bears bring in outside help.
Tight End: With Martellus Bennett suspended, the Bears were looking to see who stepped up. And while Dante Rosario did well, Zach Miller...I mean, where did he come from? I know Jacksonville and all but seriously, where did he come from?
Offensive line: Michael Ola filled in nicely on the offensive line, which is encouraging since Brian de la Puente will miss several weeks with an MCL sprain. On the other side, Joe Long seemed to struggle at the tackle position, getting caught for several holding penalties. James Brown wasn't talked about much, but I usually think of that as a good thing.
|CB Sherrick McManis - photo: pressofatlanticcity.com
Safety: Danny McCray got the start at the free safety position alongside Ryan Mundy. McCray was credited with one tackle while Mundy had an interception fall into his lap.
Adrian Wilson and Brock Vereen got significant time with the second string. Wilson had a couple nice tackles and a big hit in his time but Eagles tight end Zach Ertz found holes in between the linebackers and the safeties on back-to-back plays to set up a touchdown.
Corners: Sherrick McManis showed he could do more than just special teams as he picked off Nick Foles. And undrafted signee Al Louis-Jean had a very nice interception late, even as the wide receiver was clearly pulling him to the ground in an effort to break up the pass.
Rookie Kyle Fuller played decently, and while he got beat off the line on one play, he showed great recovery speed in getting back to break up the pass.
Linebackers: D.J. Williams got the start at middle linebacker over Jon Bostic. Neither Bostic nor Shea McClellin played overly well. Bostic over ran a few plays and McClellin looked like he was a step late as he had trouble diagnosing run vs pass.
Khaseem Greene did recover a fumble and returned it inside the Eagles' 20 yard line.
Defensive line: All three interceptions were a result of pressure. The starting defensive line of Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff really forced Nick Foles to get rid of the ball quicker than he wanted. And reserve Trevor Scott was a nice surprise in the second half, disrupting plays and making tackles.
All of that was with Jared Allen on the bench.
|Coach Joe DeCamillis - photo: Chicagotribune.com
Let me just say, this unit was far and away the most disappointing..
The Bears had a field goal blocked, gave up a 102 yard kickoff return, muffed a punt, had a couple suspect long snaps and neither punter really managed much distance. There has been a lot of personnel turnover on special teams, but from top to bottom, the performance was very discouraging for a unit that was one of the tops in the league the past five years or so.
I understand comparing Joe DeCamillis to former Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub is not really fair, but Toub continues to have success in Kansas City while Joey D needs to figure out how to improve this unit significantly and needs to do it soon.