- During pre-season games like the one last night, most of us watch the pass rush when we evaluate the defensive line and forget about everything else. But Bears head coach Marc Trestman has his head on straight. Via Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune:
“Trestman was particularly pleased at first glance by how the Bears defended the run. The Eagles’ top two backs, LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles combined for 11 yards on four carries.
“‘I was looking at how we were setting the edge,’ Trestman said. ‘Did we have the opportunity to make some tackles and do some clean tackling? I saw a little bit of that.'”
- Campbell notes quarterback Jay Cutler‘s performance:
- Campbell continues:
“[Cutler's] 23-yarder to tight end Dante Rosario on third-and-10 perfectly cleared the jumping linebacker and dropped down before the safety arrived to break up the pass. And his throw to [tight end Zack] Miller fit through a tight window at the catch point.”
I was as impressed with the tight ends as I was unimpressed with the wide receivers not named Marshall and Jeffery. Here’s hoping they can fill the void.
- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune quotes rookie quarterback David Fales before last night’s exhibition game:
“‘I’m excited to finally get some live bullets,’ Fales said after Wednesday’s practice in Bourbonnais. ‘I’m eager to see how I’ll react. It will be a lot different for me than practice when you’re running plays and you can’t tell for sure if you’ve been sacked and you don’t really know what would happen in game conditions. So with these live bullets, you get out there and compete, you go through your reads and you have some fun.'”
Overall I thought Fales did pretty well last night. He wasn’t asked to throw a whole lot because the Bears wanted to get a good look at that stable of running backs and they wanted to run the clock out. And they probably just wanted the darned thing to end.
Fales has a big wind up when he throws the ball any distance. It would be nice to see him cut down on the length of that release.
- Matthew Paras at chicagofootball.com quotes Fales on his practice struggles in the red zone:
“‘Everything happens faster,’ Fales said of the red zone. ‘It’s just a different game. Your feet have to be faster and you have to react faster. You can’t go through all your progressions. It’s one or maybe two, but it’s one throw away.'”
- I thought Reggie Herring had an interesting perspective before the match up. From Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“‘Who has play-making ability under the lights,’ Bears linebackers coach Reggie Herring said. ‘When you go against your same opponent over and over, there is a tendency to have a comfort level. And then when you go under the lights and play a game, some guys get stage fright. And some can produce and show maturity.
“‘So that’s what we’re looking for — who can perform under the lights when everybody’s watching. Who can tackle and make plays and execute the defense under a real game situation.'”
I’m sorry to say that I don’t think Herring saw a whole lot of good once his pupils hit the field. You can count on Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com to stay grounded amidst all of the talk about how good many of the starters at other positions looked:
“Jon Bostic followed a strong early training camp with a disappointing performance, and prized rookies Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton and Ka’Deem Carey were all for the most part invisible.”
Unfortunately I would add Shea McClellin to that list.
I don’t think any of the linebackers played very well, including the starters. They weren’t playing down hill and attacking the football. McClellin, in particular, looks lost in space. I think everyone has to improve here.
In fairness to Carey, I didn’t think he did a bad job in pass protection – a very good sign for him. Some of the other competitors for that back up position didn’t show nearly as well in this respect.
Scott Krinch at CSNChicago.com on punter Pat O’Donnell:
“The Bears’ sixth-round pick was nicknamed ‘Mega-punt’ during training camp for his booming, 70-yard punts.
“That wasn’t the case for O’Donnell in his Soldier Field debut. His two punts went for an average of 43.5 yards, with a long of 47.”
In fairness to O’Donnell he was trying to drop one of those inside the 20 yard line.
The Tribune notes that viewers were unable to see half of the first quarter (i.e. when the starters were in) because of technical difficulties.
After this incident things were fine. But from the pre-game through to the poor video feed, it was amateur hour before that. The student run television station at my alma mater, the University of Missouri, could have done it better. The local FOX affiliate needs to pick up its game for the rest of the preseason.
Offered a choice of five Bears by a Tribune poll asking who was the most impressive, one which most notably included tight end Zach Miller, over 30% of you picked Jordan Lynch. Come on, guys.
By the way, shame on the Tribune for not at least including a token lineman on either side of the ball on this list. Both of these starting units were missing key personnel and both were the most impressive as a whole.
“Cutler completed 9 of 13 attempts for 85 yards and a touchdown, good for a passer rating of 112.7. He threw off his back foot multiple times, and he overthrew receiver Eric Weems when he fell away from the target, but he also made several pinpoint throws.”
That’s a pretty accurate assessment from my view. Cutler went through a stretch where his mechanics fell apart in the face of pressure. But when he calmed down and corrected it you couldn’t have asked for better performance. Here’s hoping that the few bad plays were just an anomaly and/or rust.
As to Cutler’s potential backups, I thought both of the contenders, Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen were just OK. Not bad but less than impressive. Like most of the experts, I’d give Clausen a slight edge. He’s a little smoother, a little stronger and a little more accurate with his ball placement.
I’m all for teams finding creative ways to make money that don’t involve extorting fans for it. But even I think this might be going too far…
One Final Thought
Paul Bessire at predictionmachine.com continues to spread good cheer amongst Bears fans: