The highlight of my night Friday was seeing undersized wide receiver Chris Williams beat press coverage off of the line and catch a dead, solid perfect pass from quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The fact that it went for a touchdown was just icing on the cake.
The kicker? Williams pulled his hamstring before making the catch, not after. From Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:
“‘Things happen,’ Williams said. ‘I felt it right away. I went the distance not feeling 100 percent. I am disappointed I didn’t get to finish (the game).'”
Biggs continues with this interesting comment:
“Williams’ speed sets him apart and that is why it’s a little hard to understand why he wasn’t given a shot in the return game. The plan was to work him and he was injured midway through the third quarter.
“Eric Weems was first up in the return game. The Bears ought to know exactly what they can get from the veteran when it comes to returning punts and kickoffs. Williams is the unknown and the guy they made multiple runs at last season before finally luring him off the practice squad of the Saints. Seems to me they should have prioritized Williams in the return game. We’ll see how long he is sidelined.”
I think the fact that it was the third quarter and Williams hadn’t gotten a shot at returning the football might say more about Williams than the coaches. He wasn’t on the three-deep depth chart at wide receiver that the Bears released early last week making him at least seventh on the list. Something tells me he’s going to have to make a lot more plays like the one he made Friday night if he want to make the team.
David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune on tight end Zack Miller, who likely had the best game of any Bear Friday night:
“Depth behind [Martellus] Bennett represented a preseason concern, but Miller quietly has accrued respect. As far back as organized team activities in June, one offensive coach described Miller as a ‘less-than-one-rep guy,’ who doesn’t forget anything once he is told. On Saturday, wide receiver Brandon Marshall tweeted a picture of Miller above the caption: ‘This boy balled last night.'”
Kevin Fishbain at chicagofootball.com provides snap count analysis from Friday’s game:
“It took some time before James Brown got on the field, but he played a team-high 56 snaps, taking over at guard when Brian de la Puente got hurt and then left tackle. He seems to be in good shape to be one of, or the final O-lineman to make the team with his versatility and experience, but the Bears have plenty of tape to watch from Friday.”
I’m going to disagree with Fishbain here. I think that Brown is in serious trouble. We haven’t heard his name much in camp and a lot of guys have been playing ahead of him. Injuries like the one to de la Puente aside, I’m going to guess he’s not on the roster come September.
Fishbain also notes that running back Jordan Lynch got no special teams snaps, not good news for those fans hoping the hometown boy will make the roster. Lynch is probably, if anything, headed for the practice squad.
John Mullin at csnchicago.com is keeping an eye on the linebacking situation and makes some good points:
“Coaches typically adhere to dictums that the best five offensive linemen will start, the best four defensive linemen will start and so on, often with only marginal allowances for assigned positions. With that in mind, how the Bears approach their linebacker situation this week and into Thursday’s game with Jacksonville becomes of added interest even with the organization’s statement that different starting combinations would be explored all through preseason.
“Specifically, a question after Friday night is whether Shea McClellin remains the starter at strong-side linebacker, and whether he is tabbed as one of the three best linebackers. That is not a given.”
The problem – for everyone but McClellin – is that fellow linebacker Jon Bostic didn’t play a whole lot better. Truth be told, Khaseem Greene probably played the best of the three and I’m beginning to wonder if he isn’t going to get a better shot at a starting role.
Its worth noting that safety Adrian Wilson hit like a hammer Friday night. His conduct during the game and his comments afterward sounded quite a bit different from those he made before the game indicating that he “had nothing to prove”.
One Final Thought
Dan Pompei at Sports on Earth describes a locker room environment in Seattle that is in stark contrast to the message of peace, love and family that Bears head coach Marc Trestman tries to send:
“They are unlike almost every other NFL team — not because they just won a Super Bowl, but because their locker room is a shark tank. Defensive end Michael Bennett said the Seahawks are the most competitive team he ever has been a part of. So in order to restock, the Seahawks need to add players [in the draft] who won’t be eaten alive in a viciously competitive environment.
“It isn’t just the 49ers or Packers who are potential impediments to player development in Seattle — it is the Seahawks themselves. Softer players have been chewed up and spit out on the Renton practice fields by an unforgiving group of veterans. It is no given that a fresh-faced kid out of college can stand up to an accomplished, physical, mouthy, intimidating veteran like Richard Sherman.”