- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune comments on the offensive production in Thursday’s preseason game:
“How the offensive production correlated to line play Thursday supports the argument that the line’s collective health last season was perhaps the most under-appreciated factor in the offense’s success. All five linemen started all 16 games. Their continuity fostered cohesion and sharpness as the season progressed.”
It also underscores a concern that has carried over from last year as well. The line’s lack of physical play was underscored by the poor job the Bears did running the ball Friday. It was one of the reasons why I was looking for changes up front, albeit minor ones. Instead, general manager Phil Emery opted to bet that the line would become more physical as the players grew together under Bears head coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer in their second year. Here’s hoping they were right. But you’ll forgive me if I have my doubts.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune doesn’t like my suggestion that Ryan Mundy might be paired with Adrian Wilson at safety:
“Wilson and Mundy would leave the Bears without a true free safety and that is a key position for defenses against the proliferation of three-, four- and even five-wide packages. It’s also the position you want to think about when trying to cover the athletic tight ends across the league. That is why this pairing seems like a long shot to me. [Chris] Conte absolutely has a chance or he wouldn’t still be around. Let’s see how plays when he gets in preseason games.”
His point about Conte is well taken and was pointed out to me by a commenter on Facebook after posting my blog entry. In the absence of anyone else stepping up, the job may well turn out to be Conte’s by default. Having said that, I thought Danny McCray tackled well Thursday.
- Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes defensive end Jared Allen on all of the penalty flags that were thrown Thursday:
“Jaguars cornerback Mike Harris’ roughing-the-passer penalty late in the game even infuriated Bears defensive end Jared Allen.
“‘If that is, I’m hosed,’ Allen said. ‘Because I’m going to get about 20 of those this year. At some point, in my opinion, you got to look at what’s better for the game. Are all these flags on the field better for the pace of the game? Is it a better fan experience? I don’t think so.'”
Allen has a point. I thought the call on Harris was particularly bad. I saw no contact with the quarterback’s helmet and the hit definitely wasn’t late.
Night games always feel long and Thursday night’s game was particularly bad with all of those penalties. If this carries over into the season, we aren’t going to be sleeping much.
- Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com on the Bears punting competition:
“…Patrick O’Donnell appeared to lock up the punting competition with a clearly superior performance to Tress Way.”
O’Donnell clearly has the edge as a draft pick and it’s up to Way to show that he’s definitively better. But setting that aside, I can’t say I’ve seen much difference between the two.
- Scott Krinch at CSNChicago.com gives the Bears defense some credit for bending but not breaking in the red zone. He has a point. Many a Lovie Smith defense operated the same way, giving up a lot of yards but holding teams to field goals time after time.
- I was a little surprised by this assessment from Michael C. Wright at ESPN.com:
“The Bears want to remain patient with Shea McClellin as he transitions to linebacker, but his play against the Jaguars seemed just about on par with his shoddy showing last week. McClellin did stuff the run once early on but continues to struggle at shedding blocks and making tackles in space.”
I thought McClellin and, really, all of the linebackers looked better Thursday night. McClellin read plays and attacked the line of scrimmage and was frequently blitzed. I had no problem with him.
- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune makes the case that Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles may be a player to keep an eye on. Bortles surprised me Thursday night. He’s much more accurate that I thought he was.
One Final Thought
Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Sun-Times asks wide receiver Brandon Marshall how the team feels about him working a side job as an analyst on Inside the NFL during the season:
“‘You need to be very careful how you write this story and talk to me because this could be the last time you talk to me,’ he said.
“Um, OK …
“‘End of story,’ he said.
“‘I’m just asking …’
“‘End of story,’ he said.
“I can see it’s going to be hell writing the authorized Brandon Marshall book now.”
I read several articles on this before getting to the Morrissey column and had already concluded that it was a non-story. Now I’m interested.