- Hub Arkush at ChicagoFootball.com thinks that nose tackle Terry Williams stood out on Thursday night and I’d agree. But here’s what I thought was the really interesting observation:
“Now, I’m not so sure Tayo Fabuluje isn’t the second best tackle on the Bears – not including Kyle Long, of course – and shouldn’t be moved into the starting lineup at right tackle.
“If the Bears are going to have to cover for and live with mistakes from their right tackle, why not suffer with a player with a huge upside.”
I’ll be honest. I watched Fabuluje during the game and thought the same thing. But the thought was too ridiculous and I forgot about it. But if I wasn’t the only one to notice, maybe its not such a stupid thought after all. Fabuluje moves well for a big man. But there would be a lot of growing pains and most of them would be inflicted upon quarterback Jay Cutler.
Hub was also happy with David Fales but here I’ll very mildly disagree. I’d have liked to have seen him go down field with the ball more. The same could be said for Jay Cutler. Good for him in that he’s not turning the ball over. But he’s not making any plays, either. John Mullin at csnchicago.com agrees:
“The other shoe, however, is doing something with the football while you’re not giving it away, and that hasn’t dropped for the 2015 Bears. The No. 1 offense didn’t score a touchdown on any of those 80 Cutler snaps.”
Cutler’s defenders will point out that he didn’t have Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White or Eddie Royal. Nonsense. All that tells me is that Cutler still can’t throw a receiver open with anticipation. Other people see improvement in Cutler this preseason. I see a guy who will once again be middle of the pack statistically but who will head an offense that won’t be able disciplined enough to run the ball consistently and won’t be able to pass its way out of trouble. Cutler won’t – and will never – produce enough to win.
- Jeff Dickerson says that he “can’t rule out” the possibility that the Bears would be interested in RGIII. Heaven help us all.
- Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune comments upon Thursday’s game against the Browns:
“Maybe it’s a result of the lesser quality of opponent throughout the practice games, but it looks like Mason Foster should be starting ahead of [Shea] McClellin or Christian Jones.”
Just watching the game, I would agree with this. But Foster was cut on Friday. Get used to it.
To those who genuinely believe that the Bears are going to defy predictions this season and compete for the division, Foster should be a warning sign. The Bears are rebuilding and nothing says that louder than cutting Foster before younger linebackers like John Timu, and Jonathan Anderson. The Bears are evaluating based upon future potential, not present performance.
- Related to my comment on Cutler above, Mike Rothstein at ESPN.com answers your Lions questions:
Q: “I still don’t see nearly enough shots. [Matthew] Stafford has been good but very few passes traveling more than 20 yards.”
A: “It’s the preseason, so you aren’t going to see a ton of shots. Plus, Calvin Johnson wasn’t on the field at all during the exhibition season so that is going to limit the shots taken anyway. I don’t expect the Lions to turn into an Air Raid offense or anything, but with a healthy Calvin Johnson, a more experienced Eric Ebron and a returning Golden Tate, the chances are there to take more shots downfield. It wouldn’t shock me to see if the Lions take one or two more big play shots per game — but not too much more than that.”
I was down on the Lions after they lost Ndamukong Suh. And I was dead wrong. They’ve been very impressive in the preseason, both offensively and defensively. Unlike the Bears, they do show signs of being disciplined enough to run the ball with a nice stable of runningbacks, most notably rookie Ameer Abdullah.
It’s going to be a big year in the NFC North with the Packers, the Lions and the Vikings all showing signs of being playoff level football teams and the Bears have a great opportunity to play spoiler. Failing to take care of business against the Bears could be the difference between a wild card and being on the outside looking in for any of them.
- Something to keep an eye on within the division is the Vikings kicking situation. Blair Walsh signed what is a lucrative contract extension (for a kicker) with the team in the offseason. Now he’s missing field goals all over the field in the preseason and there’s a great deal of concern in Minnesota. A valid question to ask is whether the team will start going for two point conversions rather than risk Walsh missing extra points. There’s a case to be made that any good offensive team that thinks they can gain two yards more than half the time in such a situation should be doing it anyway.
One Final Thought
Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Timu on his experiences as a three-time captain at Washington:
“‘Our thing was, ‘Sacrifice your body and glorify your soul for the team,’’ he said. ‘I took that mindset out of (Washington) and brought it here as a Chicago Bear.'”