I never do a full commentary on pre-season games. But here are a few thoughts on the game against the Bills.
- Once again, I’m impressed by Justin Fields. His throws were generally on the money. He just doesn’t have the talent around him to make plays. But his mobility gives him something to use against a defense that Andy Dalton just doesn’t have. So far so good.
- Its easy to talk about keeping Fields in the pocket. But its not too easy to do. He backs out of the pocket and runs around the ends sometimes in the same way that Patrick Mahomes does. You can do that when you have a good strong arm to throw from deeper in the back field like Fields does.
- The Bears starting offense once again struggled in press man coverage. I’ve a feeling that once again we are going to see a lot of that this year. The Bears don’t have the talent at wide receiver to beat it.
- The Bears offensive line was not good. The run blocking was especially poor. They occasionally had protection issues. Elijah Wilkinson just isn’t a left tackle. If Jason Peters doesn’t still have it at almost 40 years old or if he gets hurt, the Bears are in deep trouble.
- This wasn’t a good game for Damien Williams. He wasn’t gaining much and the fumble near the end of the first quarter wasn’t a good look. His roster spot probably isn’t in danger, though.
- Rodney Adams looked good again with a nice touchdown pass from Dalton.
- Once again, tight end Jesse James showed up to play today. He’ll add good depth to the only room on offense where you can feel good about the depth.
- Personally, I didn’t think Dalton looked bad. But he’s surrounded by bad talent and he’s not the kind of quarterback that is going to be able to overcome that.
- Both teams broke the mold and neither played defense as vanilla as the Bears and Dolphins did in the first pre-season game. The Bears were blitzing with some frequency as were the Bills, who were also disguising their coverages. Obviously the Bills handled it far better.
- By far the biggest issue defensively was missed tackles. The Bears were poor all over the field. That has to get cleaned up before the season starts.
- The Bears also had a few busted coverages that didn’t help. That needs to be cleaned up.
- Alec Ogletree had a poor game after a good showing last week. The Bills offensive linemen were getting to the second level and took him out of the game.
- Duke Shelly played nickel back while Kindle Vildor spent his time outside. Neither did anything special. The Bills completed a lot of slant passes, especially to whoever was lined up off of the line of scrimmage.
- To their credit, the Bears defense wasn’t too bad against the run. Khyiris Tonga had a good showing and was solid in the middle. They may need him as Eddie Goldman has had a flaky camp. And they occasionally got pressure on Trubisky. But the Bills carved up their defensive backfield. Its going to be a long year if this is an indication of how the regular season will go.
- Charles Snowden showed up again today with some nice pressures in the second half He’s a guys to keep an eye on. Sam Kamara got a coverage sack. That’s two weeks in a row that he’s showed up. On the other hand, Trevis Gibson didn’t have a great first half with the starters as he looks to take the next step this year. GM Ryan Pace traded up for him two years ago and right now it doesn’t look like a great move.
- I thought Mitch Trubisky looked good. He hit the wide open receivers and made a throw or two into tight windows. He got less accurate late in his appearance.
- Khalil Herbert got a good look on kick returns and didn’t impress. He bobbled one in the second quarter.
- It wasn’t a good day for special teams. Once again the punt coverage was atrocious and the Bears failed to clean that up from last week. They gave up a 54 yard return in the second quarter and a 79 yard touchdown in the third. They had a blocked extra point.
- Man, this was a long game. They should disallow coaches challenges in pre-season games. It was almost 3 hours in and there were still 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. There’s no excuse for a pre-season game lasting this long.
- The first boos were heard in Soldier Field mid-way through the second quarter of the second pre-season game. And the Bears deserved every bit of it. Talent-wise, this doesn’t look like a good team and what talent they have out there isn’t performing well right now.
No preseason game should be allowed to go on for more than 3 hours.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) August 21, 2021