Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears for WARR
Two of the first five preseason games are in the books for the Chicago Bears and if you looked at the scoreboard each week you’d see the Bears are 0 for 2 for August.
Luckily the August games aren’t counted, though it can be a good time to get losses out the system, or at least things that lead to losses.
In a 30-27 loss to the Bengals Thursday night in Cincinnati, the contest had a mix of good and teachable moments. At times the Bears looked good and other times it was clear the Bears have more work to do. For the first time we also saw the starters out on the field and they came with mixed results.
Overall, it seemed like the Bears couldn’t quite get into a groove transitioning from the starters to the back end of the roster. Just seemed that when the Bears made a good play, a not so good play was around the corner. There was plenty of things left for the coaches to show the players in the meetings coming out of Thursday night. The preseason and camp is a process and the Bears reach an important turning point in the next week with practices starting to shift from Bourbonnais to Halas Hall.
Beyond the close of camp, the Bears will also have some joint practices with the Denver Broncos next week ahead of their game next Saturday. Hopefully yesterday is just another positive step in this team’s preparation for Lambeau on September 9th.
On offense the Bears plainly did not have the success that they wanted to have. The first snap of the game was a deep throw to Kevin White that could not be completed on a slight overthrow. Mitchell Trubisky came back to White on a third and long but the ball bounced off his hands. A roughing the quarterback penalty kept the drive alive but the next series stalled and the penalty was the only first down the Bears starters would get. The first team offense netted -1 yard on eight plays.
Trubisky looked comfortable and seemed to have made nice decisions but the offensive line struggled in the first two series and the receivers weren’t able to make big plays or even more routine plays in White’s case. The big star on offense was a nice surprise and that was tight end Adam Shaheen who collected some big receptions and runs after the catch (3 rec, 53 yards).
Another TE, Daniel Brown, had the best receiving numbers on the night (5 rec., 90 yards) and made some nice plays as well. Tanner Gentry had the best night of the wide receivers (6 rec., 54 yards) and Ryan Nall had a great day rushing the ball with nine carries for 95 yards. Nall is a guy the Bears would most likely try to put on the practice squad but he is battling for the fourth running back spot.
James Daniels made his debut with the Bears and he looked solid as the second string center. The Bears offensive line seems set with either Eric Kush or Daniels fighting for the left guard spot. It will be interesting to keep an eye on if Daniels can push the Bears to consider moving Whitehair to guard and keep Daniels at center.
The offense had moments yesterday both good and bad but this isn’t a surprise. The offense is still working on finding itself in this process. The hope is by the third preseason game they are ready to roll for the season.
The highlight of the night for the defense, and arguably the entire team, was a takeaway by the defense leading to a score.
To describe the sequence of events leadng to Kyle Fuller’s first quarter pick-6: Leonard Floyd was matched up against a tight end and he made a nice move to get pressure on Andy Dalton. Dalton had good pocket awareness and tried to hit John Ross on a hitch or curl route, Ross slipped and fell down. Fuller was breaking on the ball and intercepted it with the fallen Ross on the ground. Fuller then returned the interception for a touchdown.
Ended up being a really nice play for the Bears defense and here is hoping it is a precursor to a year of the interception for the defense. Some tough moments popped up for the defense as well as they gave up a pair of over a hundred quarterback ratings to Dalton and Jeff Driskel. The Bears pass rush was non existent for the most part as they only garnered one sack registered by Roy Robertson-Harris in the entire contest.
Not quite as explosive as they were against the Ravens., the defense likely didn’t do much to impress coordinator Vic Fangio.. Unlike the offense, the defense should be ahead of the curb as many of its players have had multiple seasons working in Fangio’s scheme. Not having Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan really hurts the defense. It is becoming very possible that Smith may not be ready for the season opener, if that’s the case then the Bears will have to figure out who the reliable signal caller will be for that side.
The competition and preparation in preseason and camp is heating up for the Bears. There have been positive signs from multiple players without the starters getting much burn so far. Hopefully the confidence in the back half of the roster will bleed over to the starters especially for the final tune-up game in three weeks.
The Bears have plenty to learn from after Thursday’s game, lets hope that they will be a better football team because of it.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanbski; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio