Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Bears for WARR
Past the half-way point of their preseason, the Chicago Bears have almost seen as much of their starters as they need to see. In all likelihood, the starters will get about a half of work against Kansas City this coming Saturday and that will be it.
This means the coaching staff will have to do what they can to fix any last issues heading into the season, and after their 24-23 win against the Denver Broncos this past Saturday, it is clear that the Bears are still a work in progress. Positives were accompanied by teachable moments and the Bears were bit with the injury bug for really the first time this camp. Of course, many eyes were on starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky in his first extended action of 2018.
Much like the entire team, Trubisky had some good plays and some bad, there’s a reason they were down as much as two touchdowns in the game before taking over in the fourth. Lets see what we can take away from our first taste of cardiac action with the Bears this season.
Bears fans have been holding their collective breaths hoping there the seemingly consistent volume of injuries that have plagued the team over the last few years wouldn’t befall the club again, to that end the Bears have changed their training staff and made other adjustments to try and figure out the issue.
So far things have worked, as mostly everyone has been in good health besides recent signee Aaron Lynch. Seeing Adam Shaheen and Leonard Floyd go down with injuries the other night undercut that progression and was a worrisome sight.
Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd has surgery on fractured hand (Chicago Tribune)
Shaheen is a young player that looks to be close to a break out player at tight end. The Bears have enough depth at that position that they should be okay if Shaheen has to miss extended time. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that initial tests show a low ankle sprain — great news if true for Shaheen because at first it looked like he could be done for the year after being carted to the locker room. A high ankle sprain was considered best case scenario, which should include at least a month of recovery, a low ankle sprain might mean that Shaheen could be ready by the opener.
As for Floyd, Matt Nagy revealed Monday that Floyd had fractures to his right index and middle finger. Floyd had successful surgery yesterday and the Bears are hopeful he can be ready for Week 1. Outside linebacker doesn’t have the depth that tight end does. Floyd is going to be counted on as the catalyst for the pass rush, his loss for an extended time would be huge. Perhaps Ryan Pace should pursue Khalil Mack more aggressively if he truly is on the trading block. Hopefully these injuries will be the only scares of the preseason for the team. Remember the biggest goal of the preseason for every team is to make it through as healthy as possible.
Trubisky and the Crew
The Bears’ first-team offense has been the most anticipated area to watch in these preseason games and seeing the crew for over a quarter Saturday was the most action we’ve seen so far. Standing out most from their time unfortunately are two plays that led to five Broncos points — a safety taken by Trubisky and his interception. Those are obviously not fun to see, but since this is the preseason there is nothing to overreact to.
Same could be said for the good plays, which include connections by Trubisky to two of his new weapons, starting with TE Trey Burton. What was nice to see was the Bears being able to move the ball. This offense should be able to take advantage of match-ups with all the weapons they have. Burton can be a legit monster in this scheme if he stays healthy, his speed and athleticism is obvious and he is a natural receiver and pass catcher. Kevin White made some receptions as well and showed off some of the speed that he had coming into the league.
Anthony Miller made some nice grabs as well. Trubisky and the offensive line didn’t bring their best game to the field but Trubisky has shown a poise and ability to be effective. This is the growing pains of developing a young quarterback, it will be interesting to see how much better the QB can be versus the Chiefs in his last action before the Green Bay Packers on September 9th.
Pass rush (or Lack There of)
One more thing that most fans probably wanted to see was a better outing from the defense. In its first preseason game the Broncos first team offense looked really bad and it was the opposite in their game against the Bears.
Chicago’s defense didn’t play badly but very few highlights were made and uncertainty surrounds that side of the ball again after the Floyd injury. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Bears defense didn’t look great, after all, Vic Fangio is not doing any game planning or scheming at the moment and he is a big reason to the success of the defense.
Besides Floyd, the Bears have unproven pass rushers on the depth chart, which is an inherited problem from last year. The defense should look better in the regular season when Fangio is in full coordinator mode. Until then the Bears may do well to build up some confidence in their dress rehearsal against a high-powered Chiefs offense in the next exhibition.
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