Bears Preseason, Game 3: This Could be a Really Long Season

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The second preseason game promised a bit of hope and enthusiasm, especially following the disaster that was the first preseason game. If the Bears could just manage to continue that exponential improvement this game and this season may not be lost after all. Even with the injuries mounting there was excitement in at least some circles that those injuries would give backups and rookies the opportunity to shine and to demonstrate the fruits of an offseason of roster building. After the game was played, not so much, for any of it. If the first preseason game could be repeated yet somehow be even more disappointing and disheartening, that was the game against the Chiefs.

Rightly or not the third preseason game is supposed to mean something. As the “dress rehearsal” for the the regular season it is the game where the team fielded is most similar to the one we will see Week 1. It is by far the closest thing to actual football that may be seen before the regular season starts. Except what the Bears did on Saturday was not football, at least not anything which should rightfully be deemed football. All of the issues which have concerned fans and pundits since the beginning of training camp and throughout the preseason have simply been cemented. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Bears are who we thought they were. It can’t really be disappointing because it was somewhat expected, but it is discouraging because the Bears look no further developed and on their way to success than right after the sweet euphoria of Marc Trestman’s firing wore off.

Below the Bears preseason performance is broken down into 3 categories: The Good, The Bad and the What the @&#!? I think these categories are fairly self-explanatory. It’s somewhat difficult to properly analyze performances as snaps were limited for most, but without further ado…

The Good:

  • The Bears only generated 2 sacks and 6 tackles for loss in the game but the pressure put on Alex Smith and the other KC QBs was fairly consistent. The defensive line looked particuarly good. Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks and Mitch Unrein did a nice job of producing pressure on Alex Smith. Jonathan Bullard also put in another impressive display.
  • Although the Bears overall tally is not impressive at only 59 yards and 3.1 pards per carry, it does look like they should be able to run the ball. Despite continued talk of the Bears desiring to use a RBC approach, Jeremy Langford looks to be the best out of the backfield and should have at leats earned an opportunity to seize the job full-time. Langford is very good at spotting cut-back opporunities and bursting through the hole. He has also shown this preseason an increased ability to fight through first contact. The other RBs were consistent and the Bears should know what they’re going to get out of them.
  • After this game the starters look to be set, at least once everyone returns from injury. The Bears can now try to cement their rotations and get the starters more comfortable playing with each other and within the system. With so much roster turnover in the past couple of years continuity is a big deal for the Bears. The sooner the players and the coaches are able to get comfortable with each other the better.

The Bad:

  • After this game the starters look to be set, at least once everyone returns from injury. This is good for a number of reasons mentioned above, but it is also bad because it means all those players who received increased reps and opportunities due to injuries keeping many players out did nothing with that shot. Or at least not enough to change their standing (with the possible exception of the O-line). It does not appear roster battles have truly been impacted because no one seized the opportunity.
  • The offensive line does not look good. In this one game that may be a bit unfair as the Bears had to shuffle their O-line again due to the absence of Kyle Long, but the poor performance is becoming a theme. Coming into training camp offensive line was a big question mark. And with the possible exception of Bobby Massie none of the players brought in have looked that good. Cody Whitehair finally looked competent at LG, but Cornelius Edison didn’t do much with his starting chance and Ted Larsen look lost at both C and RG. Maybe a sliver of hope can be taken in that some of the backups look increasingly competent and may end up pushing some of the starters at some point during the season.
  • If expectations had not been sufficiently stamped for Kevin White, they should be now. For the third preseason game in a row he really didn’t do anything of note, with except for running the wrong route a number of times. His lack of impact may not be all his fault, he is effectively a rookie and the Bears are taking no advantage of his speed, but you want to see more. If White is going to develop into a viable second option opposite Alshon Jeffrey at some point this season that development needs to start very soon.
  • The receivers as a whole were bad. Some of the blame can be placed on the O-line who gave Jay Cutler very little time to throw. Some blame can be placed on Cutler who threw terrible passes on a few occasions. But the receivers were not good either. Jeffrey dropped what would have been the Bears’ biggest play of the night. And dropped another pass. White dropped passes. After an impressive showing last week the TEs were virtually invisible. When Cam Meredith is the most impressive WR there is a problem.
  • Finally, where are the rookies? Leonard Floyd did not play as a precaution. Nick Kwiatkoski hasn’t played yet. DeAndre Houston-Carson hasn’t done anything of note. Daniel Braverman caught a couple passes but he looks like maybe the 5th WR and doesn’t look to be in the mix for return duties anymore. The problems of Kevin White are detailed above. Deiondre’ Hall had another decent game and came up with an interception. He will probably be a backup outside at CB but he still has a lot of work to do on his technique before he is going to be trusted in a regular season game. Jonathan Bullard looks like the the only consistent contributor at this point. It’s too early to write anybody off but the returns have been thus far disappointing.
  • More injuries: Tracy Porter, Jonathan Andersen and Connor Shaw had to exit the game. Leonard Floyd dressed but did not play. Zach Miller and Eddie Royal were still out. Kyle Long is out. Pernell McPhee is out. Bryce Callahan and Deonte Thompson were also out.

What the @&#!?:

  • The 3rd preseason game is a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. In the first half of the game in which, for the most part, it was the Bears’ 1’s versus the Chiefs’ 1’s:

And that’s all that really needs to be said about that. The “dress rehearsal” can only be considered a disaster. If the first half was truly an indication of where the Bears’ competitive position compared to a playoff contender such as the Chiefs, it’s really sad. Where is the development? Where is the improvement? It’s not that they struggled it’s that they didn’t look like they had a chance.

And a horrifically inept offense filters down to all other phases of the game. The Chiefs ran over 40 plays in the first half. That’s like a Big-12 game. Some of that is on the defense who once again had trouble getting off the field, but they were on the field so much to begin with because the offense offered them no respite. A defense simply cannot be expected to stay effective if they’re on the field so much. Also, if the offense cannot throw the ball when they are on the field that negatively impacts the running game. Furthermore, if the Bears cannot move the ball when they do have it and the defense cannot stop the other team because they are tired, the Bears are inherently stuck with bad field position and Pat O’Donnell tries to boot the ball as far as he can, outkicking the coverage, resulting in good returns for the opposition. It’s all complimentary.

Some other Bears takes from the game:

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