The Chicago Bears hope the team that took the field in Saturday’s lackluster effort against Cincinnati isn’t the same one that hosts defending NFC North champion Green Bay on September 13 at Soldier Field. The Bears, minus their three top receivers and plagued by minor injuries, appeared lethargic and uninspired in a ho-hum 21-10 loss to the Bengals.
More revealing than the final of an exhibition contest, is a troubling feeling that more concerns have arisen since training camp began. Issues at tackle gave QB Jay Cutler little time to throw and have reared their ugly head throughout the preseason. Right tackle, with neither Jordan Mills or Charles Leno Jr. establishing themselves as a starter, was a well-known fact entering camp. However, veteran Jermon Bushrod’s play continues to fall off after an injury-plagued 2014. Bushrod, who has experienced off-on back problems through the preseason, appears slower out of his stance and has been beaten with surprising regularity. If the Bears expect to develop a ground-oriented run attack that will eat clock and keep their defense off the field, they simply must have better play at tackle.
Chicago Bears head coach John Fox knows his new club isn’t where they need to be. But after a 23-11 preseason win over a top AFC contender in Indianapolis, Fox says the Bears are moving in the right direction.”I thought we made progress tonight in really all phases, by no means have we arrived. If we can keep that mindset, I think we’ll continue to improve.”
The Bears employed a ball-control rushing attack to control clock offensively and won the turnover battle in limiting the homestanding Colts to a pair of scores.
Fox challenged both his first-team offense and defense after last week’s shaky outing against Miami. “Obviously, I didn’t like the way we started a week ago. We let them off the hook a couple times with some mistakes. We still had mistakes tonight. But I think we ended up plus-one in the turnover ratio and that always is helpful. I thought our kicking game did a good job of changing field position. I thought the kicking game was solid as far as the scoring opportunities. Those are some things I saw that were better. “
After spending most of the week in Central Indiana scrimmaging against the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears will begin to learn a little bit more about themselves after playing the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in preseason game number two.
Here are three things to watch as the Bears look to improve from last week’s first-team effort:
1. The play of second-year OT Charles Leno Jr. He gets the start at right tackle ahead of Jordan Mills. Leno Jr. appears to have the confidence of the coaching staff and with a solid effort against the Colts, could earn the job over the mistake-prone Mills. READ MORE