Thoughts and observations after watching the Chicago Bears jump out to a 11-0 lead in New England before the Patriots came back to win 23-22 in Thursday’s second exhibition game in Foxboro.
1. The Bears first-string offense, led by sharp play by QB Jay Cutler, displayed marked improvement over last week’s lackluster showing in the preseason opener. Cutler engineered a ball-control, short-passing game to perfection that netted two long drives for scores and would have had another albeit for some untimely penalties.
WR Alshon Jeffery and RB Jeremy Langford enjoyed successful evenings as well. Jeffery hauled in a 30-yard completion from Cutler and Langford ripped off 55-yards on 8 carries, including a touchdown and an impressive 34-yard scamper that showcased his vision and strength.
1. Not ready for primetime….Much was made of the Bears retooled defense, but familiar problems reared their ugly head on the game’s opening possession. Denver drove76-yards for a touchdown, converting on third down three times, and eventually scoring on a blown coverage.
While many players on the unit are new, Chicago failed to generate consistent pressure and couldn’t get off the field on third down. The secondary appears particularly vulnerable, a concern all offseason.
2. The offensive line has issues…The loss of Center Hroniss Grasu for the season was the first domino to fall, but in Thursday’s exhibition, the Bears failed to execute simple blocking schemes and couldn’t pick up Denver’s blitzers at anytime during the evening, no ma0er if it was the starters or the backups. READ MORE
As the Chicago Bears prepare to kick off the 2016 NFL preseason at Soldier Field Thursday against the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, here are three things to keep an eye on:
1. Do the Bears finish the game healthy? The Bears have been victimized throughout training camp with a variety of bumps and bruises that limited starters Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, Zach Miller, and initially at the beginning of camp, Kyle Long as well. Most of the injuries aren’t expected to impact the club in the regular season, but the loss of valuable practice time, especially on offense, could be detrimental.Center Hroniss Grasu was lost for the year during last Saturday’s fan fest, while OLB Pernell McPhee, has yet to suit up due to a lingering recovery from offseason knee surgery.