Drew Careys’ opening line on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” reminds me a lot of the NFL Pre-Season.
Welcome to ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’, the show where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.
On a night where the weather pushed the kickoff back by about 15 minutes, the Bears would fall to the Broncos 31-3. However in pre-season, how players perform is much more indicative of the teams’ performance than the scoreboard at the end of the game. If a team can have a couple guys show their skills in limited action without getting hurt, you can call that outing a success.
Were fans surprised by the quality of the field and players slipping? Not very. The Chicago Park District was to blame for the more than sloppy field conditions. Weather delayed the game but the park district removed the tarp safeguarding the field from the rain a little too early before kick-off. Field conditions were noted by the broadcasters for a handful of errant throws/falling on routes.
In limited action top picks DE Shea McClellin and WR Alshon Jeffery gave fans reason to be excited for the upcoming season. S Brandon Hardin also turned heads making a handful of plays. Outside of those 3, the lesser known guys who performed very well were WR Chris Summers and DT Nate Collins. It’s hard to draw observations from such a small sample size so hopefully these guys will get a lot more playing time in the coming pre-season games. Here are some notes and observations I jotted down during the game.
- Jay Cutler, Julius Peppers, Matt Forte, and Brian Urlacher were hold out of the game by Lovie Smith. They probably wouldn’t have seen much action since it was the 1st pre-season game. However, due to the sloppy field conditions, the risk of injury was much elevated. As excited as I was to see new father Jay Cutler take the field, I was also excited to see him not take the field.
- Peyton Manning did as many expected, moving the ball on the Bears defense on the opening drive of the game. Manning was 4/7 for 44 yards and 1 interception. Major Wright intercepted a pass off the tip by DJ Moore.
- Michael Bush didn’t do much outside of fumbling the ball on the Bears own 20 yard line. Which Von Miller recovered and took all the way down to the 6 yard line. Without Cutler in or the Bears showing their true hand offensively, it wasn’t surprising to see Denver stack the box.
- Run Blocking through-out the entire game was abysmal. The longest run of the day was 7 yards by Kahlil Bell.
- With :34 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Shea McClellin had a very impressive sack on Broncos QB Caleb Hanie. He combatted a double team and displayed incredible pursuit speed closing in on the scrambling Hanie. The crowd erupted in cheers.
- Seeing the Bears QBs in shotgun and allowed to call an audible at the line of scrimmage is very comforting after the Mike Martz experiment. I cannot wait to see Jay Cutler at the helm of this offense.
- Alshon Jeffery looks….GOOD. He caught 4 passes and was highly targeted. I can’t wait to see the 1-on-1′s he gets this season with Brandon Marshall on the field as well. This offense is going to be scary good. The only gripe on Jeffereys’ performance was his ability to separate at the line of scrimmage. If he can address this by the start of the season, watch…out.
- J’Marcus Webb actually didn’t perform all that bad. However, Mike Tice left him in the game a lot longer than the rest of the 1st team OL. That could be a message that he needs the reps. On the other hand Chris Spencer played very poorly.
- A lot of dropped interceptions defensively. 3-5 easy interceptions went through our hands. These are the plays that will make or break a game during the regular season. I expect the Bears to work a lot on this moving forward. A lot of the Denver scoring drives could have been prevented by catching an interception earlier in those drives.
- Safety Brandon Hardin had a great showing. He was always around the ball and gave off several big shots to ball carriers. Could he make a push for Marjor Wright’s job?
- On the topic of Major Wright, he came out of the game early with a hamstring injury. Wrights’ durability could be the reason Hardin gets more playing time. It doesn’t appear to be a major injury though.
- DE Corey Wootton was very impressive, he generated at least a little pressure on almost every play, and was very quick off the line. He’s making a strong bid to stick around on this team. (credit: Wakacha)
- Late in the 3rd quarter, 6’5” UDFA WR Chris Summers made an amazing leaping catch for 28 yards. Offensively this may have been the best highlight the Bears mustered up. Summers has emerged as the UDFA that people want to make the team much like Dane Sanzenbacher did last pre-season.
- DT Nate Collins had a very nice sack and on several plays got interior penetration thrusting the blockers facing him directly into the QB.
- Matt Blanchard looked good, if not better than Josh McCown did during his time playing.
- Peyton Manning has a very large forehead.