In typical preseason style, this game was a total stinker. Tough to watch if you follow the ball exclusively. When you watch these preseason games, the best thing to do is watch the interior guys; the camera will take you to the ball eventually.
Stinker or not, there were quite a few guys who stood out last night. So, what did we learn?
Offensive line still sucks: Wow. That’s all I can say. So much for that myth that the Martz-less system will make this group better. J'Marcus Webb still can't block. He is possibly the slowest left tackle I’ve ever seen. The still-in-his-stance fan club (stole that from Dominique) needs to wake up and realize this guy is the worst left tackle in football.
Tice left Webb out there until there were nine minutes left in the game. There was even a time where Webb got a chip on Ayers from the running back, and Webb STILL let Ayers blow right buy him. Oh my, Webb how are you in the National Football League? Please Phil Emery, put this guy out of our misery. ANYONE is better.
Chris Spencer didn't look good on the inside either. The left side of the line got pushed around a lot, while failing to do any pushing of their own. Oh (almost forgot), J'Marcus Webb didn't wait too long to have his first false start of the season.
Run blocking: This was even more alarming. There was nothing going on here. No holes to run through, and there was absolutely no push by the guys up front. It was a big road block for the running backs. Absolutely dreadful.
Peppers Effect: So we finally got to see what this defensive line looks like without Peppers. WOWZA, they are rough. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a roller ball team, or a defensive line. Outside of the Corey Wootton pressures on the last few plays of the first drive, there was nothing.
Manning looked like vintage Peyton Manning with that offensive line. I thought this was an old school Colts game for a second. Corey Wootton was the only one to do something occasionally. He needs more playing time, especially once Peppers is on the field.
Shea McClellin passes his first test: After a lackluster training camp so far, McClellin did what myself and some others were thinking. He shows up when the games are real. He recorded a sack on Caleb Hanie on the first or second play of his career. That will make you a hit with Bears fans, especially because it was Caleb Hanie.
I’m not overreacting here, just making a simple comparison in my next sentence: McClellin almost looked like young Urlacher with the closing speed he displayed a few times. Take it easy, don't slam me. I'm simply comparing the quick glimpse of speed we saw.
Some things he has to work on is playing with a lower pad level and showing better strength at the point of attack. Against the run, he has to get stronger and has to get his pads lower until he does so. He gets pushed around on run plays because of that. McClellin also has to develop a counter move. He has the dip and rip, and can do so well, but if that's all he has, then he’s a one-trick-pony like Mark Anderson. Impressive for a rookie in his first game.
Alshon Jeffery: The WR was targeted a lot last night. He was everything many figured he would be; a big bodied receiver able to use his size to his benefit. Jeffery has to get better with his hands when pressed. He is strong enough to do things like Brandon Marshall does vs. the press, and what a great to guy to learn from.
This is what I expected out of a rookie in his first game ever. You would like to see Jeffery come back to the ball better. He needs to sharpen that up a bit. But overall, I thought he had a good outing last night. I would like to see Jeffery get as much playing time as possible.
JT Thomas: After missing last season on injured reserve, JT was all over the place last night. Everytime I looked at my TV, Thomas was somewhere around the ball. There was the one play where he dropped into coverage and to my eyes, displayed good hip movement in coverage, which resulted in breaking up a pass by tipping the ball. Curious to see more out of this kid the rest of this preseason. I liked everything I saw.
Some other names worth mentioning are Nate Collins, and Cheta Ozougwu.
None of my concerns coming into this season, are put to rest after last night. Without Peppers, the defensive line sucks. The offensive line is completely awful. I can’t imagine Jay Cutler feeling pleased after that performance last night. Mike Tice should hopefully be making their lives miserable this week at practice. Especially for Webb.
Filed under: Post Game Report