I sat down to watch the Bears first preseason game expecting to be bored out of my mind. Surprisingly, I was not. I actually found the game quite entertaining and also very, very interesting. Here are my rapid fire thoughts, in order of importance.
- Even elite, top of the first round left tackles struggle their first year at the position. J’Marcus Webb clearly has the ability to succeed there but I have a feeling 2011 will be up-and-down. I’d imagine the Bears will slide protection schemes in his direction to minimize damage.
- Roberto Garza’s center exchanges were solid and he, like the rest of the line, had a great push in the run game. His pass protection? Shaky.
- I was surprised to see the defense play with such speed and intensity this early in the preseason. Three distinct standouts: Henry Melton, Major Wright, Tim Jennings.
- Amobi Okoye will have a terrific chance to make this roster, especially with Marcus Harrison looking like he spent the entirety of the lockout eating corned beef hash directly out of the can.
- Vernon Gholston played like Vernon Gholston but I was surprised to see the attention Rod Marinelli was giving him on the sideline.
- I may have overstated the importance of the Bears re-signing Corey Graham. He looked in no way capable of playing corner for this team.
- Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie give the Bears their best quarterback tandem since McMahon/Fuller. It’s clear from just what the cameras captured that Jay Cutler is taking a more active role in leading this team. (And Mel Kiper Jr. deserves credit for predicting Hanie would be a very successful pro.)
- Who the hell is Eddie Williams and can he go away now?
- Same for Josh Davis. Even on a team with a subpar offensive line, #76 took the cake.
- Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell both looked like elite downhill runners. I don’t know that the Bears will consider carrying four backs but I’d hate to see Bell drop to the practice squad and end up in the Lions or Packers backfield. Chester Taylor’s days may truly be numbered.
- I liked what I saw from Brian Iwuh.
- I did not like what I saw from Chris Conte. He’s small and Steltz-like.
- Kris Adams is smallish but might be a player worth developing at wide receiver. As most eyes were on Dane Sanzenbacher, it was Adams who stole the spotlight in the second half.
- Nathan Enderle displayed touch and poise throughout the second half. He’s very raw but the tools are there.
- Here’s something I read in between the lines: I think the Bears are going to combat some protection woes with a dynamic screen game in 2011. It was the most practiced play on the field Saturday night.
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