There were a lot of things to be proud of while watching the Bears preseason game against the Seahawks Saturday night, but still enough nuances to irk me. For instance, the defense played much better than they did during the opening drive of the Chiefs game last week, but there are still too many missed tackles. As a whole, I was happy with what I saw from the defense, particularly players on the second unit such as Marcus Harrison, Jamar Williams, and Corey Graham. I was not happy with how the third stringers played at the end of the game, but their sad performances were to be expected. Most of them will be cut or will wind up on the practice squad.
As for the offense, Rex Grossman didn’t have much to work with to open the game as the offense was backed into a corner on their own side of the field for much of the first half. I agree with Tom Thayer, who said Grossman threw the ball well tonight, but whether it was his interception — caused by no blocking from John Tait — or his inability to help move the ball down the field, it looks almost certain now that the coaching staff has made up their minds and will likely go with Orton to start the season opener in Indianapolis. A good indication of that was that Orton only got a few series in the second quarter and Caleb Hanie played the whole second half. If Orton was still battling for the starting job, he would have gotten more snaps than he did tonight. The job appears to be his.
Finally, special teams need a lot of work. Sure, Earl Bennett returned a punt for a touchdown and the punt block team managed to come up with two big blocks. But the coverage was horrendous, Brad Maynard struggled for much of the night, and Robbie Gould played perhaps his worst game as a Bear. He had just two good kickoffs the whole night as the rest of them were either short or low line drives. And, he missed the potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.
To be honest, I felt more encouraged after last week’s loss than I do tonight, with the exception of the first string defense. I think tonight will be a good indicator about what we’ll see from the Bears this season. Solid defense and good return teams, but poor offense and shaky coverage teams.
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