The first thing on my mind following tonight’s game was that the defense looked like swiss cheese once again. Granted, they didn’t game plan for the Browns nor did they scheme to put much of any pressure on the quarterback, but they yet again missed tackles and assignments, particularly Kevin Payne who missed both a tackle and was responsible for giving up a Browns’ touchdown.
Is it just me, or did the Bears just seem to not want to be out there? In all seriousness, they probably didn’t, and you can’t really blame them. The defense is a veteran group who just wanted to get the preseason over without any injuries. Mission accomplished. But they still have too much work with too little time before next Sunday’s season opener in Indianapolis. I thought the defensive reserves played well for most of the second half, although it may have just been that the Browns’ backups played poorly on offense.
On offense, Kyle Orton played fairly well despite throwing his first interception of the preseason. Rex Grossman also played solid, capping off a nice drive with a touchdown pass to Brandon Rideau. And Caleb Hanie looked impressive in the first half while evading pass rushes and completing a string of five in a row to Mark Bradley — six, if you count the touchdown pass that was nullified by a holding penalty. He did telegraph an interception in the second half, though.
On special teams, the coverage teams looked better, but still need work. Robbie Gould nailed a 48-yard field goal to close the first half. And I liked Danieal Manning’s early game kick return. I still saw too much Garrett Wolfe in the return game for my liking.
As it pertains to the roster cutdown coming up on Saturday, I thought three players — Hanie, Wolfe, and Bradley — played well enough to make Lovie Smith’s job tough. Do the Bears keep three quarterbacks on the active roster? If they risk cutting Hanie, there’s a chance he’ll be picked up by another team and won’t make it to the Bears’ practice squad. And do they keep four running backs and six wide receivers when they’re leaving an open spot for Chris Williams?
Tough decisions are ahead.