Aug 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin (99) in action during the game against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
TGIP (Thank God its Preseason), because that was not the best looking performance we've seen. The offense was bland and stagnant, the defense allowed plenty of completions through the middle of the field before finally letting Xavier Omon average over five yards a carry at the end, and Major Wright couldn't even last a half before hurting himself. But if you're feeling underwhelmed by the game, take solace in the fact that our highly regarded first and second round draft picks did some pretty nice things out there. As far as first impressions go, that was pretty impressive. But, which rookie impressed you the most against the Broncos?
Shea McClellin's sack of Caleb Hanie was obviously going to be the highlight of his game, with the lowlight being him getting double-teamed and stood up at the goal line on the Broncos' first touchdown run. Shea did finish the game with three total tackles, a tackle for a loss, and two quarterback pressures, flashing some of the pass rushing ability that Phil Emery saw enough of to pick him #19 overall. His closing speed on the Hanie sack was particularly impressive, but also the tenacity to fight through blockers once Hanie broke out of the pocket, and the smarts to take a proper angle towards where Hanie was escaping to, was very good to see. He did struggle in the running game, allowing blockers to get underneath him and push him off the line, but remember, all we really need from McClellin this year is a pass rush specialist, and he showed that tonight.
The other rookie performance to highlight is Alshon Jeffery, who led the team with four catches and thirty-five receiving yards. In particular, I liked how he used his 6'3 frame to box defenders away from the ball, especially on his curl route reception from McCown. On a messy field (which he'll have to get used to at home), Jeffery planted his feet underneath him confidently (something Johnny Knox still hasn't learned) and hit his mark. Meanwhile McCown hadn't released the ball yet, meaning Jeffery had to wait a split second for the ball to come to him, allowing the defender to close the gap between him and Jeffery. But, Jeffery had good body position, so when he left his feet to grab the ball (catching it with his body in the numbers, which was a nice touch) the defender had no chance to make a play.
So those were my two highlights from watching the rookies play in their first game. What did you see from the rookies that you liked/disliked? Anyone impress you more than Jeffery or McClellin? Anyone seal their fate already with a visit from the Turk?