Bears Vs. Chargers: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

Jonathan Daniel

The Bears "won" a preseason game in the same way you "win" a grade school competition - there's a winner, but everyone gets a participation award. That being said, we're going through our notes from last night's game to see who helped himself and who hurt his stock for roster-cut day, and other assorted minutiae.

  • I was willing to give Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer a chance. I gave up on them when they called Devin Hester "back" after his first return went 35 yards in a preseason game. ... Okay, to be fair... Their performance this game was meh. They started off very rough from the first series, Berman mixed up Shea McClellin with Cornelius Washington and Corey Wootton was confused for McClellin on separate plays, Berman isn't comfortable with knowing 90 guys on each roster and their play/color chemistry was off. That being said, the one game a year Berman does in preseason isn't an abomination to all things broadcasting - I actually found the gravelly-voiced-ESPN-staple to be quite suited for football play-by-play, and with more experience actually calling games he might actually have been pretty good. And Dilfer, despite being Dilfer, didn't Dilfer his way through the game, and actually had some salient football talking points.
  • Sack/FF allowed through the left side leads to a trifecta of run for a two-yard loss, six yard sack, and disgusted first-quarter timeout. That started to make me think this first-quarter timeout thing isn't just a coordinator thing, or maybe Cutler just likes calling it early if he sees something early he just doesn't like instead of a "communication breakdown."
  • Cutler's second and third plays turn into running around the pocket like someone forgetting they called an option run with the quarterback in NCAA '14. Not entirely sure what the plan was there; not even sure the ball went up.
  • The Bears' first touchdown series worked in much the same way as many offensive drives last season - heavy doses of Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte in the run game. This time, throw in a couple quick-drops and some solid offensive line play (!!). Kyle Long showcased himself pretty well on that drive as did Jermon Bushrod, and Cutler got the ball into the hands of his target quickly.
  • Still not sure I like Corvey Irvin ahead of Nate Collins. Decently sure I think Shea McClellin can hold his own across from Julius Peppers.
  • Corey Wootton blasted D.J. Fluker for a sack. Like, Fluker-didn't-have-a-chance blasted.
  • Jonathan Bostic, still a thing (but not his finest effort in the run game...). But James Anderson doesn't look bad either.
  • On Chris Conte's interception, Tim Jennings fell down and the receiver tripped over him, but Jennings is entitled to his turf if he claims it first. That fall allowed Conte a clear path to get to the ball.
  • On the next play, Cutler's interception, he had plenty of time in the pocket, but only locked in on Marshall. That doesn't work when Cutler was three-for-three on short passes to, yep, Marshall for a touchdown. The Chargers' linebacker picked up on it and was right there for the throw.
  • Shea McClellin abused the daylights out of Max Starks, the Chargers' LT, for a sack/forced fumble on Philip Rivers. Pure speed rush with enough power to just get around Starks and deliver a heavy hit. I have to admit, for as much as the Bears' defensive tackle depth scares me, the Bears currently look three-deep in ends that can do damage.
  • It's 1:39 left in the first quarter. Do you know where your other receivers outside of Brandon Marshall are?
  • Matt Forte touchdown run to the right side behind Jordan Mills, Kyle Long, and Martellus Bennett? More of that please. Funny how an offense looks a little better when it has an offensive line that's a step closer to competent.
  • Isaiah Frey's hit on the Chargers' returner in the end zone - it certainly was close, but for a guy in a tough competition for a roster spot, you have to love the effort to attempt to make a big play, and certainly a heads-up one.
  • Ryan Mathews was about to run through the line for a few yards. Wootton reached an arm out and said "No ya don't."
  • Let's just say this... We thought the Bears had offensive line problems? The Chargers' offensive line had me feeling a little sorry for Rivers. I don't like Rivers.
  • Not gonna lie, I saw #12 and completely forget Josh McCown was on the team, as I thought Caleb Hanie had just handed off to Michael Bush. Also, the first-team offensive line is still in the game, excepting for J'Marcus Webb on the left tackle position, who actually stood his guy up as McCown surveyed the field and got a two-yard pass to Bush.
  • The Chargers' special teams people (Keenan Allen, looking at you) make me sad, because catching the ball doesn't seem like it should be that hard. Note, it's probably harder than it looks, but Devin Hester makes that catch.
  • Is Josh McCown the highest-drafted pure backup in NFL history? Just curious, because I never recall that he was a third-round pick.
  • Oh look, Eric Weems caught a pass. So that's what a special teams receiver looks like.
  • Thanks, gamethread.
  • I dunno about you guys, but I kind of like the look of that Kyle Long kid overall - he can pull too.
  • Marc Trestman looks like an accountant when not being coachy or in a game, but in the game? Wow, he turns straight to angry/footbally. I'm not one to get into coaches' demeanor, but he gets rid of that "weird" look quick. I don't think we have to worry about any "lack-of-footballyness" tearing apart the Bears' locker room.
  • This just in, the Bears can still pounce on any balls dropped.
  • I hate it when a great play call and great execution is botched by a dropped ball. Looking at you, Tony Fiametta and Week-1-Fendi-Onobun. Don't make me angry.
  • 3:17 in the second quarter - the Bears got bit pretty hard with play action - the linebackers stepped up, the Chargers' receiver got right behind them for a good chunk of yardage.
  • Bostic kind of redeemed himself by blowing up a run play near the two-minute warning.
  • D.J. Fluker completely tips off a pass play by already being in a two-point stance stepping back as set. He might need to watch that and learn a consistent three-point stance or lower/more forward two-point. Pass/run? Generally, you can watch Fluker.
  • Zackary Bowman tipped a pass that was going to easily be a first down at the five. Combined with Frey's penalty for running out of bounds, we've got a competition on our hands.
  • JONATHAN BOSTIC DAMN NEAR KILT A MAN. That was a shot worthy of Danieal Manning circa 2010.
  • Josh Lenz's fumble might have cost him any chance of holding a roster spot, but he might not be a bad practice squad sneak. He had a nice punt return in the fourth for a few yards, however.
  • Bostic had started to pick up his play, but he got frozen on play action and the Chargers' tight end came in behind him - the freeze held Bostic from moving to his right, which would have put him right in place to knock the pass away at least. Bostic needs to keep a little better peripheral vision to see that he's the inside guy on the tight end in that situation so close to the end zone.
  • If Devin Hester is back on a thirty-five yard runback, Michael Ford has arrived for creating space and making it to the 5 of the Chargers. Unfortunately, he doesn't have Hester's breakaway speed.
  • I'm still convinced Michael Bush was an Olympic hurdler in a prior life. Note that in the third quarter of his second preseason game ever, Kyle Long is still playing and still clearing people out.
  • Terrence Toliver made a pretty nice play on special teams. Might be something to keep a quarter of an eye on.
  • Lance Briggs was speaking pretty candidly with Lisa Salters on the sideline in the third quarter; some pretty interesting stuff from him on the departure of Brian Urlacher and adapting to defense and leadership without him. Later, Dilfer and Berman discussed Urlacher still being willing to help out his former teammates with Tampa 2 pointers and his retirement. To be fair to ESPN and the national media, it may be hard for us to hear about the Urlacher storyline again and again and again, but they're broadcasting to a larger, national audience that may not be as hardwired to the Bears as some places/fans are, so they have to cover the larger storylines like that one. And I thought it was pretty appropriately handled in that light.
  • Bowman with another nice pass breakup.
  • It's been pretty hard to evaluate the receiving corps this round, but when the Bears are doing plenty of running behind the right side of the offensive line, and you're evaluating two young linemen (that might be pretty good), I guess you don't need to pass much.
  • One thing a lot of these third-stringers, including Khaseem Greene, need to do is finish. Can't let a running back get two yards at contact, then pick up four more bouncing off three would-be tacklers. Next play almost was a touchdown by one yard.
  • Sherrick McManis got victimized for giving up the inside slant in the end-zone. Funny how that happens.
  • I don't think we have to worry about Michael Ford not finishing running the ball. Both of his runbacks had some purpose at the end of them. But I do agree with Brad Biggs, Armando Allen brings a little more in blocking and special teams than Ford does. If the Bears can compensate elsewhere in that department, Ford gets an extra edge.
  • This gets me every time - If your pass-route takes you a yard or so shy of the first-down marker and you have your cover on you, why not extend the route at least to the first-down marker? At least give yourself a chance to extend the drive. Ford was down a yard shy of the marker, only.
  • Insert commentary on the Wave here. (twitch)
  • Beautiful punt block execution by J.T. Thomas. Hits the gap and aims for the path of the ball; very well done. Thomas is an interesting case come roster-cut time. I'm not sure with all the linebacking adjustments made this season he has a place on Mad Doctor Phil's roster (you're pretty sure they have five spots locked up, just a hunch...), but he'll stick on special teams somewhere. Might even be Chicago if they keep seven (Blake Costanzo as well).
  • I would have liked to see more passing. As much receiver competition as there is at the bottom of the roster, unless they're looking for run-blocking out of their receivers, they didn't see much. That being said, they did do some game-planning on this one, and the run game was pounding away at the Chargers, so the second half did feature a lot of Michael Ford - he got plenty of time to showcase himself, and didn't do a bad job.
  • Mike Willie's fourth-quarter touchdown was just a simple isolated screen; Tom Zbikowski over-pursued and Willie just got started and ran around him. Just a standard safety mistake in that situation.
  • I don't think Brittan Golden helped himself much - missed that he was targeted on one, the next one was a swing with his cover on top of him already.
  • I was encouraged by the Bears picking up 20 points in the first half. I'm not convinced the 2013 Chargers defense will be anything special especially with the injuries they've suffered, but being able to recover from a ridiculously bad clown-show of a first drive to put 20 on the board is something I think we'd take every time.
  • As well, pass-protection is going to be an adventure for San Diego, being worse in that category than the Bears last year (!!!) and adding a guy in D.J. Fluker that isn't going to make that part any better in 2013, but it's encouraging that the Bears' second and third ends (McClellin and Wootton) took advantage and picked up a sack each in their time. McClellin had a pretty solid and improved game, definitely encouraging.
  • I do think the linebackers slipped from their performance in week 1, Bostic particularly (boomstick-hit and all). Plenty to work on in regard to play action and watching receivers and tight ends get behind.
  • No Demontre Hurst sightings. Which is kind of eyebrow-raising, since we might not see much of him until week 4, with week 3 being the starters' time to shine. That might just be a bit of me thinking he wasn't bad in week 1.
  • How often do you get to work on a Hail Mary defense in the preseason?

Over 2100 words on a preseason game? What'd you notice? Who helped himself? Who hurt his stock heading into week 3?

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