The Bears passing game made good progress in the 3rd preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. Here are my observations of the overall passing game from last Saturday game in Nashville.
Based off the past two preseason games, I can see why OC Mike Martz is giddy about Jay Cutler. Last Saturday night the quarterback displayed great pocket awareness, and just simply looked comfortable in the offense. You can see out there on the field that he's embracing the leadership role for this offense.
You can tell that Jay was trying to build a good rapport with Roy Williams out there last Saturday night. First play from scrimmage a 5 route (post corner route) off play action for 16 yards. That was pretty much Roy best play of the game because the rest was pretty much blah. I thought he had a legit gripe about the DB possibly committing pass interference on the interception, but at the same time he had a good enough shot to still come up with the catch. I'm not going to get completely down on Roy because it's pretty obvious that he and Jay need more time to get in sync with each other.
Watching the game closely, I could see why the coaches and Jay was glowing about Devin Hester in camp. He's a much improved route runner compared to previous season and like Jay said, he's not thinking out there, but instead letting his instincts take over. The concern with Hester so far in preseason has been what his strong suit was last season which is his hands. That's something needs to improve going into the season opener against the Falcons.
I have to agree with 670 the score beat reporter Lawrence Holmes about Knox fumbling an opportunity to capitalize on Roy's shortcomings. I honestly feel that if he would have brought in that catch cleanly on that out route, Roy leash would have been cut shorter. Now it looks like Knox will only be used sparely instead of full-time this season unless Roy struggles mightily.
The Slot Receivers Earl Bennett and Dane Sanzenbacher
I thought both guys played very well especially Earl Bennett who he and Jay gave the Titans announcers flashbacks of that Vandy connection. You also have to like how Martz was using Bennett as he moved Bennett at times in the game outside at the Flanker. I don't think it is too farfetched that Bennett could catch 60 to 70 balls this season and become the Bears first 1000 yard receiver since Marty Booker. Dane seen action with the ones also specifically in 4 WR sets and came up with a 1st down on 3rd and 10. You can see that Jay also has confidence in Sanzenbacher and it's only a matter of time before he builds a connection with Jay before the end of the season (Yes I believe he will make the team).
The pass protections deliver another solid performance against a tough Tennessee defensive front. Jay had a clean pocket to step in for most of the half on top of having time to look through his progression and deliver the football. The backs did a good job in blitz pick-up and TE's did a good job sustaining blocks whether they was helping the Tackles or one on one against the DE. This allowed Martz to run more 3 and 4 WR formations; giving Jay more weapons to work with out there.