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

So how excited are you for more Zach Miller? Zach Miller is excited for more Zach Miller.

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  • The opening offensive series by the Eagles caused tempo problems immediately, as the Bears got used to burning timeouts early - we didn't have to wait for the first offensive series for a timeout. But the defensive line, after the first couple of plays, turned in a good effort, particularly Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff. It turned into a near interception by Lance Briggs and an actual interception by Ryan Mundy.
  • Early in the first couple of drives, the defensive line has shown pretty well. Trevor Scott forced inside to draw a holding penalty on Jason Peters. Willie Young helped force the Mundy interception. Guard Evan Mathis also had two holding penalties. What's good is that the unit was disruptive even without Jared Allen in uniform. We can only hope they build off this.
  • The deep ball to Alshon Jeffery still looks good, as does the Brandon Marshall one-handed catch. It's really a pleasure to watch Marshall and Jeffery.
  • The first tight end reception with Martellus Bennett out for the game goes to Dante Rosario. Maybe he's picked a couple things up since last season. It'd be nice to see him develop into something more. And then Zach Miller with the touchdown catch to cap the drive.
  • What surprises me, that really really shouldn't surprise me, is how comfortable Cutler looks in the second year of the offense. He made a couple really nice throws to Marshall and Jeffery, found Rosario a couple of times and Miller for the touchdown, and was accurate and decisive. Unless your name is Eric Weems, in which case, you got drilled in the back after an overthrow.
  • Shaun Draughn got the first backup running back reps.
  • Not even eleven minutes into the first quarter, ten flags hit the ground. I guess the offseason was a little long for the players too.
  • Robbie Gould had his first field goal attempt blocked. Well, they can't all be golden. The extra point added a little extra uncertainty, but Gould still nailed them.
  • The Eagles offense took a little while to get up and running themselves; on the third drive, when they weren't subject to first and thirty or getting drilled by the new look Bears defensive line, Nick Foles found Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek and starting handing the ball to Darren Sproles while Austen Lane came in.
  • As I'm typing that paragraph, Foles gets picked off by Sherrick McManis. Trevor Scott is really trying for a spot on this team, forcing the throw with pressure off the edge.
  • Jordan Palmer came in first for quarterback reps, and Chris Williams did a decent job adjusting to the flight path on Palmer's first ball, but just couldn't haul it in.
  • Joe Long had himself a rough first drive protecting Palmer, picking up a penalty and getting victimized on a sack. He picked up another holding penalty later on.
  • Adrian Wilson and Brock Vereen were in as the second team of safeties. The Eagles' first drive against them didn't really go anywhere. Their night in general has been a decent one - Vereen bounced off a hit but still completed the tackle, and Wilson's been making some solid hits and tackles.
  • Palmer threw a short slant to Josh Morgan for two or three yards. Morgan plowed through a couple Eagles defenders for a first down.
  • Zach Miller can juke some defenders. And then gets called for a false start.
  • Palmer got picked off on a deep throw to Chris Williams. He was pressured on the blind side and threw it up, and the safety was just right there to pick it off. He was nearly sacked again later through Joe Long.
  • On the Eagles' touchdown run, Ego Ferguson had the play, but a strong second effort kept Matthew Tucker upright just long enough to force into the end zone. Not sure how I feel about Mark Sanchez being able to take the Eagles down the field on the Bears' defense, though. Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin struggled on that series together.
  • The Eagles were showing an ability to hit targets in the intermediate spots between the linebackers and the safeties, and given the relative turnover in the latter position and the struggles and inexperience in the former, it gave the Bears some fits, especially in the first half.
  • Not sure who's had a worse game - Joe Long or Jordan Palmer.
  • Oh hey, I was getting used to not seeing running lanes the size of interstate highways. At least Adrian Wilson got off a block to finish the run. McClellin missed the pursuit and Tucker got loose. In other news, the Eagles really like Matthew Tucker.
  • Something to think about with McClellin:
  • Zach Miller keeps coming up. He can move around the field well enough, and a lot of his appearances are coming against second-stringers, but Palmer's been getting him the ball within a couple of steps and he's been making the plays in front of him - yards after the catch, tough catches, snatching balls out of the air, especially his second touchdown. Nothing much to complain about except the penalty from earlier.
  • Josh Huff had himself an interstate highway in a coverage gap as he sprinted for a 102-yard touchdown. Preseason lesson learned - fill gaps on special teams.
  • Speaking of special teams...
  • Not a good night for the Bears' punters, with Tress Way having two under 40 yards and O'Donnell adding his own. Way did have a 63-yarder wiped out by an illegal touching penalty. O'Donnell had another decent punt hit the front of the end zone... and get another five yards tacked on by yet another penalty.
  • Khaseem Greene found himself a fumble and ran it back to the ten. Good awareness. You think a certain play in last year's second Green Bay game hasn't been drilled into these guys? Also, I think at this point we should just use the field as a "home field advantage."
  • Special teams can allow a long touchdown, and then slam shut the door at the 6.
  • So Jordan Palmer versus Jimmy Clausen is a fun little competition. I'm not enthralled by Palmer's arm strength, but the extended handoff type throws are certain to be where they need to be. Clausen's got a little more playmaking ability than Palmer, and his arm adds more zip than Palmer does, but there's a reason he hasn't thrown an NFL pass in two years. That being said, Clausen seemed to warm up as the game went on, and he actually didn't look too bad.
  • Have you ever had that sinking feeling when something just seems too easy? That's the feeling I got when the Eagles chucked a soft screen to David Fluellen on a Bears blitz for a touchdown.
  • Chris Williams bobbled a throw from Clausen, but even the bobble didn't slow him down as he outran the Eagles' fourth round pick for a touchdown of his own - 73 yards. There's an opening at third receiver now, but Josh Morgan made an impression with his run after the catch too. Might have ran too fast, as he pulled his hamstring finishing off the play.
  • Speaking of special teams, a fumble on a punt return due to a miscommunication, and a block in the back penalty on another punt return early in the fourth quarter. Glad it's still only preseason.
  • Al Louis-Jean made a perfect read and boxed out the receiver to rack up the Bears' third interception of the night on a back-shoulder throw against the sideline.
  • Sinorice Perry looks better running the screen pass than he does in pass protection, if back to back plays in the third quarter are any indication.
  • I admit, I like seeing a quarterback see a running lane open in front of him, pick up a first down plus a little, and slide down. Even better was his touchdown throw to Michael Spurlock. Spurlock settled down in the middle of the field, and an easy recognition by Clausen and an open run lane for Spurlock.
  • I also wouldn't mind seeing more of that tight end in the flat on short red zone plays.
  • Cornelius Washington blew up a running play to take down Fluellen behind the line of scrimmage. In other 2013 Bears news, David Bass made an appearance with a sack.
  • David Fales' first play is a 41-yard completion to Josh Bellamy. Bellamy had to slow down a bit for it, but Fales can get the ball deep. Now ball placement on the second throw is another story, but still deep enough.
  • Fales' interception was one I've seen too many times in Madden - an attempted line drive throw above a linebacker only for the linebacker to leap up and snag it.
  • I realized I went through the entire thing and didn't mention first-round pick Kyle Fuller. He hit well and generally cleaned up his tackles (he made three on the night). He didn't really look out of place on the field.

Again, it's only the first preseason game, but there were a lot of plays made in this game and a lot of plays that might have made some early shakeups in the depth chart. What did you see that excited you about the 2014 season? What has you worried so far? I'll give some more of my impressions of the game later - and this is also a reminder that the game will be shown again at noon central time on NFL Network today.