I try to remain even-keeled and level-headed with most things I write for this site. There are almost always silver linings in anything and all it takes is a little digging to find something positive.
With that said though, the Bears got pretty much shutdown by a playoff team Saturday, which is fine. First off it is still the preseason and this is a team that is still trying to find its way and adjust to new schemes. Second, this Bears team isn't anywhere near a playoff team, even one like Cincinnati, which hasn't won a playoff game since the first Bush administration. The fact is that at this point in the preseason the Bears shouldn't be expected to be hanging with playoff caliber teams.
Lastly, I don't think that the Bears are as bad as they played on Saturday. The absence of pretty much every wide receiver of note was certainly noticeable and contributed to the 18 percent third down efficiency. The Bears have a long way to go, but they should get healthier in the two weeks before they face Green Bay.
Let's take a look at a few of the good and the bad from Saturday that jumped out to me.
-The run defense actually looked pretty good. The front seven looked very competent, managing to hold a good Bengals stable to 3.7 yards per carry. I saw few moments where ILBs Shea McClellin and Christian Jones were not in their gaps. Jeremy Hill's biggest gain: a 26-yard run, came when the Bengals perfectly blocked the Bears and Hill was immediately free into Chicago's secondary.
-Speaking of the defensive line, I actually kind of like their depth. Granted we don't know the final numbers or anything, but I like the inside depth in particular; Brandon Dunn has made some plays, Will Sutton looks better in a 3-4 than anyone might have ever envisioned and Eddie Goldman continues to carve in a niche.
-They managed to escape pretty healthy. Yes Jeremiah Ratliff injured his ankle but he will have some games to rest it regardless of its severity and Goldman received a concussion but will hopefully have plenty of time to get through protocol before week 1. The other injuries were to fringe players, other than Tracy Porter, who didn't impress me at all but with the release of Tim Jennings, must be in the running for a final roster slot.
-Last season's free agent acquisitions Lamarr Houston and Willie Young seem to be working their way back to their old selves. Houston had a sack and had another play were he was about a half step from bring a scrambling A.J. McCarron down and another time where he was about a fingertip away from a second sack. Young looked better when his hand was on the ground but he also had a couple of "almost" sacks. Close counts in horseshoes, but just the nature of the injuries they suffered makes their play Saturday that much better.
-Special teams looked good again. This unit, at least through the preseason, could make us quickly forget the Joe DeCamillis era.
-Pass defense. Whoa, I'm getting really concerned about the back end of this defense. Tim Jennings hasn't played very well all summer and now he's gone. There is a lot of inexperience and mediocrity back there with Terrence Mitchell, Alan Ball (93 career games, six INTs), Sherrick McManis and Porter. The Bengals first two QBs did not have an incomplete pass until there was 12:12 left in the third quarter.
- Specifically in pass coverage, I thought the linebackers were particularly bad. I realize the Bengals have a lot of weapons and that LBs are automatically a mismatch in most cases against tight ends like Tyler Eifert but it seemed like to me that any time a LB was going into coverage on a Bengal TE, WR or RB, the QB was picking on that match up. Again, that is often the case, but the LBs were for the most part not even able to contest most of those throws.
-The offensive line once again struggled. I kept a close eye on Charles Leno and he was once again abysmal. I optimistically watched for Jordan Mills to enter the game look way improved, but again, no dice. This is going to be an issue throughout the season and the RT spot is climbing up to the top of the early need lists for next offseason. Jermon Bushrod also looked bad at times as well.
Those were the big ones to me, what were some of the things you took from the game?