Before I really get started, we need to look at the "Preseason doesn't matter" lens that we look at these things through. No, the games don't count in the standings, the teams may not be doing much gameplanning or scheming or anything of that nature... but that doesn't mean you want preseason games to look like they did yesterday. At the least, you want the visual confirmation that what the team thought they did in the offseason was really what they did. So the numbers themselves aren't all that important, but when they're as bad as they were yesterday:
- Outgained in total yardage 378 to 223
- Outgained in passing yardage 298 to 164
- Gained less first downs in total (15) than the Chiefs gained through the air (16)
- Out-possessed 37:10 to 22:50
That is not what we like to call a pretty outing. The Chiefs found short, dink and dunk openings all day long against a defensive backfield that was playing soft coverage (playing safe and conservative for young players or to provide opportunities for takeaways? You decide!) and refused to give the ball away but once. The Bears did a decent job preventing long run plays until they lost track of Alex Smith in the backfield and he scampered away for 17 yards.
That's fine, honestly. You don't mind teachable tape happening in the preseason. You mind when the whole game is a teachable tape.
We do need to mention the Bears missed several key players (Kyle Long, Leonard Floyd, Kyle Fuller), lost another to a concussion (Tracy Porter), later lost Jonathan Anderson, and then lost a guy who was making a strong push for an increased backup role in Connor Shaw. That may have had a hand in how the Bears approached this game, but still. There's one more game, in which we probably won't see any starters, but then things finally matter. And who knows, somebody may make a late push for a backup role on Thursday.
For now, let's hit some bullets.
- Right now, Kevin White is probably not a starting receiver. One reception for three yards and a pretty bad drop is not exactly endearing. White has tools, but needs to show some flashes - although his next opportunity may not be until games start.
- Not getting any slack are Alshon Jeffery and Jay Cutler - the former of which had a couple of very easy drops in his hands, the latter made a couple of good throws but on the whole had a rough day. I don't blame him for being visibly frustrated though - if the ball is in the receiver's hands, the receiver has to reel it in. I do think the offensive line made Cutler's day worse than it was (the sacks plus another two scrambles to avoid being sacked) but it still wasn't particularly good.
- Side note: Would it bother you if White started the year as the 4th receiver, with a starting trio of Jeffery, Marc Mariani in the slot, and Josh Bellamy or Cameron Meredith second on the outside? And how do you feel about BJ Daniels, who handled return duties yesterday? 7th-round pick Daniel Braverman had two grabs, but a receiving group of Jeffery/White/Mariani/Bellamy/Meredith/Daniels as PR/KR might offer a little more gameday utility, especially if Braverman manages to make it to the practice squad.
- Mentioned in yesterday's postgame livestream but wanted to mention here: It's possible Long's absence is hurting Bobby Massie's play, in that instead of having two solid run-blockers on the right side, now it's Ted Larsen shifted over (Cornelius Edison at center, and hoo boy, that's an adventure) who struggled pretty mightily. Without Long, the Bears don't have their designed run-dominant right side, and that's showing up hard in the run game numbers. The Bears don't have their "go-to" tool to build things off of, and that doesn't help open up much of anything else.
- Speaking of rough offensive linemen, Cody Whitehair will eventually be fine, but for a guy that was largely billed as day-one ready, "eventually" is a luxury the Bears' can't afford right now. Also, it's nice we aren't talking about Charles Leno, who quietly has played some solid football this preseason.
- Re-rack the TE and FB discussion - do either Khari Lee or Paul Lasike make the team? Rob Housler only had one grab yesterday and the Bears don't need three receiving tight ends, but hey, a 17-yarder is a 17-yarder.
- Okay, I'm not the "punch a guy in the mouth" "play harder hit harder" guy, but I do like seeing the team credited with 7 quarterback hits. Not because they're hitting a guy, possibly unnecessarily with a helmet (Mitch Unrein, looking at you), but because they were getting after the quarterback. I thought the front seven looked okay (not great, but okay) against a unit getting the ball out very quickly and handing off quickly, there isn't much to do against that. Unrein did flush Smith out of the pocket and Akiem Hicks made a really nice tackle to bring him down. Jonathan Bullard registered the team's other sack, which, I think the kid can play a little football.
- So how does Unrein get flagged for helmet-to-helmet, but when a Chiefs' player makes the same hit, it doesn't get the same call?
- Do you feel comfortable with the idea of Jacoby Glenn as starting defensive back? I don't feel comfortable with the idea of Glenn as starting defensive back but with Fuller and possibly Porter out for a time, Glenn may be the first one up for that spot. Deiondre' Hall was in deep coverage on Tyreek Hill's 58-yard comeback completion, and those last two words probably tell you everything you need to know about that - Hall could have been flagged for PI had Hill not caught the throw, but Hill kind of shrugged him off anyway. Of course, Deiondre' Hall would have the game's lone interception on a deflection off the receiver's hands and snared out of the air.
- Cornelius Washington just can't stay healthy, which is a shame - he had himself a decent preseason when he was on the field.
- The Connor Shaw injury sucks. He wasn't going to be a starter this year, but Brian Hoyer probably only has the #2 role because of his "Veteran quarterback who made a few starts" status and not much else, and Shaw was pushing hard to take that spot. I'd wager he realistically could have earned a look, especially if he had the one more preseason game to show his stuff.
Same play as earlier, a defender helmet to helmet hit on a QB, but Cutler doesn't get the call. pic.twitter.com/w4PraYqQs0— Lester A Wiltfong Jr (@wiltfongjr) August 27, 2016
Not really sure what more there is to say about this one. The Bears were bad. They looked bad. But in all honesty, preseason really doesn't move the needle about how you feel about your team. If there's a time to be bad, preseason is that time.
What captured your eye from yesterday's noon start?