Mike Glennon is not on pace for the worst year in NFL history:
Glennon had a bad game. He didn’t look confident. He didn’t make good reads. He didn’t throw with good timing or good accuracy. And the results were poor. This doesn’t mean Glennon will have a bad season. I watched all of his pre-season games last year and the first was certainly his worst. If Glennon is going to have a good year, it will have to start with mental toughness. He’s not going to hear anything encouraging between now and the next preseason game, but he’s going to have to go out there with more confidence. I’m still rooting for him.
The starting defense looked good. So did the depth:
When Leonard Floyd sacked Trevor Siemian on the first defensive snap, I was ready to take that as a win for game one. But the defense didn’t stop giving reasons for encouragement, playing well against Denver’s starters. The only successful drive of Denver’s starting offense seemed to consist of at least as many penalty yards as actual offensive yards (not actually calculated).
The front seven looked strong, and Jonathan Bullard showed up for a crucial backfield tackle on third and one. Nick Kwiatkoski was quietly effective and seemed to be at the ball at the end of every play even if he wasn’t the one who made the tackle. The secondary didn’t stand out as particularly good or bad, but they had tight coverage and didn’t make big mistakes. Still waiting for that takeaway!
While preseason scores don’t mean much, it means something that the defense only allowed three points in the first three quarters (the remaining 7 of the 10 first half points was due to a Glennon whoopsie on the offensive side). The extended dominance of the defense late into the game speaks to the quality of the depth on the Bears defense and is refreshing to see after having to delve so deep into that pool last year.
Some Disappointments in areas of strength:
The first team interior offensive line (admittedly with Tom Compton filling in for Kyle Long) wasn’t able to make good holes against Denver’s D line. On one particularly disappointing series, Jordan Howard ran into a wall for a one yard gain, followed by a botched snap from Cody Whitehair. I expect this unit to figure it out by the team regular season comes, but it was not pretty tonight.
The tight ends also failed to show up despite glowing reviews throughout training camp. Shaheen didn’t show up much and had a drop and a play where he tripped over himself on a route. Daniel Brown failed to bring in what would have been Trubisky’s second touchdown pass. For the most part, the position was absent for the important plays of the night.
Tarik Cohen belongs in the NFL
Cohen was the only real highlight of the Bears first team offense. He showed great speed and vision and the toughness to run through the middle if necessary. As I predicted, he did not melt the first time he was tackled. If you think about it, tackles should affect him less because he doesn’t have to go down as far. His box score showed 7 runs for 39 yards and I believe all of them were against the first team defense. This beats Christian McCaffrey’s opening stat line and averages over 5.5 yards per carry.
Player’s who improved their chances of making the team:
Ka’Deem Carey played well on offense and showed up on special teams, bringing down the punt returner at least once with an impressive tackle. I’m wishing I hadn’t dropped him from my 53 man roster prediction.
Benny Cunningham looked good as a runner and receiver with the second and third team. His stat line actually beat out Cohens, but against weaker competition.
C.J. Wilson was the first to come in after Eddie Goldman and did a good job holding the nose and stopping the run.
Deonte Thompson made some good plays on offense and showed chemistry with Mitchell Trubisky, but he looks to be losing his job as a returner to some combination of Cohen Jackson and Cunningham, so I don’t think he really changed his chances tonight.
Mitchell Trubisky scares me:
The Bears have something good at quarterback. This is new and confusing and I’m terrified it will be taken away somehow. He looked poised and confident and his accuracy and athleticism were undeniable as he led two touchdown drives to start his NFL career. Apparently it’s possible for a player to be good even if he only had thirteen college starts. I had heard tales of Trubisky rolling right and dropping dimes in training camp, and he delivered on the rumors tonight.
It’s a nice feeling to see your quarterback rolling right without the receivers in view and feel confident that he’s about throw a completion. Gahhhhhhh. Excitement. Biscuit Biscuit Biscuit Biscuit Biscuit Biscuit Biscuit.