The Chicago Bears take on the Cincinnati Bengals at 6 p.m. CT tonight in the first official week of the preseason. While this game marks the first game of the Bengals’ season, the Bears already have a game under their belt.
Chicago fell to Cincinnati’s AFC North foe, the Baltimore Ravens, in a 17-16 showdown at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The team was overall solid, with several players putting together very good outings.
However, not everyone was able to turn some heads last week. These three players are among those who will need to step it up when they take the field against the Bengals.
RB Ryan Nall
Throughout the offseason, many thought of Ryan Nall as one of the best undrafted free agent signings that the Bears made this year. Nall shined during training camp, further cementing that claim, but his outing against the Ravens did not back up the hype.
Nall ran for just 13 yards on seven carries, ending his night with a measly 1.9 yards per carry. Although he has never been a burner by any means, his burst was lacking and his hips looked stiff. It didn’t help that his ball-carrier vision wasn’t all that impressive, either.
Nall still has plenty of time to turn himself around, and his talent will surely at least make the Bears consider him for the 53-man roster. If he wants to make it, though, then he can’t afford to have another preseason outing like he did in the Hall of Fame Game.
OT Bradley Sowell
Bradley Sowell’s spot on the Bears’ 53-man roster seems to be relatively safe, as he was on the team last year and has NFL experience. However, his performance last week was not reflective of that of any team’s top swing tackle.
Sowell simply got beat on a consistent basis against the Ravens. His feet were slow, allowing edge rushers to fly right past him. Considering the fact that he’s in line to serve as Chicago’s backup left tackle, that’s especially worrying. He also lacked a powerful punch to throw defenders off balance.
Sowell’s roster spot may seem safe for the time being, but his spot as the Bears’ swing tackle may not be. As crazy as it sounds, Rashaad Coward could potentially make it onto the roster, and he carries much more upside than Sowell does. Although such a situation is unlikely, the former Seattle Seahawks tackle needs to rebound tonight to make sure that he doesn’t losing out on playing time in the regular season.
OT Brandon Greene
Sowell isn’t the only offensive tackle who stood out in a negative way last week. Brandon Greene also had his fair share of bad plays against a deep Ravens pass-rushing unit.
Like Sowell, Greene showed a lack of lateral quickness that allowed him to be blown by off the edge. The former Alabama lineman failed to stand out against Baltimore’s backups, which doesn’t bode well for him going forward.
Greene was a member of the Bears’ practice squad last season, but he faces a lot of competition to make it this year. Rashaad Coward and Dejon Allen both figure to be candidates for such a role if they miss out on the 53-man roster, and both have higher ceilings than Greene. The active roster is essentially out of the question for him, but his performances going forward are to secure a spot within the organization going forward.
Jacob Infante is a Chicago Bears writer at SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron. He is also an NFL Draft writer at USA Today SMG’s Draft Wire. He can be reached through Twitter @jacobinfante24 or emailed at email@example.com.