You know its baseball season in Chicago when we start getting excited to watch Bears Pre-Season games. With the dust settled from the crazy NBA free agency period, I am ready to dive headfirst into Bears football. And there is a lot to watch for the Bears entering their second season under Marc Trestman. So let’s take a look at the good, the bad and what I’d like to see in Friday’s pre-season game against Seattle.
So far the first team offense has looked really good. It is the best quarterback Jay Cutler has looked and the offensive line, even without Jordan Mills, has given Cutler all the time in the world in the pocket. Cutler looks really comfortable in the system and doesn’t appear to be forcing anything. I love the very recent addition of wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who is a low-risk signing at the league minimum, but could be a huge upgrade as a number three receiver. We haven’t seen much from Matt Forte, but, if the Bears can take another step forward from last season, this offense could be one of the best in the NFL.
The defense was historically bad last year and so far I have not seen any signs of that changing. Granted, it is only the pre-season and the Bears are a team with a lot of veteran players who understand not to go all-out and avoid injury before the season starts, but I feel like we should have seen more improvement than we have. Last week they let the Jacksonville offense do whatever they wanted drive after drive. The middle of the field still appears to be a huge hole and they are still not getting to the quarterback, even with the additions of Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston to the line.
The safety position is still a big question mark and with Kyle Fuller tweaking his ankle, we really haven’t gotten a chance to see what he can do yet. The special teams appear to be an issue again too. Coaches have underplayed the problems, citing a lot of new pieces learning the system, but it cannot be denied that the Bears still have big issues in that phase of the game outside of kicker Robbie Gould. Luckily, the offense is good, but it would be better if they can start with a shorter field and put less pressure on the defense.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
In this third pre-season game with the starters going three quarters, I want to see multiple quality scoring drives from the offense. I want to see them avoid third and long situations and I want to see more from Matt Forte in the run game. I’d like to see what Holmes can do if they can get him up to speed and see if he clicks with Cutler and this offense.
I need to see the defense prove they can get stops, and what better way to do it than up against the Super Bowl champs. If they can get to Russell Wilson a few times or at least pressure him and limit the run, I’ll be really happy. And close those gaps over the middle of the field – I need to see more from the linebackers this week. We should see safety Chris Conte for the first time this week and he has a lot to prove to everyone.
No big lapses from special teams. No big returns given up and better protection for whoever they have back there returning kicks and punts, whether it’s newly signed return specialist Darius Reynaud or someone else.
The Bears front office made all the right moves to improve this team. And this is a great way to see what they are made of because if they want to make it far in the playoffs this year, that road will no doubt go through Seattle.