The Bears were able to knock off the Philadelphia Eagles 34-28 in their first preseason game. The starters weren’t out there too long but we were still able to learn quite a bit about the team from one game. Here are the five biggest takeaways.
1. Jimmy Clausen is ahead of Jordan Palmer
Clausen was impressive in the win. He had full command of the offense and made smart quick decisions with the football. He finished with two touchdown passes and now emerges as the leader to win the backup role. Jordan Palmer wasn’t terrible but he just didn’t look as poised in the pocket. He had some protection issues in front of him but still held on to the ball too long and wasn’t as decisive in his throws.
2. Special teams needs a lot of work
It must have made special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis sick to his stomach to see a blocked field goal, kick off return for a touch down given up and numerous boneheaded penalties. Last year was a problem on special teams and it looks like there could be more of the same this season. DeCamillis needs some continuity on this unit and hopefully he will get it as the roster trims down and he has a better idea of who he will be working with.
3. Jay Cutler looks very comfortable
When Cutler is on, there aren’t too many quarterbacks in the league who can match his talent level. It’s fun to watch Cutler be more comfortable in this offense and deliver the football with conviction. He looked razor sharp really only missing one pass to Eric Weems on a roll out. The touchdown pass to Zach Miller was a thing of beauty watching it zip pass defenders perfectly to Miller’s back shoulder.
4. Zach Miller could be the answer to the depth problem
Before the game and all through the offseason, we didn’t know who would step up and be the Bears’ backup tight end. A Martellus Bennett suspension gave Zach Miller the chance to shine and he did just that. He had two touchdowns and looked terrific hauling the ball in and making moves after the catch. Hopefully Miller can keep up the consistency and take the lead on the second tight end after Bennett.
5. The defensive line is deep
Even without Jared Allen, the defensive line was very active. Lamarr Houston and Willie Young were great on the outside frustrating Eagles quarterback Nick Foles while Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea gave good push up the middle. Trevor Scott and Austen Lane were terrific in reserve proving the Bears fixed their issues from a year ago and now have a very deep defensive line.