Chicago Bears fans were looking to get a lot of positives out of their first preseason game of the 2012 preseason. Instead, they were left with a big 31-3 loss.
The Bears were thoroughly outplayed, but there were some bright spots to take away from some of the things that seemed to go wrong.
First, the positives from the loss to the Denver Broncos.
Alshon Jeffery did exactly what he needed to do in his first game as a Chicago Bear, and the fans should be happy about that. Jeffery wound up with four receptions for 35 yards in his first game with the Bears.
He also drew a big pass interference when he was wrestled to the ground by the CB.
Jeffery was smart with his route running and very physical against the coverage. He beat both press-man and off-man coverage and battled the defender for the ball, who was trying to reroute with his hands.
Jeffery took a lot of snaps in this game. Undoubtedly, this was good for his confidence.
Jeffery knows he can compete and win at this level and should only build upon his performance from here.
There wasn't just one good performance from a rookie. First-round pick Shea McClellin also had a pretty good game. McClellin notched the first sack of his career and also had a few more pressures added to his effort tonight.
McClellin's lone drawback is that he was buried in the run game at the point of attack. However, he showed precisely what he needed to early in order to be counted on as a situational pass-rusher this year.
McClellin, like Jeffery, played a lot of snaps and showed burst off the edge and speed to get to the QB. He hustled, never quit and showed all of the positives in this game that were evident at Boise State.
He still needs to develop a counter move to his game, and also needs to learn how to set the edge in run defense. That lack of of ability in the run game really stood out tonight in a big way, but overall, there were more positives than negatives from McClellin.
Defensive tackle Nate Collins also showed up tonight and built on the performance he's had thus far in camp. Collins notched a sack and was a force on just about every snap he took tonight. He certainly puts a stronghold on that fourth defensive tackle, showing the strength and quickness that has made him one of the early stories in camp.
Linebacker JT Thomas also had a decent game, and he pushes himself into the discussion at linebacker. Thomas was the leading tackler on the night with seven tackles, but also was disruptive. He fired through gaps and forced a lot of redirection.
Now for the biggest losers of the game.
I'll be brief in this statement, because I don't want it to overwhelm the discussion for next week: J'Marcus Webb and Chris Williams were not good. Williams didn't look good, and Webb looked worse. As a result, they played well into the third quarter, which is rare for starters.
Tice obviously sent his message tonight to those two.
The other linebacker tonight, Costanzo, was flat-out awful. Costanzo was lost in coverage, horrible in run defense, as he was out of his gap, and over-pursued.
There was absolutely nothing positive to take away from the night Costanzo had. If he doesn't improve in the next three games, he'll be one of the first to earn walking papers.
Isaiah Frey wasn't much better, really struggling as a rookie in his first game. Frey struggled in coverage and missed too many tackles. He was lost in space throughout most of the game and looked like practice squad material tonight.
James Brown and Cory Brandon were losers tonight because they received so little snaps on the field. Both players are in need of experience, and neither got more than a few snaps on offense late in the fourth quarter. Then both gave up a sack on two consecutive plays, first Brandon and then Brown.