Chicago Bears: What We've Learned Through Week 2 of Training Camp
The improvements on the defensive line already showed what it can do while the special teams struggled. Here's more on that plus what else we learned after two weeks of training camp.
Martellus Bennett's Antics Are Growing Old
There's no question tight end Martellus Bennett is a very talented player. He's been able to increase his production in each of the past two seasons and remains a valuable weapon for the Bears.
Bennett also has an eclectic personality. He has a colorful Twitter account, loves to joke around and unfortunately has a short fuse.
The team decided to suspend Bennett indefinitely after he slammed rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller to the ground in practice.
When asked about the incident, Bennett said to The Associated Press, per the New York Daily News: "I'm probably one of the most violent people on the field. That's just my style of play. That's how I play. I'm going to continue to play the way I play. That's what I'm here for."
Bennett was also asked about the possibility of a fine, and he said, "I can afford it. I don't see what he can fine me for on that."
The scuffle, poor comments in the media and occasional outbursts all become tiresome. This team is trying to make a culture change and fight for a division title, and it is not looking for meaningless distractions.
Hopefully Bennett can return to the team with more control. He has a ton of talent and energy, and he just needs to harness it and let it all come through his play on the field.
Jay Cutler Is More Comfortable in Year 2
Earlier this summer, quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said, via CSNChicago.com, he saw "incredible progress" in Jay Cutler from last year to this year.
In the first preseason game, Cutler's progress showed. He was quick and decisive with the football as he went 9 of 13 with 85 yards and a touchdown.
Cutler had full confidence in his receivers and knew where they were going to be. He had only one erratic throw on a miss to Eric Weems after a scramble and made an outstanding back-shoulder pass to Zach Miller for a touchdown.
Cutler's maturation in Year 2 of this offense is huge for the team. When Cutler is firing on all cylinders, there aren't too many quarterbacks in the league who can match his talent and arm strength.
Special Teams Is Still an Issue
Head coach Marc Trestman and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis cannot be happy with what they saw against the Eagles.
There was a blocked field goal, a kickoff returned for a touchdown, bad penalties and some shaky snaps throughout the game.
Last year's special teams unit took a step back after being a team strength for so long during the Lovie Smith era. DeCamillis' tenure in Chicago has been marred by undisciplined, sloppy football.
It will be interesting to see if the team can turn this around before Week 1, or it will have a big issue on its hands.
Jimmy Clausen Takes the Lead
In the battle to be Jay Cutler's backup, there's no question Jimmy Clausen is in the driver's seat over Jordan Palmer right now.
Clausen looked solid in the team's win over the Eagles. He took command of the offense and was crisp on his passes. Clausen finished the game going 7 of 13 with 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Palmer struggled in the pocket and looked indecisive at times. He went 8 of 11 with 104 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
There's still plenty of time in this battle, but it's clear Clausen should be moved up on the depth chart.
In the second game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Clausen should be allowed to take some snaps with the first team against Jacksonville's first-team defense to get a better feel of how he performs.
Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin Still Have a Lot of Work to Do
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly's offense can make a lot of linebackers look bad, but that doesn't let Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin off the hook.
The two were average against the run but really got burned a couple times down the seam against the tight ends. Both Bostic and McClellin are known for their speed, but there was Zach Ertz running down the middle of the field on multiple occasions.
Ertz finished with four catches for 60 yards on five targets. Tight end James Casey also had three catches for 33 yards.
Like mentioned earlier, this Eagles offense is a tough first test, and this is the first live game action of the year for both players, so they get the benefit of the doubt for now. They do need to bounce back and play a lot better against a poor Jacksonville Jaguars offense.
Zach Miller Turned a Negative into a Positive
The Martellus Bennett suspension wasn't the best moment for the team last week, but it resulted in the breakout performance of Zach Miller.
Miller had six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns in the win against the Eagles. He made a great adjustment on the football for his first touchdown and proved he can hold on to the ball while taking a hit when he made his second touchdown reception.
Tight end had some serious questions at depth, but it's possible Miller might have answered them. Now, of course it's still too early to crown Miller the next big thing, but he showed his versatility and threat as a receiver.
Miller has shown some promise in his career. He had 21 receptions in his rookie season with the Jaguars and 20 catches in his second year.
Bennett is now back at practice. The Bears can feature him and Miller with Dante Rosario as the third tight end. Now all of a sudden, this position doesn't seem so thin.
The Defensive Line Is Very Deep
Give general manager Phil Emery some credit. He recognized the team's defensive line was a weakness last year and made a point to improve the unit.
Even with Jared Allen not on the field, the improvements showed against the Eagles. Lamarr Houston and Willie Young are new acquisitions who were making an impact, and Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea both got solid pushes into the backfield.
It was the defensive line that forced Eagles quarterback Nick Foles to throw two interceptions. Foles had three interceptions all last year.
When the backups came into the game, Trevor Scott and Austen Lane looked solid. Ego Ferguson had a couple tackles, and Will Sutton had a quarterback hit.
When Allen comes back, this unit becomes even deeper, and the Bears are going to have a good problem on their hands of figuring out which players to keep.