Highlighting Chicago Bears' Best Preseason Performers so Far
We are halfway through the 2014 preseason. The Chicago Bears boast an undefeated record despite having some hiccups along the way. They are 2-0 in large part to some impressive individual performances.
Six players have stood out through the first couple of games. It shouldn't be surprising that most of them are backups, because those are the guys who are leading the Bears to victory in this preseason.
It is, however, an even distribution of offensive and defensive contributors. Three defensive players have stood out including two in the secondary, while the starting quarterback has looked strong behind his stout offensive line.
Here are the six players who are having the best performances of the preseason so far for the Bears.
Running Back Shaun Draughn
Shaun Draughn has had an impressive, balanced showing as he tries to stave off rookie Ka'Deem Carey for the backup running back role.
Both players have split time to get their fair share of the load, but it's Draughn who has really stood out.
His versatility to catch out of the backfield, pick up the blitz and break off long runs has gotten him noticed. Draughn is currently in the driver's seat to start the season as Matt Forte's backup.
Draughn deserves to get more touches in the running game. He has only four attempts but has an 8.8 yards-per-carry average. Carey will likely continue to be the backup workhorse, but Draughn has earned the opportunity to show off his all-around skills even more.
Defensive End Trevor Scott
The Bears look to have a deep defensive line, and it's because of standout backups who have proved to be very valuable in relief of the starters, such as Trevor Scott.
Scott has been very active in the first two games, showing great pursuit to the football. He's done an outstanding job of helping solidify what was a problem for the Bears last year—slowing down the run.
Even though he has yet to record a sack, Scott has put plenty of pressure on the quarterback and has accounted for seven tackles. He's showing he can be a great rotational lineman as the game goes on and the starters need a blow.
Cornerback Sherrick McManis
Sherrick McManis is a bulldog in football pads. At 6'1", 193 pounds, he may be slight in stature but has no problem putting his nose in there and doing whatever it takes to make a play.
McManis has been one of the few standouts on a special teams unit that has performed poorly this preseason. He has also shown to be a very valuable reserve corner with good ball skills.
He has racked up nine tackles, three passes defended and an interception. That's not bad for a guy who should largely be considered the top standout player in this preseason for the Bears.
Cornerback Demontre Hurst
Like McManis, cornerback Demontre Hurst has been all over the field, making play after play.
Hurst is leading the team with 12 tackles through two games. He's been a physical presence more so than the starters.
The Bears are very deep at corner, but Hurst can still provide a ton of value on special teams. He and McManis can help to stabilize the coverage during kickoffs and punts.
Left Tackle Jermon Bushrod
Quarterback Jay Cutler has had enough time for a cup of coffee and a sandwich while he surveys the field, and that's thanks to the offensive line anchored by left tackle Jermon Bushrod.
Bushrod has kept his quarterback's blind side clean and has looked almost effortless in doing it. Pass-rushers aren't exactly playing at full speed in the preseason, but take nothing away from Bushrod. He's come out focused to start this year, and it shows.
Since general manger Phil Emery has been in Chicago, he's made a flurry of high-profile signings and acquisitions, but Bushrod remains one of the best. He's a stabilizing force who makes life a lot easier for the offense.
Quarterback Jay Cutler
Dare we start to compare Jay Cutler to Peyton Manning and Drew Brees? He may not be on their level yet, but name three other quarterbacks who look more comfortable in their offense right now than Cutler.
It's been a very impressive start for Cutler, who has been known to be erratic even in the preseason. He's coming out firing to the tune of a 72.7 completion percentage and hasn't turned the football over.
Cutler looks like a different quarterback on the field. He's taking his time to go through progressions, shying away from forcing the ball and hasn't taken a sack. These are all qualities that Bears fans want to see once the season starts.