Chicago Bears Report Card: Preseason Week 2 Vs The New York Giants
No other grade to give here. Jay Cutler looked exactly like every Chicago Bear fan's expectations, going 8-13 for 121 yards and a touchdown.
What is more, he led them on three scoring drives in three chances. That is offensive proficiency.
Caleb Hanie then game into the game and looked poised and comfortable in the pocket and made some good decisions.
The simple fact that Brett Basanez did not have a pass attempt also improves the QB grade.
Why is it not an A? Well, Hanie couldn't get the Bears on the scoreboard and Cutler and Hester just missed hooking up on what would have been a roughly 90 yard touchdown pass.
I realize that I am being nit picky, but the biggest problem with Orton last season was his inability to connect on the deep pass.
It was a great game for Chicago QB's, but just not quite perfect.
Running Backs: B+
If I was grading just Matt Forte, he would have an A++. I mean he was GOOD. Ripping off runs, accelerating through the holes, cutting back, making people miss, it was the total package. This is especially true against such a top tier defense like the Giants.
The rest of the running backs performed admirably. Kevin Jones had a good run or two before fumbling the ball away, which led to the only points by the Giants.
Adrian Peterson continued to look like a player who would be hard to cut, with good special teams play and a nice couple runs.
Even Garrett Wolfe busted out a nice little 11 yard run.
So overall they did well, but there was a considerable drop off once Forte left the game, and losing a fumble that turns into points definitely docks you a grade or two.
Wide receivers: A
This group gets an A. After all the questions and the criticism, the receivers went out there and played very well. First and foremost, Earl Bennett. Earl finally looked like the receiver the Bears took out of Vanderbilt in the third round last season. He made a couple nice catches and a good run after the catch.
Hester had only two catches for 14 yards, but he also got behind the Giants secondary for what could have been a 90 yard touchdown pass that was just a little overthrown.
Iglesias had a nice grab, Rideau pulled in a nice couple catches and both Eric Peterman and Derek Kinder had a grab.
But that brings us to Devin Aromashodu and Rashied Davis. Both had one reception, Davis for three yards and Aromashodu for 38 yards, that set up the final touchdown. This is really where the battle is. With Hester and Bennett as the starters, Rideau as the bigger receiver and Iglesias as the possession receiver, it comes down to these two players battling it out for the final spot.
Next week will be the deciding game for one of these two, whether they play themselves into a spot, or out of one.
Tight Ends: A-
I know, I know. Another A-??? After Dez Clark had the touchdown catch, Olsen pulled in a couple nice balls and Kellen Davis made a nice 27 yard catch over the middle, how could I give them an A-?
Easy, Olsen had a drop. Again, nit picky, but as the No 1 receiving option, he cannot have those type of mental errors. End of story. I am being harsh because the expectations are so high for him.
Offensive Line: A
Was that really the New York Giants defensive line? The most feared D-Line in the NFL? They did well. I think you can basically lock in Frank Omiyale as the starting guard, although he did get beat once on the inside that ended with Forte getting stuff five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Both Chris Williams and Orlando Pace played out of their minds, denying the DEs again and again. Center Olin Kreutz even played so well it was noticed by the announcers when he sealed off the nose tackle that sprung Forte's 32 yard touchdown run.
The back ups did have a little trouble with protection, but the Giants backups could probably be starters on some teams anyway, so I can't fault them too much.
Solid effort all around.
Defensive line: B
It was much improved effort by the unit this week with Alex Brown, Ogunleye, Dvoracek, and Marcus Harrison all getting sacks. Brown's sack was more of a forced fumble when he swatted the ball out of Manning's hand as he came around the end.
But tackling was poor at times with Brandon Jacobs bruising through holes and running over several would be tacklers more than once.
The pressure on the QB was the improvement we needed to see, but the tackling has got to be better.
Pisa Tinoisamoa was by far the most noticeable linebacker out there. He hit people, he made tackles and he looked explosive. Brian Urlacher on the other hand missed some tackles. In fact, Jacobs bounced right off of him at one point and rumbled for another 15 yards before finally being tackled.
I think Brian has something left in the tank, but that cannot be happening to the face of our defense.
Defensive backfield: B+
They were much better than last week. Nathan Vasher made tackles and actually looked like he know what he was doing on the field and Corey Graham put pressure on the QB on a blitz. Trumaine McBride and DJ Moore played decently, although Moore completely whiffed on at least one tackle.
Kevin Payne broke up a deep pass and Afalava provided some stout run support but neither really looked like the free safety we need. Craig Steltz played alright in limited action but he also failed really to distinguish himself. Josh Bullocks recorded one sack, late in the game.
This is based on the improvements from last week to this week. The defense played better and with more intensity. The offense looked completely different from last weeks debacle. Props to Ron Turner for calling plays that played to Cutler's strengths and to not be scared of taking chances, especially on third downs.
Overall Grade: A-
Now comes the big game. Preseason Week three is when the starters get the most action and this week it will be against the Denver Bronco's. Tell me there won't be some motivation in this weeks practices on both sides.
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