Chicago Bears Look Solid in Preseason Win over Denver, but Still Room to Improve

Nathan VenegasCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2009

Excellent punting by the Broncos' special teams pinned the Bears offense back in the early going and no major mistakes were made, such as forcing a pass that wasn’t there, which allowed the defense to get into a rhythm and hold Denver to a field goal.  

In typical Bears' winning fashion, defense and special teams gave the offense a short field to operate and put points up on the board.  That is Chicago Bears football.  At least Bears football under Head Coach Lovie Smith.

The most impressive moment of the night was no doubt the 98-yard touchdown drive where Cutler spread the ball around the field before finally hooking up with Forte in the end zone.

A long sustained drive like that in the harsh atmosphere presented in Denver is reason to smile.

It looks like Greg Olsen is going to be Cutler’s favorite target this season; I don’t think any NFL quarterback would blame him.  Despite favoring Olsen the short time he was out there, Cutler made an effort to spread the ball around.

The speed of the Broncos defense posed problems for the offensive line at times and limited Forte’s productivity.  And, even though you hate to even think this, he’s probably saving himself for the regular season.

Orlando Pace showed his age out there, but when a teammate is outmatched like that, it’s up for the rest of the team to help him out.

I don’t recall Pace getting much help blocking from the backs, which led to pressure on Cutler.  Even a chip block by a running back before he goes out into the flat would’ve stopped the immediate pressure.

The edge pass rushers in the NFC North aren’t particularly fast (Jared Allen and Aaron Kampman, for example), but will still give the veteran Pace a hell of a time all season.

Devin Hester looked like Devin Hester after returning a punt that set up a short field.  Perhaps he’s reacting and not overthinking, or maybe he’s thinking just enough and not reacting rashly.  Or maybe he just wore a lucky bandana. 

I don’t care what it takes, but that’s the Devin Hester we need.

The rest of the special teams looked solid even when excellent punting by Denver nixed any possible return pinning the Bears offense deep in its own territory early on.

I recall seeing Rashied Davis shaken up on a play.  He’s not a very good receiver, but he’s a valuable contributor on special teams, so let’s hope he’s okay.

The defense performed well on the whole, but still weren’t able to get a consistent pass rush.  A pass rush is paramount to help the banged up Bears secondary.

Not to sound like a broken record, but not having a pass rush cost the Bears at least three games last season (Tampa, Atlanta, and Houston, just off the top of my head).

The personnel is there and the coaching staff is there; they just need to make it happen on the field.

The following statement is going to make me sound like those sports radio shock jocks, but I have to point out that since certain players are not playing for contracts they’re not playing hard.  Since Briggs, Urlacher and Harris demanded and got more money, the defense has looked stagnant with occasional glimpses of being as good as it used to.

The defense has 11 players, but it hinges on its superstars, which is what these guys are paid to be.  They aren’t playing like it, though.

Add to that a constantly banged up secondary and the defense is average at best.

Trying not to end on a sour note, the Bears looked pretty good in their third preseason game.  I’ve always felt the final game of the preseason is a formality more than anything, so bring on Green Bay.