It was a bittersweet opening game for Chicago Bears fans. A 25-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the first preseason game showed us what the Bears need to work on before the start of the regular season.
The offensive line did not open any holes for either Matt Forte or Chester Taylor. Forte only gained 7 yards on 4 carries, and Taylor only gained 10 yards on 7 carries. Very limited production for two above-average running backs.
What I get from Forte's and Taylor's bad performances is the offensive line doesn't looked too improved.
Not only did they have trouble opening holes for the running backs, but they let the defense get to Jay Cutler twice, sacking him once, which most of the blame could be put on Forte's failed block on Donald Strickland.
The Chargers also got to Caleb Hanie, forcing a sack. Hanie would leave the game with a shoulder injury, not to return.
The offensive line has had the most amount of changes and switches during the preseason, and it looks like they'll need a better performance next game to show that they have really improved.
Defensively, the Bears didn't look terrible, but they showed that they need some more work before the regular season.
The starters didn't come out until the second quarter, but they gave up a 28-yard pass, a touchdown, and let Chargers' rookie running back Ryan Matthews gain 50 yards on nine attempts.
Not exactly what you want to see from your starting defense, during the first preseason game. Injuries to the defense only added to the problem.
Danieal Manning was already sidelined for the game, but his replacement, Craig Seltz, left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury.
The bright spot on the defense was safety Major Wright, but he, as well, left the game with a finger injury, though it's not meant to be serious.
Hunter Hillenmeyer also left the game with a foot injury.
Jay Cutler's debut only lasted one series and two passes, but it was a positive and productive one, completing both of his two attempts to Johnny Knox.
Cutler lead the Bears on a 51-yard scoring drive, which led to a Robbie Gould field goal, but the Bears, once again, showed they have trouble scoring in the red zone. It was 1st and 10 on the Chargers' 19, during that same drive, but the Bears moved back three times.
The little we saw of Cutler showed that he can be a versatile quarterback, given protection.
The other quarterback, and often forgotten, Caleb Hanie was pretty decent. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 148 yards, a touchdown, and an interception before leaving the game with the shoulder injury.
In review, I saw what I expected the Bears to look like. I knew the offensive line and defense would be the two major problems to watch, and, after watching the game Saturday, I feel no more confident in those two areas than I did at the end of last season.
I liked what I saw from Cutler and the receivers, especially Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu.
The new offense JUST might work this year, but it's way too early to carve anything in stone.