Well the preseason is over for the Chicago Bears, and it's now time to get down to evaluating the players to make final roster decisions by this weekend.
After last night's game against the Cleveland Browns, Lovie Smith, Bob Babich, and company are probably glad that it's time to get down to business.
There have been some positives from the preseason so far. There were no significant injuries to report regarding starters, Matt Forte showed that he may be able to carry the load—with a little help from the other Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe—and the quarterback job has been settled...for now.
The young wide receivers have been competitive, and that's all you can ask for.
Now for the negatives. The offense has looked dull so far. The offensive line play is something to be concerned about. Left tackle is one position that caught my eye as needing rapid improvement, otherwise Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman should see if their agents can get a mid-season endorsement from Advil, Tylenol, etc., as they will incur total body aches.
The defense, though it played a watered down scheme, is also an area to be concerned about. The preseason is a time to perfect the base package of the defensive scheme (Cover 2) but the Bears have somehow seemed to look like they don't know how to run the scheme effectively.
I know Babich isn't going to show any of his cards, but one would think that he and Lovie are concerned right now.
With the season just a week away, their is still a lot of work to be done until then. Fine tuning the team and making adjustments is hopefully what this week will be all about, as Payton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts loom on the horizon—and you know they won't be holding back anything.
The red zone defense was one area that I thought could use some improving, as the closer teams got to the end zone the worse the team seemed to play. Brian Urlacher has looked a step slower this year, but I'll reserve final judgement until a few weeks have passed.
The defensive line has looked like the best unit on defense in my opinion. This unit may be the strength of the team, as they have multiple bodies that can inflict pain on opposing teams' quarterbacks. One player to watch is Israel Idonije, he seems to be getting off the ball and getting up field quickly. He will be a force to reckon with on pass rushing downs in the Bears' speed package.
Looking at all the games objectively, I predict that the Bears will go 8-8, or 9-7 should a leprechaun catch a pass and take it to the house during the fourth quarter of a crucial game.
I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this is a successful campaign for the team, as Lovie may be looking for a new place of employment if it isn't.
My finger is on the panic button, but I haven't pushed it just yet. Hopefully it doesn't get pressed this season, as Lovie guides the team to the playoffs.
Let's hope for the best.