Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills: Grading the Bears' Performances

Matt CoanCorrespondent IIAugust 14, 2011

Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills: Grading the Bears' Performances

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    The Chicago Bears took on the Buffalo Bills this past Saturday at Soldier Field in each team's first 2011 preseason game.

    Like many preseason games, it wasn't very exciting and the starters played very little.

    With that said, we did learn some things about some players and saw a few young guys step up.

    The position battles will continue to rage on and while none of them have been solved yet, a few players did make impacts in their status on the team.

    This list will go through each position on the team, grading performances and commenting on which players helped or hurt their shot at making the team, or landing a starting stop.


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    Jay Cutler: N/A

    Cutler played one possession and attempted only one pass.

    I would have maybe liked to see the first team offense do a little with Cutler in the game but because we are still in the preseason it really doesn't matter.


    Caleb Hanie: C

    Caleb Hanie attempted seven passes, completing four of them for 32 yards.

    Hanie didn't do much but still should be locked in as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.


    Nathan Enderle: B

    Nathan Enderle looked good until he through an interception in the red zone on third and goal.

    Even with the pick he looked good for a rookie who has only been in camp for a few weeks.

    Enderle made a few nice throws while standing tall in the pocket and was not afraid to take a hit.

    Very nice start to the young quarterback's career.

Running Backs

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    If we learned one thing tonight, it's that Chester Taylor should be worrying about his job security.

    The running backs played wonderfully tonight and a bunch of guys stepped their games up in an attempt to earn a roster spot.


    Matt Forte: N/A

    Forte did suit up and play in the first preseason game, even after rumors came out about him sitting it out.

    However, Forte didn't run the ball once and he only caught a screen pass for a gain of zero yards.

    Forte exited the game after the first series, just like Jay Cutler.


    Marion Barber: A

    Marion Barber had a fantastic start to his Chicago Bears career and had a great night.

    Barber had seven carries for 45 yards and some of his hard runs had me cheering, even in a preseason game.

    There is no doubt Barber has talent and at this point it's all about whether or not he can stay healthy.

    If healthy, I see Barber backing up Matt Forte and Chester Taylor getting cut or playing third string.


    Chester Taylor: D

    Taylor did very little carrying the ball three times for three yards.

    Taylor didn't get a ton of snaps and didn't get a real chance to defend his spot on the depth chart but that really doesn't matter if the other backs play as well as they did tonight for the rest of the preseason.


    Kahlil Bell: A

    Kahlil Bell continued his preseason dominance, rushing for 73 yards on 13 carries and it looks like he may have already earned a spot on the roster.

    Bell is a nice special teams player and a good pass catcher, and his versatility will really help his cause.


    Harvey Unga: B

    Unga played pretty well, carrying the ball nine times for 27 yards and showing off a power running style that most backs don't have.

    Unga, on a few plays, carried defensive linemen on his back while he gained extra yards and showed the coaches he is a hard runner who plays with a ton of heart.

Wide Receivers

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    No receiver on the Chicago Bears' roster made a huge impact in the first preseason game of the season, but with that said a few guys had solid performances.


    Roy Williams: N/A

    Roy Williams didn't do anything in the game but he only played a few snaps.

    Johnny Knox is going to have a great chance of winning his starting spot back if Williams continues to only play one series per game and should end up being the starting wide receiver opposite Devin Hester come week one.


    Johnny Knox: B

     Knox, like Williams, didn't play much at receiver and had one catch for 11 yards.

    Knox earns a B on my grade scale because of the 70-yard kick return he had and the fact that he at least made one catch.

    As a kick returner, Knox gets an A grade but as a receiver/kick returner, he gets a B.


    Kris Adams: A

    Easily the most productive receiver for the Bears, rookie Kris Adams caught three passes for 58 yards, including one catch for 38 yards.

    Adams showed flashes of being a potential NFL receiver on a few plays and made some great catches. He will definitely be playing for the Bears for at least one more week.

Offensive Line

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    The offensive line did not look good at all, which isn't very surprising based on the fact they are still developing continuity as a unit.

    Mike Tice is going to have to continue teaching and developing these young players before the season starts and if he doesn't get them to a better place, the Chicago Bears are in trouble.

    The line gave up nine sacks and frankly, looked pretty bad at times.

    Lance Louis looked bad starting at guard, in place of Roberto Garza and if he continues to play poorly, new addition Chris Spencer will have to take over at center, allowing Garza to go back to his natural position of guard.

    Gabe Carimi looked solid in his first NFL action and while he still has a lot to prove, it looks like he will turn into a good player down the road.

    The line still isn't good enough for the Bears to have the same success they did last year and we are lucky we're only in week one of the preseason.

    Overall Grade: D+

Defensive Line

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    Another one of the bright spots on the team against the Buffalo Bills was the Chicago Bears' defensive line.

    It looks like the defensive line may be one of the deepest units on the team and there are a ton of guys with the talent and potential to play in this league.

    The unit ended with two sacks, both by new addition Amobi Okoye, who looked great in his first game as a Bear.

    Okoye is only 24 years old even though he has played five years in the league and it looks like the Bears got a steal when they signed him this offseason.

    Henry Melton had a nice game picking two tackles, including one for a loss and causing some havoc on the front line that statistics can't really define.

    Vernon Gholston looked good and made his impact felt, even without recording a tackle.

    Overall, the unit looked great and it will definitively be one of the strengths of the team.

    Overall Grade: A


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    Another strength of the Chicago Bears, the linebacker core.

    The starters played very little, but of course looked good and the backups came in and continued the solid play.

    Dom DeCicco came in for Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker and played very well, recording four total tackles and running the second team defense well.

    Brian Iwuh made a nice play, getting a tackle for a loss as his two tackles and showing he would be a nice backup for the Bears.

    The linebackers on this team are pretty much already set and as long as Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are on the field, the defense will be one of the best in the league.

    Overall Grade: B


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    The Chicago Bears' secondary looked great in their first action of the preseason and a few guys have clearly taken big steps towards becoming great players in the NFL.

    One of those players, Major Wright, is my player of the game and seemed to fly all over the field, making plays like the best safeties in the league do.

    Wright had five tackles, leading the team, and just played an overall great game.

    Tim Jennings also had a good game and looks to be the leading candidate for the second corner back.

    The starting cornerback, Charles Tillman had a poor game, missing a few tackles but because we are in the preseason it is nothing to worry about.

    Chirs Conte and Craig Steltz both had nice games, recording three tackles each and Michael Holmes recorded the game's only turnover, intercepting a pass late in the game.

    Overall Grade: A