The Chicago Bears wrapped up their preseason in Cleveland against the Browns on Thursday night. Both teams came in winless and the Bears came out victorious.
The majority of the starters sat out tonight, so many fringe players had the chance to shine and for the most part, the team’s coaching staff received some clarity.
The Bears will finish the preseason 1-3 overall and while things did not always look good, tonight was a step in the right direction, even if it’s just a small morale boost.
It’s worth noting that the Browns played their starters throughout most of the first half.
RB Jordan Howard
There were many positives in tonight’s game but Howard stole the spotlight in the second half with a dominant performance.
He finished the night with 16 carries for 107 rushing yards and a touchdown. Even more impressive, Howard averaged 6.7 yards per carry including an impressive series in which he ran for 8, 10 and 16 yards consecutively, with the final run going for a touchdown.
With Jeremy Langford taking the night off and Ka'Deem Carey seeing limited time, the fifth rounder made the most of his opportunity and could help him get more snaps to open up the season.
WR Kevin White
White was the only projected Week 1 starter to see the field in the preseason finale and he did not disappoint.
He finished the game with four receptions for 57 yards, which includes a 26 yarder. On top of his yardage total, White also drew a pass interference call that resulted in a 24-yard gain, after beating the cornerback by two steps.
It was an encouraging sign for the 2015 7th overall pick and hopefully something Which can build off during in the regular season.
CB Deiondre’ Hall
After being abused last week in the team’s dress rehearsal, Hall bounced back with an impressive game.
The Bears were in need of clarity at the cornerback position and they got it tonight. Hall had two pass breakups -- both of which came in the end zone -- but most importantly he was able to hang stride for stride against multiple receivers and almost had an interception as he jumped a route and made a play on the ball.
Hall comes from a Division II school, so the learning curve has been steep but the coaching staff has to like what they saw out of him tonight.
LB Christian Jones
With Pernell McPhee’s status in question to start the season, the Bears may elect to carry an extra linebacker. Enter Jones.
He finished the night with 10 total tackles, including 1.5 sacks and 2 QB hits.
Jones played inside and outside linebacker, and provided pressure off the edge for most of the night. It was a very strong outing that won’t go unnoticed and could ultimately win Jones a spot on the final 53-man roster.
CB De’Vante Bausby
The 6-1 defensive back rebounded after a rough Week 1 outing. Bausby took all of the second half snaps and, finished the night with two tackles, one for a loss, and two passes defended.
This was a very impressive performance, especially as the Bears are clearly uncomfortable with their depth at corner.
There’s no telling if this will be enough to win him a spot on the final roster but, at the very worst, Bausby will be a “first call up” while he sits on the practice squad.
Honorable Mention: DL Terry Williams
K Robbie Gould
Gould finished the night 3-for-3 in field goal attempts but missed both PAT attempts.
Normally this wouldn’t warrant cause for concern but Gould has looked shaky for quite some time.
Even two of his successful field goal attempts were near misses. The Bears missed the boat on bringing in camp competition and now they will have to continue to keep a close eye on Gould as the regular season progresses.
QB David Fales
Fales continues to be less than impressive. He started and played the entire second half and was never able to find a rhythm.
He finished the night 4-for-10 for 69 yards but the bulk of those yards came after the catch and should be credited more to Paul Lasike and Jordan Howard than to Fales.
He struggled with accuracy most of the night and did not consistently set his feet in the pocket. Bears may look to stash Fales on the practice squad again following the season-ending injury of Connor Shaw.
C Cornelius Edison
It was not a good overall night for Edison. He was beat for a very ugly sack in the second quarter and had a few inconsistent snaps from shotgun.
He is in line to make the final roster as the primary backup center but, make no mistake, the Bears will be scouring the waiver wire and veteran cut list looking for an upgrade. Hello, John Sullivan.
Special Teams Coverage Units
It was another challenging night for the team’s coverage units. This continues to be an issue and has been through the past two coordinators.
Tyler Gabriel had a big 37-yard punt return and Rashard Higgins also ran out a 28-yarder.
This is something that will need to improve quickly during the season or the Bears will lose the field position battle with regularity.
WR Daniel Braverman
It’s not really about what Braveman did but more of what he continues not to do.
Braverman finished the game with two catches for 17 yards on three targets but, once again, he couldn't consistently get open.
He also failed to cease the opportunity as a punt returner, as he let a punt go over his head, which ended up resulting in a 76-yard punt.
Although Eddie Royal has been injured and not playing, Braverman did nothing to supplant Royal or Mariani for a roster spot and looks destined for the practice squad.