Making the Grade

Although the Bears viewed the fourth preseason game as little more than a scrimmage, the results were not particularly impressive.


OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

Rex Grossman (2-9-31) started and played into the second quarter. He was hoping to perform better than last week, where he had a very poor showing early. Unfortunately, Grossman again was not sharp. His timing more than his accuracy appears to be the flaw. Apart from an overthrown deep ball to Justin Gage, most of his incompletions were the result of passes thrown too late. Grossman was identifying the open receiver, but his recognition was not quick enough to allow him to deliver the ball before a defender could close in on the receiver. Craig Krenzel (6-17-79, 3/16) played the rest of the game and was not impressive. He did flash some ability, especially as a quarterback who can scramble and throw on the run. Jonathan Quinn did not play. He was the most effective quarterback of the preseason. As a group, this was not a promising performance. Hopefully whatever kinks that still remain in the passing offense can be ironed out by opening kickoff. GRADE: D

Running Backs

Thomas Jones dressed for the game but did not play. Adrian Peterson (18/68, TD, 1-4) started and played the entire first half. He saw extensive action, and was workmanlike. His propensity for breaking tackles makes him a valuable addition to the offense. On second and goal from the 6, he broke a tackle a yard deep in the backfield, and then broke another on his way to the 1-yard line. He scored on the next play. His strong performance was marred by a fumble that the Bears recovered. Brock Forsey (10/24) played the entire second half and wasn't quite as effective as Peterson, but flashed the kind of potential that should merit a roster spot somewhere if he doesn't make the Bears. He made a superb cutback on a beautiful 15-yard run that was called back on a holding penalty. Fullback Bryan Johnson started and played about a quarter. He didn't help the quarterbacks' grade by not turning around for a pass in the flat. Jason McKie and Rabih Abdullah saw action at fullback but were not factors. The running backs played relatively well, and even though Jones didn't play, their performance was again the best part of the Bears' offense. GRADE: B

Receivers

Desmond Clark (1-15) started his first game of the preseason. He dropped a nice pass over the middle and then caught a similar ball for a big first down. Tight end John Gilmore also saw his first action. He only had one pass thrown his way, and it was a worm-burner from hurried Krenzel. Justin Gage didn't make any catches, but did get open deep once, and drew a penalty another time. David Terrell made a leaping catch along the sideline but only got one foot down inbounds. Ahmad Merritt (1-14) had two medium range receptions, but one of them came off the board when he committed offensive pass interference. He also dropped a handoff on a reverse from Forsey. The fumble was recovered by the Browns. Daryl Jones (2-34) made a couple of big catches for a very stagnant offense. Andre Ford and Bernard Berrian both made nice medium-range catches. The receivers were open a good deal of the game, didn't have many drops, but did have a few mental mistakes in terms of a penalty and fumble. It was a very average performance by this group. GRADE: C

Offensive Line

The prevailing trend of the preseason continued as the offensive line blocked reasonably well for the run but struggled protecting the passer. Backup Michael Keathley started at center, and was flanked by the rest of the regulars. Keathley played center the entire game. He was blown several yards into the backfield to disrupt a 4th and 1 Brock Forsey carry that resulted in a turnover on downs. Among the other starters, left tackle Qasim Mitchell committed a false start and then allowed a sack on successive plays. Among the backups, it's now official regarding Aaron Gibson. He has officially reverted to the oft-injured turnstile-like player that several other teams had already given up on. He was nicked up in camp, had his doors blown off on several outside pass rushes Friday night, and was then carted off the field after his leg was rolled up. When Gibson went down, Bryan Anderson was inserted at right tackle, a position he is not very familiar with. Anderson struggled, allowing 2 sacks (although the second was more of a coverage sack). Steve Edwards did nothing to redeem himself after several poor preseason games. He played left tackle. He allowed a sack, and then his holding penalty nullified Brock Forsey's 15-yard run. GRADE: D


DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Adewale Ogunleye saw his first action as a member of the Bears. He didn't record any tackles, but drew his opposing lineman offside, and had some good pressure. Alex Brown started and flushed Garcia out of the pocket on one play, and was held on another. Michael Haynes (2 tackles) had a solid all-around effort. He made a couple of stops against the run, and got to the quarterback for some pressure and a knockdown. Terry Johnson (2 tackles) saw a lot of action, and was a disruptive force in the middle. Although he did jump offside once, his penetration against the run forced several plays outside. He also collapsed the pocket on a few of the passing plays. Tackles Tommie Harris and Alfonso Boone were less of a factor, but didn't play as much. The battle for roster spots at defensive end made for some very inspired play. Alain Kashama had good pressure at least 3 times. Israel Idonije (4 tackles, PD) nearly intercepted a pass he deflected, and made a few plays against the run. Newcomers Shurron Pierson and Quinn Dorsey were flying off the ball to get pressure. Dorsey had a tackle for a loss. Pierson had several pressures and a knockdown. He did have an over penetration on the run to lose contain. Ian Scott (3 tackles) was stout in the middle, and saw a good deal of snaps. Although there weren't any sacks, the pressure was good. Run stopping was very strong (33 carries for 88 yards with a long of 12). Trimming this part of the roster down is going to prove extremely challenging. GRADE: B

Linebackers

Lance Briggs, Joe Odom and Brian Urlacher were held out of the game. Leon Joe (5 tackles) and Bryan Knight played linebackers on the outside with Hunter Hillenmeyer (3 tackles) in the middle. Joe had two big tackles for loss, including one of them on a 3rd and 1. Jeremy Cain was solid inside, as was Jerry Schumacher (4 tackles). Since the line was really flying off the ball, the onus was on the linebackers to step up and make plays if cutbacks occurred. Holding the Browns to a longest run of 12 yards was good evidence of this. Running backs and tight ends were covered reasonably well. GRADE: C

Secondary

R.W. McQuarters and Charles Tillman did not play. Todd McMillon (4 tackles) and Nathan Vasher were on display early. Vasher held his own for the most part, except for a holding infraction on 3rd and long. He welcomed Winslow to the NFL with a vicious hit that jarred the ball loose. McMillon on the other hand, was victimized for numerous completions, culminating in a 37-yard touchdown pass to Andre Davis. Newly acquired Blue Adams committed a holding penalty, and appeared to have the coverage on King's leaping touchdown reception (along with Worrell). Rookie Alfonso Marshall (3 tackles, INT, PD) was flagged for pass interference on a questionable call that cost a huge chunk of yardage. He redeemed himself moments later by intercepting a pass headed for the end zone. Safeties Mike Green and Mike Brown were given the night off. Todd Johnson and Cameron Worrell received most of the reps at safety, and were like guided missiles in pass coverage. Worrell (4 tackles, PD, TFL) had a tackle for a loss and a pass breakup. Todd Johnson (7 tackles, TFL) had a tackle for a loss, ripped the ball loose late in the game, and put a wicked lick on Brown. Bobby Gray played but was not a factor. Browns quarterbacks were 17-31-238 with three touchdowns and 1 interception. A good deal of that fell on the coverage. Some of it was also the impressive play of McCown, who bought himself time and threw well on the run. GRADE: D+


SPECIAL TEAMS

Paul Edinger connected on his lone attempt (43 yards). His kickoffs were average. Coverage was fair. Some of the lane discipline appeared shoddy along the left side of the kickoff team. Adrian Peterson was flagged on Bernard Berrian's best punt return of the season. Harris was flagged on a kickoff return. Jones' kickoff returns (3-61) were average. Brooks Barnard handled all of the punting duties. He put 2 of his 8 kicks down inside the 20. His performance was a microcosm of his career. He had one or two really good kicks, a few clunkers, and a few average ones. GRADE: C


COACHING

It's tough to argue with giving a few of the irreplaceable veterans the night off. However, taking Kreutz out of the offense removes a true captain, and breaks the line's continuity, something it's fighting to gain and maintain. If the goal is truly to keep the irreplaceable healthy, then why did Grossman play? If he needed his timing corrected, as did the passing offense, why sit Kreutz and Jones? Drawing the Browns offside on a field goal attempt on 4th and 4 was an excellent play. Ron Rivera mixed the blitz in very well and gave the Browns a number of different looks to put pressure on their quarterbacks. Eleven penalties are too many for this stage of the preseason. This can only be discipline, and the coaches have to take the brunt of the blame for it. Does anybody else feel as though the Bears are still not ready for the regular season to start? GRADE: D


GAME BALLS

Todd Johnson Cameron Worrell Leon Joe Tank Johnson

_HORNS

Aaron Gibson Steve Edwards

HARDEST HITS

Jameson on Berrian Vasher on Winslow Johnson on Brown



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