The Bears played well in their third pre-season game of the 2009 season. Getting all facets of their team in working order, including another strong effort by Jay Cutler. Including a big punt return by Devin Hester that put the Bears in position for their first touchdown of the night.
The return looked like classic Hester as he started his forward momentum on the return only to see a crease and sprint to day light down the field. The return was good for 54-yards and easily breathed life into a slow starting Bears offense.
From that point on the Bears were in an offensive rhythm and looked just as unstoppable as last week against the Giants.
Some of the first initial impressions that were positive:
Jay Cutler and his 98-yard touchdown drive was huge as was his near TD to Devin Aromashadu that showed off why his arm strength is possibly the best in the league.
Matt Forte still looked good running the football, blocking and caught a touchdown pass.
Both Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark made big catches which showed that they are both big weapons in this offense. This will allow for the young receivers to develop at a comfortable pace.
Israel Indonijae continues to impress and was highly disruptive from the three-technique DT spot.
Devin Hester’s punt return that set up the touchdown pumped life back into the Chicago fan base and reminds everyone why he is one of the most feared players in the game.
Anthony Adams played well manning the NT spot and looks like he locked up the starting position there.
Some slightly positive things that still need to improve:
While Tommie Harris is not 100-percent he is still effective at being disruptive and commanding a double team which has allowed other players to get pressure.
Still not a lot of big plays by the starting group of wide receivers. Would like to see more of Devin Hester getting the ball thrown deep. Not many players can keep up with him on long throws. I imagine though the Bears will open up the passing game a lot more once the season starts.
Pretty good pass rush today all things considered. While the rush wasn’t as strong as last week, against one of the best pass blocking lines in the league from last year it was good enough. Mark Anderson showed up a bit during the pass rush and shows why he has been one of the players talked about since training camp started.
The back up RB situation isn’t a foregone conclusion as to whether or not they’ll be productive. While Kevin Jones is the clear #2 and is performing better than last year there still isn’t as much consistency here as you’d like to see. I do give props though to Adrian Peterson for his big game coming off the bench. He may have put himself in a better position to stay on the roster with tonight’s performance.
Negative Things that are pretty frustrating to see after today:
Orlando Pace getting turnstiled by one of the premier pass rushers in the league was very disheartening. He was beaten on more than one occasion with more than one variety of pass rush moves. Seeing this has to have Vikings DE Jared Allen licking his chops at the prospect of knocking Jay Cutler around a lot.
The CB position is pretty bad right now without any of the real and future starters in. The quicker Charles Tillman returns to health and game ready status the better for this defense.
Overall the play was at an acceptable level. The defense looks better at this point than it did at any point during the season last season especially including the pre-season play of the starting defense.
Cutler looked sharp again once he got settled in, his mobility is a welcome sight because not only is he fleet afoot he can make just about any throw necessary when he is on the run. Plus if his fundamental footwork breaks down while being pressure he can still get the ball where it needs to be with enough zip just by his pure arm strength.
Next week’s game figures to be fairly boring and uneventful. Lots of bad things could go wrong with all the players in that likely won’t make the team pushing to make the roster. It could be an all-around ugly game against the Bears but won’t nearly be a representation of how good this team will likely be in 2009.