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Bears Notebook: Preseason Game vs. Bengals Analysis and Observations

The Chicago Bears battled the Cincinnati Bengals in their second game of the preseason.

After the Hall of Fame game last week, the Chicago Bears took on the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. It was the Bears second game of the preseason, technically. In a normal season, this would have been preseason game No. 1.

Mitch Trubisky and most of the Bears starters on offense were in uniform and were on the field for the first drive of the game. Rookie head coach Matt Nagy tried to get things going on the first play of the game with a deep shot to Kevin White. The ball was a bit overthrown and towards the sideline.

Still, it was more proof that Nagy and his offensive staff will be a breath of fresh air in 2018 compared to the old-school offense John Fox and Dowell Loggains were running in 2017. Later in the drive on a key third down, White was involved in another play. Trubisky threw a perfect ball behind the sticks, but White dropped the ball.

The Bears clearly want to get White involved to help his confidence. At the same time, he’s going to have to make the routine plays to be a consistent contributor in Nagy’s system.

No, I’m not really going to go play-by-play, so I’ll list some observations from Thursday night’s game.

 Keep in mind that team performances don’t matter much in the preseason. If there is any value in the preseason, it’s with individual performances. Hell, even some individual performances should be taken with a grain of salt. Something to keep in mind as the month of August rolls on.

Leonard Floyd   

The Bears are going to need Floyd to have a big year given the lack of depth at the edge rusher position. He unleashed a spin move on Thursday night. His game is growing, which is great news going forward. He also destroyed a Bengals’ tight end on a play that resulted in a Kyle Fuller pick-6.

Marcus Cooper Still Isn’t Very Good

AJ Green vs. Marcus Cooper – talk about a mismatch. Cooper was burned several times by Green and second-year WR John Ross. Thankfully, Cooper shouldn’t be covering No. 1 WRs in 2018. If injuries occur though, it could be a different story.

 First-Team Offense: Not Good

The first-team offense was awful in the two series they played. Cody Whitehair was beaten badly a few times. There was the drop by White and more inconsistent play all around. If it was me, I would have kept the Bears offense out there another series or two. Expect them to get all of the first quarter and then some next week. Keep in my neither Allen Robinson or Taylor Gabriel played. Tarik Cohen got in for a play, while Jordan Howard sat out.

James Daniels Playing Center

It was great to see James Daniels playing center with the second-team offense on Thursday. After all, his best position at the University of Iowa was center. Yet, the Bears were set on him starting his pro career as a guard. It looks like that has changed. Daniels is going to be the Bears’ center sooner rather than later. Daniels was solid in Thursday’s game. He is big, physical and a lot of fun to watch.

Adam Shaheen

Second-year TE Adam Shaheen is behind Trey Burton and Dion Sims on the depth chart, but don’t let that fool you. The Bears are going to utilize him any way they can. On Thursday, they lined him up inside. The result was Shaheen being defended by an undersized LB on a few occasions. In the first half, he caught three passes for 53-yards in the first half. Baby Gronk or baby Gronk?

Ryan Nall Makes Some Noise 

Undrafted rookie RB Ryan Nall was quiet last week in the Hall of Fame game. He actually made things happen vs. the Bengals, including a very nice 69-yard run. Nall has excellent vision and he showed that in spurts on Thursday night. He could find himself on the practice squad by the end of the preseason.

Other Notes

  • The Bears have a few young guys to watch at the safety position in DeAndre Houston-Carson and Deiondre’ Hall. Houston-Carson was making plays all over the field. His ball skills are surprisingly good. He also adds some value on special teams. Hall, who was converted to safety after originally being a CB, also made a few nice plays throughout the night. The safety position will be something to watch the rest of this preseason and into the regular season.
  • I noticed that Kevin White played the entire first half, while Anthony Miller did not. Dare I say Miller is ahead of White on the depth chart? That shouldn’t be a surprise considering the camp Miller has had so far. White didn’t do much on Thursday. Clearly, he will have to earn his playing time this season.
  • Laurence Holmes of 670 The Score had an interesting observation on OL Rashaad Coward. According to Holmes, Coward was giving a tell on whether the play coming would be a run or pass. I assume this is something that will be corrected going forward, but if someone watching on tv could spot it, then opposing teams will be quick to do the same. In Coward’s defense, he is going from DL to OL. 

  • John Franklin III and Kevin Toliver made their NFL debuts on Thursday. Franklin had a nice pass breakup in the fourth quarter on Kevin White‘s brother, Ka’Raun. Franklin was a star on the Netflix show Last Chance U. Late in the fourth, Franklin tripped, which allowed the Bengals to take a 30-27 game on a long TD pass. 
  • The Bears’ tight ends were heavily involved on Thursday. Don’t expect this to change when the games count. Burton, Sims, Shaheen, and even Daniel Brown will see a lot of targets in 2018. 
  • As always, wins and losses in the preseason do not matter. The Bears got to play in a lot of situational moments on Thursday night, so I’ll call that a win. They will play the Denver Broncos next week. 

Follow Nick on Twitter: @TLS_Petrusevski–Feature Photo Credit: ChicagoBears.com 

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Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

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