Three Takeaways from the Bears preseason so far

Andy Dalton has struggled with the offense

By: Dylan Clemons

Football is back and I couldn’t be any more excited for the start of the season. The Bears are 1-1 in the preseason, winning the opener against the Miami Dolphins 20-13. Then getting smoked by the Mitchell Trubisky led Buffalo Bills 41-15, in which the Bears offense was stagnant all afternoon.

In Week 1 against the Dolphins the first team offense didn’t quite get going. Andy Dalton only played two series and finished the day 2-4 for 18 yards. Starting running back David Montgomery limped off the field after one carry, but his injury doesn’t seem to be too serious.

The man of the day was Justin Fields. He came in and looked awesome, the way he navigates the pocket, and move the chains with his legs is just an absolute game-changer. Fields was 14-20 on the day and threw a 30 yard touchdown to Jesse James, and also ran for a touchdown on an 8 yard scramble. The Defense settled in after giving up two drives that resulted in field goals. Deandre Houston-Carson intercepted Tua Tagovailoa in the end zone to end Tua’s day. That’s something the Bears have been preaching for the defense is forcing more turnovers.

Week 2 was the same story for the first-team offense as it struggled with Andy Dalton under center once again. Numbers-wise it doesn’t look that bad, he was 11-17 for 146 yards with one touchdown and one interception. However the Bears offense could never get into a rhythm with Dalton at the helm. Fields also struggled when he entered the game after halftime. He showed a few flashes, but the two quarterbacks where both dealing with pressure all day long from the Bills front seven, being sacked four times.

The Mitchell Trubisky revenge game was in full force on Saturday. He tore up the Bears defense, going 20-28 for 221 yards and one touchdown in the first half. The Bears defense did not play well by any means. The receivers where able to get separation from the Bears defenders whenever they wanted, Jake Kumerow beat Jaylon Johnson on a 4 yard in route for a touchdown. The Bears defenders were also missing tackles all day long, and quite frankly just couldn’t get stops. Those things need to be cleaned up fast, in order for the Bears to succeed this season.

Offensive Line Problems

It was announced earlier this week that 2nd round rookie left tackle Teven Jenkins was out for most of the season after undergoing back surgery. That is big news considering the Bears were going to slide him into the left tackle position, after letting go veteran Charles Leno in the offseason. They signed 39-year-old Jason Peters to try and put a band-aid on things, but he has yet to play in a game this preseason.

25-year-old Elijah Wilkerson started at left tackle against the Dolphins, and that’s who I expect to start the season there as well. The 5th year veteran has 26 career starts on the right side of the line, mostly at right tackle. The Right tackle position is in bad shape as well. Germain Ifedi, who was going to be the starting at right tackle is on the PUP list with a hip flexor. So that leaves the door open for rookies Lachavious Simmons, and Larry Borom to possibly start there in the season opener if Ifedi can’t get healthy.

Whoever the starting five offensive linemen are, they are going to have to protect the quarterback better than what they did against the Bills. The offensive line allowed four sacks and allowed a huge hit to franchise quarterback Justin Fields that knocked his helmet off. Fields got up and were ok, but it was still a scary sight to see. The offensive line will have to play much better in order for the Bears to have success this season.

Offensive Struggles

Through the first two preseason games, the Chicago Bears first-team offense has struggled to get going with Andy Dalton at the Helm. Dalton has played in nine series this preseason, and the offense has only managed to pick up four first downs, and have one scoring drive. His touchdown came on a huge play by wide receiver Rodney Adams on a solid throw by Dalton that went for a 73-yard score against the Bills. Rodney Adams has been a pleasant surprise this preseason, he has caught seven of his 12 targets for 146 yards and one touchdown.

The fans in Chicago have already fallen in love with rookie sensation Justin Fields. How could you not though? When Fields came into Miami, the offense struggled a bit, going three and out on his first three possessions. But after that, something clicked and the Bears scored on their next two possessions. Once By fields extending a play with his feet and scoring from eight yards out. Then the second scoring play was a 30-yard passing touchdown to a wide-open Jesse James, on a beautifully drawn-up play by Head Coach Matt Nagy. Fields ended that game going 14-20 for 142 yards and two total touchdowns.

Fields had a much tougher time against the Bills defense, being pressured all day long. However, he still showed flashes of what he can do. His ability to extend plays with his feet at an elite level as he has shown through two games could come in handy for a team with an offensive line that struggles to protect their quarterback. That is something Andy Dalton can’t do. However, Bears fans will have to wait to see their future quarterback. Matt Nagy was quoted after the game saying “We have to see Dalton in a regular-season game”. I tend to disagree with Nagy, I believe Fields gives you the best chance to win right now.

Defense Has Been Up And Down

This Bears team will only go as far as this defense will take them, as they are still the strength of the team. They have had an up and down preseason so far. The defense has forced four turnovers in the two games and has gotten to the quarterback for seven sacks.

After a solid performance against the Dolphins, the Bears defense really struggled to stop the Bills offense led by Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears secondary was considered to be the biggest weakness on the defense coming into the season, and it showed against the Bills. They missed quite a few tackles and gave up some big plays to not-so-well-known wide receivers. That unit is very young and will need to play better in order for the Bears to get to where they want to go this season. Right now there is no clear front runner at the slot corner position yet, both Duke Shelly and Kindle Vildor have flashed, but neither has stood out.

Another quick thing that concerns me is the health of Robert Quinn. He has struggled with health since signing a five-year 70 million dollar deal with the Bears last offseason. He only totaled two sacks in his first season with the Bears. He also had a play that stuck out to me against the Bills. It was a fourth down and one and the Bills pitched to Devin Singletary Quinn had great content, and Singletary juked once and put Quinn on the ground and scored from 14 yards out. A healthier Robert Quinn from two seasons ago, makes that play. That signing looks like a disaster for Ryan Pace and the Bears, hopefully, as a Bears fan, he proves me wrong.

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