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Five things we learned in San Diego

8/15/2010

SAN DIEGO -- After watching the Bears drop their preseason opener to San Diego, here are five things we learned Saturday night.

1. Major Wright can play: Wright's first-quarter open-field tackle on San Diego running back Ryan Matthews had teammates buzzing after the game. Sure, Wright made a few mistakes -- he looked out of position on a 22-yard completion prior to the Matthews tackle -- but he showed absolutely no fear of being physical. Wright finished with seven tackles and continues to push for playing time at safety, where it seems almost everybody is banged up, including Wright.

2. Devin Aromashodu is not a one-year wonder: It doesn't matter if Jay Cutler or Caleb Hanie is the quarterback, Aromashodu is a dependable target, with excellent hands. Not only did Aromashodu display courage and toughness on two red zone plays in the second quarter -- one being a seven-yard touchdown reception -- he also showed big play potential by turning a third-quarter grab into a 47-yard gain. Johnny Knox certainly stood out by grabbing two early Cutler passes, but Aromashodu looked like the best receiver on the field Saturday night for either team.

3. Teams may not double-team Julius Peppers: That's not to say teams are ignoring the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end, rather, they are using other methods to neutralize the pass-rushing force. According to Peppers, he never faced two blockers Saturday night, instead San Diego made it a point for quarterback Phillip Rivers to quickly get rid of the football. "It seemed like before I could get two steps out of my stance, it seemed like he [Rivers] had already thrown the ball." Expect many teams to employ that strategy against the Bears this year.

4. Dave Toub is still looking for the right mix: It seems like almost every season, Bears special teams coordinator must find a way to replace top-notch special teamers like Brendon Ayanbadejo, Jamar Williams and Adrian Peterson. The Bears suffered at least three special teams breakdowns in San Diego -- a rarity under Toub -- as they try to mix and match new personnel on certain phases. Make no mistake about it, two long returns and a block punt will not be accepted, so expect a long week back in Bourbonnais for the special teamers.

5. Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach playing against second and third stringers isn't fair: Lovie Smith was right when he said Roach and Tinoisamoa are both starter caliber players. Unfortunately, only one can actually start at strong side linebacker, but each had their moments rotating in-and-out in the first preseason game. Roach finished with a sack, tackle for a loss and quarterback hit, while Tinoisamoa made a few nice stops close to the line of scrimmage. It'll be interesting to hear how the Bears feel about the strongside linebacker battle after they view the tape from this game, because both combatants appeared to help their respective causes.