Five things learned vs. Oakland

August, 21, 2010
8/21/10
9:48
PM ET
CHICAGO -- With two preseason games now in the books, here are five things we learned Saturday night against Oakland.

Chris Williams is a major work in progress: For all the criticism directed towards right tackle Frank Omiyale at camp, no Bears offensive lineman looked worse than Williams in the first half. The former first-round pick was torched, repeatedly, putting starting quarterback Jay Cutler at risk on numerous occasions. In this offense, the left tackle can't be average, he needs to be good. Williams is talented, but his poor performance versus the Raiders raises numerous red flags.

Chris Harris is a strong safety: We all knew it, but the second preseason game reaffirmed the belief Harris is much better suited to play in the box. Near the line of scrimmage Harris looks quick and aggressive. Back in deeper coverage, the veteran appears hesitant and a tad on the slow side. Danieal Manning had a few good moments and a few not-so-good moments in his preseason debut. The easy thing for coach Lovie Smith to do would be move Harris into the box and start Manning or Major Wright at free safety. With the way Wright performed in camp -- before the finger surgery -- that choice may be easy when the rookie is ready to return. It's hard to ignore the incredible amount of praise heaped on Wright by Smith and Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

Matt Forte is ready to roll: In case you weren't totally convinced, Forte proved once and for all his rough sophomore year was caused by injuries. The third-year back showed incredible burst on his 89-yard touchdown run -- helped by key blocks from Olin Kreutz and Kellen Davis -- showing everybody there's plenty of juice left in those young legs. Besides the long touchdown play, Forte also averaged five yards on four other attempts. While other problems cropped up for the offense, their ability to run the ball with Forte and Chester Taylor was very encouraging.

Julius Peppers looks like the real deal: Bears fans across the country breathed a sigh of relief when Peppers checked out OK after being hit in the eye in the first quarter. The defensive end was all over the place in the first 30 minutes, recording five tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and a pass defense. The problem is Peppers can't do it all by himself, and the Bears would really benefit from decent play from their other end spot.

Patrick Mannelly needs a new contract: You rarely notice the long snapper unless something goes wrong. Unfortunately, Desmond Clark got noticed a ton Saturday night. Mannelly has been a model of consistency over the course of his 12-year career, missing only three games. It's hard to remember Mannelly making any errors in a Bears uniform, with the exception of calling for an ill-advised fake punt last season. Mannelly's contract is up after this season, so maybe the Bears should consider signing him to an extension soon... like tomorrow.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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