Sunday, August 14, 2011
Preseason: Bears O-line needs more work
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Saturday's preseason action at Soldier Field:
Chicago Bears 10, Buffalo Bills 3
Preseason record: 1-0
Of interest: None of the anticipated drama for this game played out. Tailback Matt Forte played despite the lack of a contract extension, although it's worth noting he played one series and didn't get a carry. (He did make one catch.) Marion Barber ended up rushing for 45 yards on seven carries, and Chester Taylor had three yards on three carries. ... And by all accounts, the playing surface at Soldier Field held up despite some visible seams between the sod. The only issue: Longtime Chicago-area sportscaster Peggy Kusinski said she was told by security officials that no cell phone photos of the field were allowed. ... The first-team offensive line played the entire first half but gave up four sacks, including three to Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman, who gave left tackle J'Marcus Webb fits. I thought two of Merriman's sacks, against backup quarterback Caleb Hanie, came in part because Hanie held the ball. ... Defensive tackle Henry Melton flashed in the first quarter, getting into the backfield on three early plays. That's an encouraging sign. ... The Bears kicked off twice from the 30-yard line before, saying the NFL's new rule for kickoffs at the 35-yard line was optional. NFL officiating czar Carl Johnson was forced to call Soldier Field to tell them otherwise. Interesting but ultimately a meaningless attempt by the Bears. ... Finally, demoted receiver Johnny Knox made an a strong impression on special teams, reminding everyone how fast he is during a 70-yard kickoff return. He also returned two punts, but that job will go to Devin Hester in the regular season.
Local coverage: No one criticized the field, reports Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. But quarterback Jay Cutler did say: "I don't know. It is what it is. I don't think it is going to change, so we just have to play on it." ... Knox, via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I know what I need to do -- just handle my business on the field and that's what I came to do. I'm just trying to make the best of it and make plays when I can." ... The Bears' offensive line needs more time together, writes Dan Pompei of the Tribune. ... New defensive lineman Amobi Okoye had two sacks, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
Next: Aug. 22 at New York Giants (ESPN)