NFC North: 080912 preseason obs

Reviewing Thursday's action at Soldier Field:

Denver Broncos 31, Chicago Bears 3

Preseason record: 0-1

Of interest: Heavy storms probably contributed to the Bears' decision to hold out quarterback Jay Cutler, tailback Matt Forte and defensive end Julius Peppers. … Linebacker Brian Urlacher reportedly was not at Soldier Field, and overall the Bears had a forgettable night. … Left tackle J'Marcus Webb can't feel too comfortable after being left on the field into the fourth quarter, long after the rest of the starting line had completed its work. Webb is young and could use the work, but he was probably also on the receiving end of a message sent to reinforce that he has not yet officially won the starting spot. (There are just no other candidates at the moment.) … Rookie Shea McClellin showed up with a sack of former Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie, who is now the Broncos' backup. … Nickelback D.J. Moore was on point, tipping away a Peyton Manning pass near the goal line so that safety Major Wright could make a score-saving interception. Wright later left with a hamstring injury, an event concerning not for its severity but because he has a history of middling injuries that dig into his playing time and progress. … Rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery led the team with four receptions. … As for Urlacher, Bears general manager Phil Emery told the team's flagship radio station that his knee needs rest and that he will rejoin the team soon. Emery offered no other details of Urlacher's condition, nor did he say if it is related to his recent leave from the team.

Local coverage (in lieu of BBAO): If Emery is telling the truth, writes Jeff Dickerson of, Urlacher should return to training camp sometime this weekend. … The people who paid $76 per ticket for Thursday's game have a right to feel taken advantage of, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. … McClellin, via "I had fun. It's a start. You know I definitely have a lot of learning to do. Overall, it was good. It was a little bit faster than we've been practicing. When you get into the game, it's always faster than normal, but as it went along I kind of got into it and felt good. You know, like I said, there is a lot of stuff I can work on and get better at. But the sack felt good. It's always good to get a sack, no matter what kind it is, because it boosts your confidence a bit. After that you can kind of relax and just go out and play." … McClellin struggled versus the run, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. … The decision not to play Cutler reminded Melissa Isaacson of that the Bears have a legitimate backup in Jason Campbell. Isaacson: "So astounding is it that for the first time, well, ever, that the Bears have a solid backup quarterback behind a potentially exceptional starter, you're almost skeptical."

Up next: Saturday, Aug. 18 vs. Washington Redskins
Reviewing Thursday's action at Qualcomm Stadium:

San Diego Chargers 21, Green Bay Packers 13

Preseason record: 0-1

Of interest: Overall, a pretty ugly night for the defending NFC North champions. Two defensive starters departed with injuries, and the biggest concern was the condition of linebacker Desmond Bishop, who left the sideline on a cart because of a right knee injury. The Packers seemed braced for the worst Thursday night. Bishop has struggled with calf problems over the past year, and D.J. Smith is a capable backup, but it's early to start losing presumptive starters. Cornerback Davon House also left with a shoulder injury. … Even in the context of the preseason, the Packers' first-team offense had a rough night. Its three possessions ended in two turnovers and a punt, and overall the Packers had three turnovers in the first quarter alone. Watching Chargers rookie Melvin Ingram smoke replacement left tackle Herb Taylor was a nightmare for anyone associated with the Packers, especially when Ingram slammed into quarterback Aaron Rodgers (2-of-8 for 16 yards) and caused an interception. … Linebacker Nick Perry's bull rush of Chargers veteran Jeromey Clary in the first quarter was encouraging, even if replacement referees penalized his subsequent sack dance. … Safety M.D. Jennings got turned around by veteran tight end Antonio Gates on a 23-yard touchdown reception, and I wasn't a big fan of Jennings' tackle attempt (nor that of fellow safety Morgan Burnett) on Vincent Brown's 27-yard score. … Backup quarterback Graham Harrell (15-of-27 for 135 yards) had some moments, including a 3-yard score to receiver Randall Cobb, but it's clear he needs a lot of preseason playing time to even out his game.

Local coverage (in lieu of BBAO): Coach Mike McCarthy said that Bishop's injury "didn't look very good," according to Jason Wilde of, but that the Packers would "hopefully get some good news as further testing goes on." … Harrell on his performance, via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Getting a chance to get that many reps -- and get in drive after drive -- is definitely good for me. We'll only get better from it. As the preseason goes on, hopefully we'll continue to improve." … Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel wasn't impressed with the evening. McGinn: "You couldn't draw up a more inept start to an exhibition season than the Green Bay Packers' regulars subjected a national cable television audience to Thursday night. Miserable on offense. Feeble on defense. Flawed and mistake-prone on special teams." … Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "The Green Bay Packers were fortunate to get out of this game with Aaron Rodgers upright and intact." … Perry played much of the first half and also drew a holding penalty from Clary, notes Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette.