By: Thomas Gibbons
The Bears and Bengals were one of twelve games Thursday night for Week 1 of the NFL preseason. Mitch Trubisky played and so did the other starters on offense and defense with just a couple absences. Jordan Howard, Taylor Gabriel, Prince Amukamra, and Allen Robinson highlighted the players that did not dress for the Bears second preseason game. So let’s talk about the guys that did.
In this post, Thomas Gibbons covers his takeaways from the Bears second preseason game in Cincinnati.
Mitch Trubisky and the offense did not play very well in their limited reps but no need to panic. Remember, they were without Robinson, Howard, and Gabriel. Also, Kyle Long played just one series at guard. It’s hard to evaluate your starting group when not everyone was on the field.
When everyone is on the field, which could be as early as next week, the Bears offense has the ability to be must-see TV. A versatile running game with Howard and Tarik Cohen and a loaded wide receiver group in Robinson, Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Adam Shaheen and others. We will not see the entire playbook being unleashed in the preseason but we will get a better look at Nagy’s offense leading up to Week 1. Then you let loose.
There was a great story in the Chicago Sun-Times by Adam Jahns on Trubisky’s five signs of progress through the eyes of quarterback coach Dave Ragone, the only offensive coach from the previous regime.
2nd round pick James Daniels impressed at center with the second group tonight. Even though the Bears have publicly said they want to develop him at guard, he looked pretty solid at center.
On Taqon Mizzell’s 1 yard TD run, Daniels flattened the nose tackle, letting Mizzell walk right into the end zone. Overall, his pass protection and run blocking has been exceptional.
Cody Whitehair played guard at Kansas St. but has played center in the NFL. In two season, he has started all 32 games either at center or guard. Again, the Bears have stated they want to develop Daniels at guard but things could change. I think the best O-line would be Daniels at center and Whitehair at guard. Whitehair has played pretty well at center his first two seasons in the league but he could become an All-Pro guard. And if Daniels continues to dominate at center, then the Bears should develop him there.
No matter what, I do not think Daniels starts this season, at least at the start. I think the Bears will roll out, from left to right, Charles Leno Jr., Eric Kush, Whitehair, Long, and Bobby Massie. That is a pretty solid group if they stay healthy.
Deiondre’ Hall still has a big mountain to climb if he wants to make this team, but he put together some good tape Thursday night. The former fourth round pick in 2016 has appeared in just 10 games in his brief NFL career. Injuries have limited his development and has put him on the roster bubble.
The Bears moved the former Northern Iowa cornerback to safety last offseason, a move I agreed with. Hall’s range and aggressiveness yells safety. He is not the quickest guy, a reason the Bears probably didn’t see his future at CB.
Hall’s physicality has rarely been questioned. That is one reason I liked the pick so much back in 2016. To go along with his ability to take away the football, it was the right pick by Ryan Pace. But heading into year three of his career, Hall is nowhere close to being a lock to make this team. Yet Hall was an efficient tackler Thursday night which helps his case tremendously in securing a safety spot on the depth chart. Hall was listed as the second string strong safety behind Adrian Amos when the Bears released their first depth chart of the season two weeks ago.
Lastly, Ryan Nall looked like the running back people were hyping him up to be. The undrafted free agent pickup by the Bears out of Oregon St. finished his second NFL games with 9 rushes for 95 yards highlighted by a 69 yard run in the third quarter.
After a disappointing performance in the HOF game, Nall bounced back and lived up the hype surrounding him this offseason. The Bears will likely carry three running backs on the 53 man roster. Howard and Cohen are locks but Cunningham, Mizzell, and Nall are in a fight to win a spot. If Nall does not make the team, I’d expect him to be signed to the practice squad.
The Bears will finish up training camp this weekend in Bourbonnais on the 11th with a night practice open to the public.
And oh yeah, still no Roquan Smith.