CHICAGO – The Bears’ performance in their second exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars was uninspired at best.
But I am here to brighten your day. How many of you have forgotten that the 1985 Bears started 0-3 in exhibitions before beating up on the Buffalo Bills to get ready for their opener?
The moral of the story, of course, is these games are meaningless.
Still, there is a recurring theme this year that is a bit disturbing.
From the moment the Bears arrived in Bourbonnais, we knew there were at least 16 players on the roster capable of contributing to a winning team, perhaps even a playoff team.
They are Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Roberto Garza, and Kyle Long on offense, and Jared Allen, Jeremiah Ratliff, Lamarr Houston, Lance Briggs, D.J. Williams, Tim Jennings, and Charles Tillman on defense.
The whole idea of this preseason has been to find out if there is anyone else on the roster that can step up and join them.
Cutler acknowledged the need for help, speaking at halftime about the receiver position.
“We had really liked going with three receivers, but Marquess [Wilson is out, so we’ve got to adapt and use some different guys. We’ll see what some of these guys can do in the second half: [Micheal] Spurlock and [Eric] Weems and [Josh] Bellamy and Josh Morgan. We’ll see how it works out.”
It didn’t. Through two exhibition games, there aren’t more than a few players who’ve actually staked a claim to the remaining 37 spots on the roster.
Zach Miller, while not a prototypical Marc Trestman tight end, had at least made a strong case in the first preseason game and the few practices that followed it, about his ability to contribute.
He injured his foot and had to leave the field on a cart on Thursday.
The Bears must replace the greatest kick returner in history in Devin Hester. Chris Williams was thought to be the guy. Against the Eagles, he pulled a hamstring, and hasn’t played since.
Eric Weems responded to that opportunity by fumbling his second kickoff return opportunity of the game and being slightly less than mediocre on the others.
Jimmy Clausen has clearly moved ahead of Jordan Palmer in the race to back up Cutler. Given a chance to slam the door vs. the Jags, he refused to seal the deal.
Ka’Deem Carey has by far the most carries of any running back on the team, and it’s clear the Bears want him to claim the No. 2 running back spot. It’s even clearer that Shaun Draughn is the second best back on the team.
And that’s just the backups.
With the number three wide receiver, SAM linebacker, and both starting safety spots up for grabs, not a single contestant has done a thing to lay claim to a job.
There were a few nice moments Thursday.
Jon Bostic made a very nice play from the nickel to end the Jaguars first drive on third-and-1 at the Bears 27.
Trevor Scott looks like a lock for the No. 4 defensive end position, and appears capable of supplying pressure on the passer, if given the chance.
Draughn did have a very nice game, and Patrick O’Donnell appeared to lock up the punting competition with a clearly superior performance to Tress Way.
“I think we’re a humbled group," Briggs said. "We’re working real hard. We’ll keep taking steps in the right direction. You’re never going to know [in the preseason]. It’s good to get tested against an opponent, but you’re never really going to know until Week 1.”