The Bears officially have their first preseason game of 2018 in the books, and there were definitely some ups and downs in the 1 point loss to the Baltimore Ravens. With almost none of the projected starters taking the field tonight, the majority of the guys out there will no doubt be on the bubble to make the roster. There were some players who really impressed and helped their chances to make the team, as well as some others who disappointed and seemed to play themselves out of a roster spot. Let’s recap some of the individual performances from tonight:

Chase Daniel had a pretty lackluster game. He placed a nearly perfect ball right in the hands of Bennie Fowler in the first quarter, a play that should’ve been a touchdown but Fowler had it slip right through his hands (more on him later). Daniel also flat out missed a couple of guys early, throwing behind his guy on more than one occasion and ended the night with 2 interceptions.

Isaiah Irving stood out as a guy who played really well. He would’ve had 2 sacks if one didn’t get called back from an offside and he had another nice tackle on RGIII out in space. He also helped collapse the pocket on RRH’s sack and was just generally disruptive the whole time he was out there. Him and Kylie Fitts were both getting into the backfield pretty often, but they both need to work on turning the corner if they want to cause some actual disruption.

Jonathan Bullard showed some explosion on a TFL he had earlier in the game, but he wasn’t getting a consistent push on other plays. Didn’t really do much to lock down a starting spot.

Deon Bush had some plays where he was looking like fellow Miami Hurricane and Hall of Famer Ed Reed out there knocking people around. He also disappeared for a lot of the time which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a safety.

Josh Woods played fast on some plays but also had some guys run right by him. Not a great performance from him but he also showed some athletic flashes. Could be a practice squad candidate.

Woods’ Maryland teammate Cavon Walker had a solid game for himself. Didn’t really make any splash plays but he seemed to be around the ball a lot and was often in on the tackle.

After all the talk about Colin Thompson making catches every day in camp he started his career with a couple bad drops.  He did briefly redeem himself a bit with a nice catch and run late in the game but I definitely counted more drops than catches.

Demarcus Ayers played harder than anybody on the field the entire game. He had a bad fumble on a catch and run early and a false start on 4th down but it’s the first preseason game and mistakes happen. After he shook the fumble off he made some really nice plays including a great over-the-shoulder catch on 3rd and long as well as a nice catch and run on a screen.

Javon Wims is another young receiver who had himself a big night. Him and Ayers were going back to back with catches in the 4th quarter. His jump ball ability was on full display as he was able to make some really nice contested catches.

Tanner Gentry also refuses to be forgotten about in the race for the last few receiver spots on the roster. After getting what looked to be a touchdown called back he found his way back to the end zone a few plays later.

On the other end of the spectrum Bennie Fowler had himself a night to forget. He had a couple of bad drops including one on a beauty from Daniel that should’ve been a touchdown. He certainly didn’t do himself any favors tonight.

Ryan Nall admittedly never got a whole lot of room to run, but he still didn’t impress very much. Neither did Taquan Mizzell, who had a lot of trouble breaking tackles. If they keep this up it’ll be an easy call for the Bears to keep only 3 RB’s on the roster.

Other notes:

It looks like the new “helmet rule” could eventually slow the game down quite a bit. Player safety is obviously #1, but some of these calls were a little ridiculous. It’s also important to keep in mind the fact that refs always go a little wild calling penalties in the preseason on their new points of emphasis so this might not be the norm.

The backup offensive line play was not looking very good. James Daniels never saw the field, and Jordan Morgan got pushed around by backups. Definitely not a good look for a guy trying to prove he can make the jump from a lower level college program to the NFL.

In the limited version of Nagy’s playbook guys were getting schemed open pretty regularly. It’s going to be very interesting to see what this will look like once the regular season comes around and he really opens up the playbook.

It also looks like Bears will still be committed to running the ball. The play calling seemed pretty balanced tonight betweens runs and passes.

So with that football is officially back, and the Bears have Brian Urlacher to thank for that. It may not have been the most exciting game to watch, but it was an important one nonetheless and if you’re as big of a fan as I am this game couldn’t have came any sooner. Some players stepped up tonight and some got themselves in the doghouse. If rosters were getting finalized tonight who do you think makes the team and who do you think gets cut?

Photo: AP / David Richard

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