Mitchell Trubisky makes his 2018 debut in a 30-27 loss to the Bengals that went right down to the wire, although it was thanks to the 3rd string signal-caller that this game was even winnable in the first place. Let’s take a look at who stood out and who faded to the background tonight in yet another up and down preseason game from the Bears:
Taking most of the starting offense onto the field for the first time this season, 2nd year pro Mitchell Trubisky failed to get much done. The fact that it was only “most” of the starting offense needs to be taken into account as two players who figure to play huge roles this year –Jordan Howard and Allen Robinson—didn’t see the field. Those two along with Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen were sorely missed from the lineup. Even without them though, Trubisky has to be better next week after totaling only 4 passing yards on two drives.
On the other side of the ball, projected starters Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith also missed the game. The coverage skills of John Timu and Nick Kwiatkoski clearly weren’t up to par when tasked with covering players like AJ Green and John Ross over the middle, and the two were victimized for a couple long gains.
On the outside, Isaiah Irving was also out of the lineup and his presence opposite of Kylie Fitts did not go unnoticed. Fitts failed to generate much pass rush without someone else helping to collapse the pocket from the other side. The interior wasn’t much better with Robertson–Harris and Jonathan Bullard both seeing extensive playing time yet combining for only 1 sack according to ESPN’s stats. RRH was able to manhandle some guys on a couple of run plays though which was fun to watch.
Out of all the other pass rushers the only one who stood out was Kasim Edebali who showed a lot of explosion tonight off the line. He blew up one run play in the backfield and almost blocked a punt a few plays later. He could be a nice fit for the practice squad. Another player looking like a practice squad candidate is Demarcus Ayers who made a couple nice plays again tonight. He plays hard every snap and ended up with his first NFL touchdown tonight.
Another young player who looked really good was James Daniels. He was a bulldozer out there, and he single handedly paved the way for Taquan Mizzell’s touchdown run. Mizzell looked better than last week but still failed to really stand out. Ryan Nall also looked much better out of the backfield tonight, ripping off a 69 yard run late in the game along with a couple other nice gains. I still want to see more of him catching the ball to out of the backfield if he wants to push for an H-back role this season.
In contrast with all those improvements, some other players certainly had themselves nights to forget, chief among them being John Franklin III of Last Chance U. He looked terrible tonight, repeatedly getting beat in coverage, getting flagged for pass interference, and completely missing on a tackle. Not to mention the time he got absolutely mossed by a 7th round pick for a touchdown. Another player with a poor performance was Chase Daniel who went 8-12 for 75 yards and an interception. Tyler Bray’s numbers weren’t much better but he was at least able to move the ball downfield and put us in a position to win at the end of the game. Props to him for bouncing back after that terrible interception he had early.
Overall this game is what we thought it was, that being the 2nd preseason game. There was definitely a lot of rust to shake off and it showed. Without Kyle Fuller’s pick 6 in the 1st quarter the scoreboard of this one might have been very different. There was nothing too alarming yet from anybody, but next week needs to be better.
Photo By: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports