MORRISSEY: Take a deep breath, Bears fans — it’s one game
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org | @MorrisseyCST August 10, 2013 9:20PM
- Bears’ defense believes Marc Trestman’s new-look offense stands up
- Jon Bostic pushing D.J. Williams for starting MLB spot
- Marquess Wilson shows what Bears’ offense can do
- ARKUSH: Grading the Bears after their first preseason game
- Four downs with Ditka
- TELANDER’S SUNDAY STEW: Mike Tice gets a yay for the neigh
Updated: September 12, 2013 6:28AM
I don’t want to put too much emphasis on the first game of the preseason, but in the name of all that is good and decent in this world, what is wrong with the Bears’ offense and what does it mean for our children and our children’s children?
A Jay Cutler interception on the very first offensive play. A sack of Cutler allowed by right tackle J’Marcus Webb during the third series. Friends, we’re on the way to sedition, perdition and quite possibly Bolshevism.
OK, let’s stop overreacting.
While we’re at it, let’s stop reacting, period, to what happened in Friday’s exhibition game. Cutler looked like Cutler, and you can take that anyway you want. I’ll admit to an immediate breakout of hives after Carolina’s Josh Norman picked off a pass meant for Alshon Jeffery on the FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE MARC TRESTMAN ERA.
It looked as if Jeffery cut short his slant route, but Cutler took responsibility for the turnover, saying he threw the ball to the wrong spot. I’m not giving Cutler enough credit for saying that. To be clear, he did not blame, bump, scream at or waterboard Jeffery. Maybe Cutler is a changed man. Maybe a preseason game does have more meaning than a Chia Pet.
Again, let’s not get carried away.
We have no more idea of who Trestman is after one exhibition game than we do of who a former Division III quarterback is after one exhibition game. Trestman is certainly more animated than former coach Lovie Smith, which, granted, could still make Trestman a tree stump. But we’ll take it. These are exciting times in Chicago. The possibility of a real offense looms, given Trestman’s pedigree. It could be a mirage, but let’s enjoy the change of pace while we can. It might turn into something, it might not, but a fresh start feels full of possibilities.
One thing is obvious coming out of the preseason opener: Trestman wants running backs to have a bigger role in the passing game. Last year, 19.6 percent of the Bears’ completed passes went to running backs. Against the Panthers, running backs caught 33 percent of the completions. Small sample size, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
Cutler played three series against Carolina, more than I expected, though the interception to start his night didn’t feel like a series. It felt like a summary of his Bears career. But it meant nothing! First preseason game! The silly season! Am I protesting too much?
Why did that interception give some of us the willies?
Nope, I’m not going to fall into the trap of worrying about things I see in the preseason. No, siree.
A few observations from the game without too much knee-jerking:
◆ Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic looked good not just on the obvious play — the 51-yard interception return — but on his east-west pursuit of ball carriers.
◆ Defensive end Shea McClellin still looks small out there.
◆ First-round pick Kyle Long looks like an athlete, which makes sense, given that his father, Howie, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We’ll see how he progresses — he started only four games in college — but he’s a guard who looks like he could play left tackle someday. Or how about right tackle ahead of Webb, today?
◆ I’m wondering who’s going to win the suck-up-to-Jay competition and get more passes thrown his way — wide receiver Brandon Marshall or tight end Martellus Bennett. I’m also wondering how the loser will react. Surely, Marshall has to know he won’t catch as many passes (118) as he did last season. Right? Right?
Friday was a start, and nothing more than that. It was the obligatory first step toward the regular season.
“Indications are that, moving forward, we’ve got something to build on,” Trestman said.
The new coach is never going to be the life of the party, and that’s OK. More important, he doesn’t seem interested in taking over the vacancy in Lovie’s La La Land, where everybody and everything Bears-related is always good. I don’t sense Trestman thinks people are fools.
But if he doesn’t think Bears fans are excitable after one preseason game, I’m guessing he does now.
It won’t be long before he starts hearing the cries to bench Cutler in favor of third-stringer Matt Blanchard, who completed 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards. I’m guessing the cries will arrive by halftime of Thursday’s Chargers-Bears game.