Under the spotlight in the Chicago Bears‘ week one victory over the Indianapolis Colts is the play of the younger players on the team. The Bears are counting on these guys to be future core players for the team, and this past Sunday, you saw most these guys perform well.
Starting on offense, the Bears have a few young players on the offensive line in left tackle J’Marcus Webb, right guard Lance Louis and right tackle Gabe Carimi, who overall had solid performances this past Sunday.
Building continuity on the offensive line is important for an offense, and if you are able to do that with younger players, it is definitely an added bonus.
At the skill positions, rookies Alshon Jeffery and Evan Rodriguez both played important roles in the Bears victory. The lights didn’t seem too big for Jeffery, who caught three catches for 80 yards, with one of the catches being a 42 yard back-breaking touchdown. Rodriguez did a good job lead blocking for running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush. He also did a superb job helping on chip blocks and blitz pick-ups.
The two rookies figure to get more significant roles moving forward. Jeffery seems to have already gain the trust of the coaches and starting quarterback Jay Cutler to be more than just red zone target. Rodriguez’s hard work and effort as a blocker might give him more receiver duties.
On defense, it was encouraging to see the young defensive linemen outside of Julius Peppers flash and make plays. Henry Melton mentioned that he wants to achieve double digit sacks this year, and this past Sunday he got a head start towards reaching that goal with a two sack performance.
Corey Wootton, whose injuries last year derailed his season, made his presence felt on the D-line by getting a strip sack fumble and also on other occasions hurrying the QB on throws. The Bears’ first round draft pick Shea McClellin also contributed on a few pass rushes, show casing the speed and athleticism he was lauded for after general manager Phil Emery made the pick.
The Bears hope both of these guys can develop into full-time starters down the road, giving them a young defensive end duo that can potentially wreak havoc on opposing QB’s for years to come.
Chris Conte and Major Wright prove to be the Bear’s best safety duo last season and they picked up where they left off this past Sunday. Wright collected seven tackles, but what was most important about his performance is that he looks discipline in his zone assignments and tackling.
I stated that Conte needed to be more of a playmaker this season at the free safety position. He let an interception slip through his hands when he cut in front of a WR, but made up for it with a pick in the end zone. Going off last season and what we saw this past Sunday, the Bears could potentially have a pretty good young safety duo.
The older veterans were instrumental in the Bears victory, but the younger guys also had a great hand in the week one victory. If they can keep it up, the Bears could possibly have a young nucleus that they can continue building around.