Preseason NFL games are designed to accomplish two things: make the league more money, and help teams develop chemistry before the season begins. The Chicago Bears did exactly that on Friday night when they took on the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago. While the starters only graced the field for a few series, the backups were able to put on quite a show.
Some of the biggest questions surrounding the Bears as the season approaches were focused on key position battles. The starting safety position remains wide open, as well as the No. 2 QB spot, and both positions were on display last night.
While Jordan Palmer has been given the No. 2 QB designation for the time being, momentum is starting to build for Jimmy Clausen to take the job before Week 1 of the regular season. Even though Palmer completed eight of his 11 passes for 104 yards, including a 12-yard TD pass to TE Zach Miller, Clausen seemed to command more confidence with his play.
Going 7-for-13 with 150 yards and two TDs, including an impressive 73-yard strike to speedy WR Chris Williams, Clausen certainly didn’t play like a man who was signed less than three months ago.
Granted, Clausen wasn’t exactly playing against an All Pro defense last night, but his stats aren’t the most important takeaway from the game. His confidence and command of a new offense are the things that will eventually help him overcome Palmer for the No. 2 spot.
The other big position battle that fans got a look at was safety. After parting ways with Major Wright this offseason, and with Chris Conte rehabbing from shoulder surgery, the Bears trotted out a whole new contingent at the position. While the Bears were able to come up with three interceptions on the night, no one player set himself apart at safety.
Free agent pick-up Ryan Mundy grabbed a pick early on in the first quarter, which was largely due to the pressure the Bears’ new defense line was able to create. Rookie fourth-round pick Brock Vereen was able to get plenty of reps working with the second team, and seemed to hold his own coming up with three tackles.
While Mundy and Danny McCray got the starting nod yesterday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mel Tucker send out a different starting combination next week as he narrows down the top two safeties heading into Week 1.
With the ever-struggling Jacksonville Jaguars next up on the schedule, the Bears should definitely be able to sharpen their teeth and better themselves as they gear up for a Week 3 showdown with the defending Super Bowl Champs.
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