FanShot

Bears starters maul Chargers starters -- what we learned

Da Bears fans at Windy City Gridiron have an in-depth recap planned, so there's no need for me to re-write the wheel with a report on two Cowboys regular season opponents. Suffice to say I understand why the Cowboys scouts were high on Howie's kid Kyle Long (2013 Dallas day invite), he looked dominant tonight with the ESPN cameras and commentators focusing on his performance. If we hadn't received an offer from the 49ers to trade down I'm almost certain OG/RT Kyle Long would've been the pick over Sharif Floyd and even over Fredbeard. Cutler characteristically (he tends to do this at least once or twice per game) threw up a bad pass into double coverage of Brandon Marshall that was picked off, and the Bears got a questionable interception from Chris Conte. The real highlights were: San Diego got something from its 2nd and 3rd teamers after half time when I quit watching, and their starting offensive line looked decent run blocking for Ryan Matthews. Their pass protection however, only confirmed my suspicion that the Chargers may be looking for whomever the Cardinals castoff at tackle before Week 1. The Bears meanwhile feasted on the bad protection the whole half, forcing Phillip Rivers into one pic and a fumble (though in fairness, at least one sack looked like a coverage sack as Rivers had no where to go with the ball). And they did it without Julius Peppers or Henry Melton in the lineup. Chargers rookie receiver Keenan Allen formerly of UCLA also muffed a punt like our very own B.W. Webb did against the Raiders, resulting in the third Chargers turnover of the half. Alabama's D.J. Fluker just doesn't look like an NFL tackle to me, he's another Leonard Davis type guard. Speaking of Texas Exes, one of the few bright spots for San Diego after Ryan Matthews finished for the night was former Longhorns tailback Fozzy Whittaker. Although injuries have ripped them the last two years, Chicago looks like a team that is going to come on strong in the NFC this year. I'd be surprised if they failed to repeat their 10-6 record even with a few injuries. Even their backup QB Josh McCown looked ok though I think the Bears will be looking at the waiver wire before the season starts. Backup QB and TE are about the only weak spots I see on a Bears team that is finally putting the pieces together to compete with the Packers head to head (Marty B blocked well but otherwise was a no-show in catches). The Bears rookie LBs led by Jon Bostic were putting nasty hits on Chargers. While I know we didn't have a shot at Long once we traded down to get the pick used for Terrance Williams, the Bears 5th round tackle Jordan Mills from Louisiana Tech looked like somebody I wish Dallas had drafted as a successor to Doug Free. Mills was solid the entire half alongside Long on the right side of the Bears line. Our old friend Tony Fiammetta was also in his old form blocking for Michael Bush. Of course, the Bears' first teamers' performance should be balanced with the fact that the Chargers pass rush, offensive line, special teams and secondary are a mess right now in spite of Eric Weddle's formidable presence. I think if healthy Romo and company can put 34 points on this Chargers defense which has been hamstrung by the loss of Melvin Ingram for the season. On offense Rivers was missing his starters, ex-Rams receiver Denario Alexander (ACL tear, done for the year) and Malcolm Floyd (supposed to be back for the regular season). Chargers slot man Vincent Brown is coming off an injury he suffered against Dallas in the preseason last year, and even Pro Bowler Antonio Gates had a case of the drops. Overall, I think San Diego is going to be drafting top ten if not top seven come April 2014 unless a bunch of unheralded guys can overcome the injuries to their key starters. If there's one team the rebuilding Raiders have the potential to put a whupping on it's their division rivals the Chargers. Chicago meanwhile is going to give us one hell of a game in December in their house, that might actually be an L unless we find a way to force Cutler into a lot of mistakes. The Bears look like a real playoff contender albeit one whose offense is still overly dependent on Brandon Marshall. Of course, I'll be curious to see how they do in Week 1 against a tough Bengals defense. if there's any defensive coordinator that can figure out how to bait Cutler into INTs and exploit his tunnel vision for Marshall, it's Mike Zimmer.

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