Last week didn’t count. This week doesn’t either. But not counting isn’t the same as not saying anything. Preseason games are a mere hint of the regular season, but the Bears would like to see more positive signs in their toughest preseason test when the 2007 Super Bowl champion Giants (1-0) come to Soldier Field on Saturday night.
Last week didn’t count. This week doesn’t either. But not counting isn’t the same as not saying anything.
“Game 1 was a measuring stick for us,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said.
If that’s so, last week’s 27-20 loss at Buffalo said the 2009 Chicago Bears were weighed, measured and found wanting, from everything to the pass defense (the Bills completed 29 of 34 throws) to the running game (57 total yards) to new quarterback Jay Cutler (30.8 passer rating).
Preseason games are a mere hint of the regular season, but the Bears would like to see more positive signs in their toughest preseason test when the 2007 Super Bowl champion Giants (1-0) come to Soldier Field on Saturday night.
“We’re looking to take a bigger step this week,” defensive tackle Israel Idonije said. “Some of the things that we didn’t do well last week; we’ll do them well this week.”
It would be nice if the improvement started at quarterback. No one is worried about Cutler, but after a poor first showing and a controversial explanation for an interception, the Bears and their fans would like to see him click better with his young, unproven receivers.
“We’ve got to put a few drives together,” Cutler said. “We’ve got to get in the end zone. We pressed a little bit offensively the first game. We’ve just got to relax and play.”
It didn’t help that Earl Bennett and Brandon Rideau, projected to be Chicago’s No. 2 and 3 receivers, combined to catch one pass for six yards last week.
“Players want an opportunity to prove what they can do,” Lovie Smith said. “We’re trying to give them that. You have to earn that opportunity by what you do on the practice field. Receiver-wise, all of the guys have done things here. We need to see more of them in a game situation, and we will.”
The Giants, in many ways, are the perfect team for the Bears to measure themselves against. The Giants and last year’s champion Steelers are the two teams the Bears would most like to resemble, with a physical defense, great pass rush and run-dominated offense led by a young, star quarterback.
“It will be a good test for us,” Smith said. “We have the same philosophy as far as how we want to win football games.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 or email@example.com.