CHICAGO — Here's what we learned in the Bears' 20-19 preseason victory over the Jaguars.
First-string “D” underwhelms: Shea McClellin still looks tentative. He flashed on one run stop behind the line of scrimmage, but the Jaguars successfully ran right at McClellin, and he was a half step slow in coverage on Jacksonville’s longest completion. Jon Bostic improved over last week, coming up with a huge third-down stop, attacking downhill fast and helping limit the damage after a long Jacksonville opening drive. Safeties Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray, and nickel back Kelvin Hayden, all struggled. Mundy was flagged for defensive holding on the first series; McCray was late in coverage on a few completions; Hayden committed a killer illegal contact penalty, before allowing Jacksonville’s first touchdown. The unit didn’t respond well to the constant movement and fast pace of the Jaguars’ offense. There was good news, though. Trevor Scott again was very active getting first-team nickel reps in place of Willie Young, and Stephen Paea got nice penetration on a sack. Jared Allen had a solid debut, just missing his first sack as a Bear and chasing hard down the line for a tackle for loss
First-team offense strong through air, not on ground: Jay Cutler was efficient in his two series, directing a scoring drive and finding his big three while benefiting from strong protection. The O-line for the second straight week failed to get any push on the ground. Roberto Garza was overmatched against Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller, and even a rare three tight end formation couldn’t get Matt Forte any room to maneuver on the right side.
Backup QB battle unchanged: Jimmy Clausen came down to earth this week while playing the second and third quarters, throwing an interception on his second series. He had an open receiver in the middle of the field, but was late delivering as his ball was tipped and picked. Jordan Palmer entered in the fourth quarter, engineering a scoring drive on his second series. He made a nice throw down the seam to Matt Mulligan, but Ka’Deem Carey did the majority of the heavy lifting. Palmer was in control and took what the defense gave him on the game-winning drive. But it's hard to make too much of a drive dominated by several checkdowns and Senorise Perry runs against Jacksonville's reserves.
Shaun Draughn, Josh Morgan help their cause: Draughn took full advantage of his carries this week, hitting the hole decisively, while also making a pair of impressive grabs. Carey did get in the endzone on a 1-yard gain, but he was stuffed on several rushes. Eric Weems’ lone contribution was a nice downfield block, while Josh Morgan continued his momentum from early in the week catching all of his intended targets.
Personnel changes: The Bears made several special teams tweaks after last week’s issues, moving rookie Brock Vereen to the perimeter and Sherrick McManis inside on kickoff coverage unit. Chicago also flipped the long snapper-punter combinations, with Brandon Hartson and Pat O’Donnell working together, and Chad Rempel snapping to Tress Way. Hayden took over for an injured Kyle Fuller, manning the slot with Tim Jennings remaining outside. Michael Ola got the nod at right tackle with Jordan Mills down, eventually moving to left tackle, with rookie Charles Leno appearing at right tackle.