Last week’s first pre-season game wasn’t too exciting and the Bears didn’t impress anyone around the NFL. The gave up a total of nine sacks (four coming when first-team offense in) to a mediocre Buffalo Bills defensive line and K Robbie Gould missed two field goal attempts.
On the brightside, RB Marion Barber was impressive carrying the ball seven times for 45 yards and undrafted free agent WR Kris Adams caught three passes for 58 yards.
Also, fourth string RB Kahlil Bell carried the ball 13 times for 78 yards and reeled in two catches for 48 yards. DT Amobi Okoye led the defense with two sacks and undrafted free agent DB Mike Holmes picked off Bills backup QB Levi Brown.
So, who are some players Bears fans should be paying attention tonight?
1. Chester Taylor, RB, 31.
Taylor signed a four-year $12 million dollar contract last off-season, but he underperformed rushing 112 times for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged a measly 2.4 ypc and just wasn’t the change of pace back the Bears envisioned he was when they brought him in. With a base salary of around $1.2 million for the season, Taylor could come cheap.
He carried the ball three times for three yards last week against the Bills in week one of the preseason. With Matt Forte number one, Marion Barber number two, Taylor has to step it up this pre-season to show why he is valuable to the offense. Third year back Kahlil Bell has been impressive so far this training camp, so tonight could be a big night for the veteran Taylor.
Fans weren’t pleased with him last season, but if he steps up this could be the best four backs the Bears have had since Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson ran the show in 06′.
2. Vernon Gholston, DE, 25.
Labeled a bust so far in his three years in the NFL, Gholston was a top ten pick by the Jets in the 08′ draft.
With DE Corey Wootton hurting his knee in last week’s game Gholston’s chances to stick with the team likely have improved.
Gholston and undrafted free agent Mario Addison out of Troy will get some looks tonight opposite Julius Peppers. Both players potentially could make the team depending on the length of Wootton’s injury.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli brings the most out of players, just look at Israel Idonije, the guy had eight sacks his entire career until last year when he recorded eight. Gholston could become better with Marinelli motivating him.
3. Lance Louis, G, 26
Louis is currently the starting right guard during the pre-season, but he will have to improve off last week’s performance if he wants to stick.
He is a young player who has shown some flashes, but has never shown why he should be a starter. He better step up tonight.
Roberto Garza is currently the starting center, replacing Olin Kreutz, but the Bears signed veteran Chris Spencer for a reason, so Louis knows if he falters Garza will take over.
Louis needs a solid performance game tonight for his own sake and for the Bears sake.
4. Major Wright, S, 23.
Wright is penciled in at free safety with Danieal Manning departing to Houston in free agency. The Bears drafted him last season in the third round for a reason.
The Bears like him and from what I’ve heard he has settled into the starting gig pretty well. The Bears used him last season in three saftety packages, but he was consistently banged up.
Look for him to be a big part of the defense, he needs to know where to be at all times. The good thing is the Bears cover two defense isn’t tough to learn and Wright has familiarity with the team.
Wright needs to impress tonight so the Bears coaches can take a breath of relief because he will be a major part of the defense, funny cause his name is Major.
5. Roy Williams, WR, 30.
Williams was released this off-season by the Cowboys and he was immediately linked to the Bears because of his time in Mike Martz’s offense in Detroit.
Williams never lived up to his potential in his two years in Dallas, so for the Bears to bring him in as their big receiver isn’t a bad idea. He is familiar with Martz’s scheme, but he isn’t completely in shape to this point.
Look for Williams to be a big part of this offense sooner or later. Cutler needs a big target and Williams will provide one. Tonight could be big for Williams and Cutler’s chemistry.
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