Justin Fields looked the part. The Bears seem to have come away without suffering significant injuries. And Chicago’s football team out-scored its Miami counterparts. Most importantly, a good time was had by all.
• I wanted to frame Bullets around the solid work done by players who aren’t Fields, but I would be remiss if I didn’t lead with this:
I’ll never forget where I was for Justin Fields’ first touchdown pic.twitter.com/98wwql3LxL
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) August 14, 2021
• An in-person view of Fields’ first touchdown is something I’ll always remember. Sure, it’s a rushing score. And I get that it’s a preseason game. OK, so it came against Dolphins backups. I don’t care. Because, ultimately, the vibes that came in that moment were simply immaculate. It came with fans in the stands and after a first half in which Chicago’s offense didn’t generate much traction. Which means that the Bears made halftime adjustments. That’s neat. I’m just lucky to have chosen seats in that end zone. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Which, of course, is a familiar refrain I’ve said often since Chicago was fortunate enough to see Carolina and Denver pass on Fields to take cornerbacks on April 29, 2021.
• Fields is going to throw someone onto this roster. And I think Rodney Adams has the potential to be that guy:
On 3rd-and-9, Justin Fields showed how his game can be such a headache for defenses. Rolled out and his running ability baited a defender, which opened up the passing opportunity to Rodney Adams for a 13-yard gain. This is really a great play. pic.twitter.com/Z65ah8WBIG
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) August 14, 2021
• Adams came away with 4 catches and 57 receiving yards, highlighted by what you see above. Fans who have been lucky enough to see the Bears at camp have likely seen Adams haul in passes from Fields at Halas Hall. I imagine on way to make a positive impression on a coaching staff would be to become a favorite target of QB1-of-the-future. Good quarterbacks elevate the pass-catchers around them, and we might be witnessing that with Fields and Adams. At minimum, Adams has certainly caught our eye as a possible depth option.
• One thing that could help Adams’ cause is Javon Wims‘ continuing struggles. Last we saw Wims in a game situation, he was dropping a sure-fire touchdown in the end zone at what was then called the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome. This preseason should’ve provided Wims with a clean slate as he gears up in a battle for a roster spot. And it still could over the next two games. HOWEVER, an inexcusable false start in a 3rd-and-8 situation on Fields’ first drive brought boo-birds and could be one of those things that puts him behind the 8-ball in his quest to make the season-opening roster.
• Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but I like what I saw from the Bears’ defense. I won’t go as far as to “love” just yet because I need to be careful putting myself out there. But that group showed that, once again, it has the depth to be as good as it has been in recent years.
• You know your team is living right when the likes of Mike Pennel (1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QB Hit), Alec Ogletree (3 solo tackles, 1 TFL), and Charles Snowden (1 solo tackle, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB Hits) are making splash plays. Pennel and Ogletree are the latest examples of late-summer free agent signings who fit needs and provided immediate upgrades at their respective positions. Snowden is an undrafted free agent who probably should’ve been taken at some point on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Finding contributors from unexpected places is always neat. As is seeing them put positive plays on tape — even if it is just the preseason.
• On the other side of the spectrum, I didn’t like what I saw out of the special teams unit. Don’t get me wrong. I’m digging Cairo Santos (53-yard make) and Brian Johnson (44-yard make + 2 PATs), but the rest of the group has issues. The punt coverage was lacking. There were muffed kicks and penalties on returns. One way to make a Week 1 roster is by flashing on special teams. Luckily for players on the fringe, there is (1) tape to dissect and (2) two games remaining to strut your stuff. It’s just that yesterday’s efforts made for an inauspicious debut.
• If Johnson continues to make kicks, the Bears will have first-world kicker problems. They will either have a practice squad leg who could be invaluable should something happen to Santos. Or they will have a kicker who can be spun in a trade for a Day 2 or 3 draft pick. Don’t underestimate the possibility of that happening. Remember, the Vikings once sent a 2020 fifth-round pick to Baltimore in a deal to acquire Justin Tucker’s backup.
• Artavis Pierce came up with a 51-yard rush on Saturday afternoon. A busy running backs room that also featured David Montgomery, Damien Williams, and Khalil Herbert at the top of the depth chart could find even more depth if someone like Pierce puts out some more good tape. Should he contribute on special teams, it will make the Bears’ decisions in this position group that much easier.
• Preseason snap counts, because I know you care:
Preseason Bears snap counts pic.twitter.com/mFE774V2rH
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) August 15, 2021
• Worth noting to see that Lachavious Simmons was in on all 52 offensive snaps. It’s almost as if the coaching staff (and front office?) wants to get as much tape as it can on the 2020 seventh-round pick for evaluation purposes. Elijah Wilkinson was able to get 40 snaps at left tackle, which could be valuable for the swing lineman with experience at both guard and tackle.
• Ain’t this the truth:
• That Justin Fields-Trey Lance showdown in Week 8 will be a heck of a time:
• Seeing Anthony Miller leave Saturday’s Texans-Packers game with another shoulder injury stinks. Seeing a player who was just sent to Houston and given a clean slate with a new team in a contract year flat out stinks:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 15, 2021
• I see things are going swimmingly in the land of Vikings:
#Vikings rookie QB Kellen Mond's response to Mike Zimmer saying he must be more vocal. "I don’t necessarily know what he means by that on my personality. I thought I did a good job in the huddle and getting certain guys going."
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 15, 2021