Here are a couple initial thoughts from Thursday night's 37-30 loss for the Bears to San Francisco at Soldier Field:
*** The offensive line did a much better job but this wasn't the Seattle front the Bears were facing. A San Francisco defense that had been blitzing a good amount and sacked Green Bay quarterbacks six times last week suddenly stopped coming after the passer. Still, it was a better effort.
*** That put Kyle Orton in position to succeed and he did just that. Orton was 10-for-17 and there were at least two drops in there. Wide receiver Rashied Davis acknowledged he should have had his hands on a third touchdown catch, that the hot pass was off his hands because he pulled up short on his route.
*** If you're wondering what happened to wide receiver Marty Booker, so is he. The veteran wide receiver barely saw the field again and isn't sure what is going on. Booker has one pass to him all night and it never reached him.
*** Guard Terrence Metcalf is scheduled to return to practice Monday, less than three weeks after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
"I'm praying they allow me to," Metcalf said when asked if he expects to play in the preseason finale Thursday at Cleveland. "I've already been doing [simulated snaps] and stuff like that."
Josh Beekman has played in Metcalf's place and is in the picture for the job now as well.
*** Defensive end Mark Anderson sat out following surgery to have one pin inserted into his right thumb. He figures he'll be best off resting through the Cleveland game to be ready for the start of the season.
*** Rookie running back Matt Forte looked better, too, churning out 44 yards on 11 carries. The 1-2 combination the Bears thought about when they signed Kevin Jones could be coming together. He passed the latest hurdle by getting through the game. Jones was only in for six snaps but he had a 34-yard run on his first play. That's a debut that will warrant attention.
*** Looks like special teams coordinator Dave Toub can will great plays out of anyone now. The return game has been dynamic with Devin Hester not doing a whole lot. The Bears have blocked three punts in two weeks and Israel Idonije, who blocked three kicks last season, got one.
*** Speaking of special teams, long snapper Pat Mannelly, who was sidelined with a neck stinger, said he is not sure if he will play at Cleveland. The plan is for him to definitely be back for the opener at Indianapolis.
*** The most striking thing about the defensive effort by the first team, you know besides the missed tackles, was what looked to be a completely listless effort. You can bet the defensive players will be in some l-o-n-g-g-g-g-g-g meetings today.
*** Any worthwhile explanation yet for why Rashied Davis didn't get on the field more last season? Any idea who is going to replace him on special teams if he wins a starting job as a receiver? Davis played a pretty crucial role on teams during the second half of last season.
*** Defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek sure returned with a vengeance. He was a force near the goalline and it can't be overstated how much energy he brings to the huddle.
*** Were the Bears just working Kevin Payne in with the first team at strong safety to get him some experience with the ones, or is there suddenly a competition brewing with Brandon McGowan?
*** Jamar Williams looked comfortable in reserve at middle linebacker. He was one defender who made some plays, racking up seven tackles.
*** Through three preseason games, the Bears' average time of possession is an even 25 minutes. That's not getting off the bus running. It's also not stopping the opponent from running.
*** This is their first 0-3 start since they went 0-4 in the 1998 preseason.
*** The stop of the night? Security personnel prevented Jesse Jackson and his entourage from entering the locker room prior to the game. As Sun-Times teammate Joe Cowley pointed out not long ago on the White Sox beat, Jackson was also rebuffed recently trying to enter the White Sox clubhouse.
*** Look for roster cuts to come soon, perhaps over the weekend. The Bears need to release five players to get down to 75 by 3 p.m. Tuesday. Wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen hasn't played in the last two games and could be a candidate. Same goes for cornerback Leslie Majors. New long snapper Thomas Gafford is only needed until Mannelly is healthy.
*** Lovie Smith meets the press this afternoon at 3:45 and I am sure much of the focus will be on the defense and the effort, or lack of effort. We'll try to check in before then with some more notes.
A mailbag Q&A will be coming on Wednesday, so start firing in some questions. We'll do the best we can to get as many answered as possible.