I got home from vacation (it was booked before I was assigned to the Bears) last night just in time to turn on the Chargers game. I've been gone for two weeks, and therefore my observations may not be much more informed than your own.
That said, here is what struck me while watching the Bears fall to the Chargers 25-10 in a preseason opener that revealed little.
The inability to run the ball and rush the passer were two huge weaknesses last season. Based on Saturday night's performance, there's no reason to think they have dramatically improved. Again, preseason games are often a mirage. Don't read to much into a glorified scrimmage. But the offensive line didn't get a push and the defensive line didn't get consistent pressure, even though Philip Rivers throwing quick passes early in the game was one of the reasons for that.
I liked Henry Melton's motor. The second-year defensive tackle impressed me with his will to get to the quarterback. After being sidelined because of an injury as a rookie, Melton seems to be coming on strong. That's a good sign for a defensive line that needs he and Jarron Gilbert to step up and make an impact.
I, like everyone else, liked what I saw from Major Wright. The rookie safety brings a bite to the back end of the Bears' D that is much needed.
Brian Urlacher looked like Brian Urlacher, which is another good sign. It didn't look like he had a lost a step at all as he ranged from sideline to sideline on the first few series.
Matt Mayberry impressed me as well. The rookie free-agent linebacker whiffed on a sack opportunity but always seemed to be in the right place making the right play. I didn't think he had a chance to make a roster deep at linebacker but now I'm not so sure. The kid has the look of somebody who might have a longer-than-expected career --- if not here, than elsewhere.
The first-team offense really showed some explosiveness and big-play ability, which could be what separates this Bears team from any in recent memory. The offense needs to be special to make up for question marks in other areas. In the short time the first unit was on the field, it proved that it has that potential.
The first exhibition game hadn't even ended and already it appears the Bears made a mistake by not signing a veteran backup quarterback. Nothing against Caleb Hanie, who left the game after injuring his shoulder in the third quarter, but the Bears have an inexperienced undrafted free agent and a sixth-round draft pick backing up the most important position on the field. The extent of Hanie's injury is not yet known, and likely won't be announced today, according to a team spokesperson. However, if it's serious, the Bears could be in big trouble. Rookie Dan LeFevour is clearly a long-term project who is not ready to be pressed into duty, which leaves exactly ... no one ... to step up if Cutler is injured. More and more, not signing a veteran backup looks like a HUGE oversight.
I thought Kahlil Bell took an early and decisive lead over Garrett Wolfe in the battle to be the third running back. Wolfe is a good special teams player, though, which counts for a lot.
The special teams were horrid against the Chargers. Don't worry. They'll improve. They always do under Dave Toub.