Though the Bears' offense appeared to struggle against the New York Giants on Saturday night, quarterback Jay Cutler was upbeat that concerns about the key issues -- like Roy Williams and the offensive line -- will be allayed by the Sept. 11 opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
The offensive line allowed just one sack against the Giants after giving up nine in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.
''I think we're definitely getting there,'' Cutler said. ''The Giants game was a huge confidence booster for not only the offensive line, but for me, and in their ability to protect me, and that's to do some of the stuff we want to do like seven-step drops and get rid of the ball quick and spread it out some. The more I work with them and they work with me, the more comfortable we're going to get.''
Williams has yet to catch a pass in two preseason games. He had one drop against the Giants.
''He's figuring stuff out,'' Cutler said. ''Missing those days in training camp [before newly signed players were eligible to participate] kind of set him back a little bit. But you can tell he's thinking. We do things a little different from Detroit and obviously Dallas. There are just nuances in our offense -- you can see he's still kind of processing and thinking through.
''Once he gets everything hammered home, I think this week's going o b a goo stepping-stone for him.''
More from Jay's weekly press conference:
On the passing game:
''Film [from the Giants game] was pretty good. I think offensive line did pretty good Once they settled in there, they got a little rhythm and improved greatly from first game to second game.
''Receiver-wise and stuff we still have a ways to go, but I think we're heading in the right direction. Once we get those final 5-6 guys hammered down and start getting a little more reps this week and a little more playing time, I think we're going to be fine.''
''I think Devin's probably had one of the best camps of his career. It's exciting. We just have to get everybody on the same page and hammer out little details. We're close. We're really close.''
On the Bears' struggles in the red zone against the Giants:
''We didn't really install anything for that game, so I'm not really all that worried about it. You never really know what you're going to get in the second preseason game, and we didn't really have anything up to go against them. Red zone and short-yardage and man stuff, that's Mike's specialty [offensive coordinator Mike Martz], so he's going to be able to dial up stuff for us.''
On J'Marcus Webb's and Lance Louis' improvement from the first preseason game:
''J'Marcus was like night-and-day different. He went against a talented pass rusher over there and he did a heck of a job on that.
''Lance, he got dinged up a little bit on his shin, but he fought through it. Whether he would have done that last year or not, we don't know that. But he fought through it and played well.''
On Marion Barber:
''Different back -- you know we haven't that kind of back around here in awhile. Downhill guy, makes great cuts and I think he's got really good vision inside the tackle box. So we need to get him incorporated a little bit more maybe. He seems like a cold-weather, downhill Chicago type of guy. Those backs are really valuable in November, December, short-yardage goal-line, he can bring a lot to the table for us.''
On returning to Nashville, where he attended college at Vanderbilt, for the Bears' game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday:
''I had a great experience there. Four and a half years. We had a great group of coaches, great group of guys. It's going to be fun getting back there.''