NASHVILLE -- Safety Chris Harris has been among the most vocal players, downplaying the significance of the preseason.
But last night, I watched a chunk of the second half of the Green Bay Packers-Indianapolis Colts game.
Let's establish what's important. First -- and above all else -- a team wants to get out of a preseason game healthy. Winning by a large margin but losing a key player, like the New York Giants did last week, isn't worth it. Not by a long shot.
Second, regardless of playing time, you want your starters to look sharp. Now, that doesn't always mean touchdown drives or, for a defense, forcing a three-and-out. But, they need to do some positive things, which are fairly obvious.
Lastly, you want your entire team to play as if there's something at stake, even if there's not.
That's what I saw last night from the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. Aaron Rodgers was long removed from the game, but they still wanted to win the game. Graham Harrell led the Packers to a terrific touchdown drive, and he tossed a two-point conversion to tie the game. Then, after an onside kick, they recovered, moved the ball again and set up a 50-yard field goal from Mason Crosby.
The Packers learned about some players last night -- I would guess the rookie tight end Ryan Taylor stood out -- and Crosby got some practice with an onside kick and a long field goal, with a game on the line.
Yes, these are glorified practices. But, whatever the Bears displayed last week against the Giants isn't acceptable. That's probably why Bears coach Lovie Smith was about as upset as I've seen him in my short time on the beat, after the game.
Win or lose, the Bears need a better overall effort tonight at LP Field against the Tennessee Titans.
Sure, the Bears were 0-4 in the preseason last year and won the NFC North. But, don't champions and competitors always want to win? Now that doesn't mean playing the starters deep into the fourth quarter, against a bunch of the other team's scrubs. And I do see the value in Dave Toub fielding a bunch of rookies in trying to evaluate what he has and living with the consequences. But, by and large, what I saw last week wasn't any near the level of intensity that I saw last night from the Packers, and that should definitely change.