The Chicago Bears kicked off their 100 year anniversary season at home against the Panthers in the team’s first preseason action of the year.
A lot of Bears fans came into this game thinking we wouldn’t see any of the big-time starters, but we were all surprised to see Mitch Trubisky not on the inactive list. I’m sure everyone thought we would see at least one pass from Trubisky, but once again, we were surprised as he only had three hand offs.
Since I had plenty of time to pay attention to the rest of the team due to Trubisky’s limited playing time, I wanted to share the five players who stood out to me at Soldier Field.
These players are not in any particular order.
1. David Montgomery
David Montgomery, the Chicago Bears third-round pick in 2019, did not disappoint. He showed his shiftiness by being able to hit a hole and bounce out of it to more open grass. The vision was also on display, as well as his toughness to break tackles and ability to run with power.
Montgomery was targeted three times in the air and caught each of those passes for 30 yards with one of those catches going for 23 yards off a screen. He finished with 16 yards on the ground with only three carries. That’s an average of 5.3 yards a carry. Montgomery also reached the end zone at Soldier Field for the first time of his career with a seven-yard TD run.
Even though he was overwhelmed by two blitzers on one occasion, Montgomery blocked well against the pass rush for most of his reps as well. Now it’s time to see if he can build off this performance next week against the New York Giants.
2. Ian Bunting
The 6-foot-7, 255-pounder had what I’ll call “weird night.” He ended the game with three receptions for 77 yards, but it wasn’t a completely smooth night. Bunting also had a false start penalty and fumble.
Regardless, you have to believe that his showing was huge.
Not only for him to get tape out, but with the back injury to Adam Shaheen and Trey Burton working back from his hernia, one has to think that games like this only help Bunting moving forward. His athleticism jumps off the screen. So does his ability to run after catch. He seems to always fight for extra yards, and should only get better once he learns more of this offense.
3. Deon Bush
Bush had himself a game.
He played exceptional coverage on the opposing receivers. His pursuit to the ball was aggressive and violent. Bush managed to record two solo tackles, batted two balls away, and finished with an interception off rookie quarterback Will Grier.
You have to wonder if Bush has a chip on his shoulder for when the Bears have to make a decision on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the future. I Suspect to see him on the field a lot this season with opposing offenses starting to go more 12 personnel (1 RB and 2 TE).
4. Abdullah Anderson
Nobody expected this, but it happened … Anderson had a heck of a game; he really showed that he has grown as a player. Last preseason he would show up on your screen a couple times, but nothing spectacular.
He was constantly applying pressure, and it was easily evident that he added rush moves to his game. Last season you can tell that Anderson was used to beating people with his quickness off the ball, but now, he is utilizing a plethora of rush moves. He was all over the action as he recorded four solo tackles on the night. Let’s see if Anderson can make a push for a rotation spot.
5. Josh Woods
Woods showed vast improvement compared to preseason a year ago. He was noticeably quicker to the ball, and finished his tackles. Woods attacked ball carriers all night including a tackle where he caused a fumble which was recovered by linebacker James Vaughters. (Remember: that play lead to the David Montgomery TD run.)
In my opinion, Woods should be taking more snaps away from Nick Kwiatkowski. He finished with six tackles and a tackle for loss.
Just because I didn’t name more doesn’t mean there weren’t others that stood out.
And remember, by no means does a player playing well in one game mean that they will play the same or better in Week 2 or even all the way to Week 4 of the preseason. These guys have to continue to stay hungry and strive to be better.
The Bears have one of the deeper teams we’ve seen in a long time. Stay tuned as we will have to see who steps up more next week, or who doesn’t bring it. So, sit back and relax and get ready for a roller-coaster preseason.