AL HAMNIK: Give the Bears some time to iron out the wrinkles

2013-08-17T17:00:00Z 2013-08-24T23:08:08Z AL HAMNIK: Give the Bears some time to iron out the wrinklesAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
August 17, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

I've opened the window. Insert one foot through, take my hand, and you'll be off the ledge and safe inside.

These Bears can push you to the brink. I know.

They're 1-1 in preseason and still haven't shown signs of the explosive offense they were promising fans.

But it's early. Auditions continue for the 53 available roster spots and a handful of defensive veterans are still nursing injuries.

Here's what we do know as of this moment:

• Quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard have combined to throw one touchdown pass, that coming from Cutler.

• The Bears have been outgained 442-263 in passing yardage.

• Third-stringer Blanchard had the best stats, completing 16 of 19 for 192 yards but broke the left knuckle on his non-throwing hand against the Chargers and will miss the remainder of preseason.

The Bears wasted no time, and Saturday they signed Jordan Palmer, kid brother of Arizona Cardinal Carson Palmer.

• Of Chicago's five touchdowns, three are by rush, one by air, and one on defense.

• The Bears have allowed 10 sacks in two games.

• They have been outgained 675-476 in total yardage.

• They average 3.8 yards per rushing attempt. Thank heaven for Matt Forte's 8.1 clip.

• Robbie Gould has five field goals in two games, including four in the 33-28 win over San Diego.

• Bears' middle linebacker D.J. Williams and right end Julius Peppers have yet to play because of injuries. Rookie Jon Bostic has returned a pick for a TD as Williams' backup, but he still has problems in coverage.

• Rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills looked good in their first start Thursday, though coach Marc Trestman is quick to add they have a long way to go.

• The tight end is supposed to be an integral part of Trestman's wide-open offense but former Giants' star Martellus Bennett has yet to catch a pass.

• Rookie running back Michael Ford could be a diamond in the rough, returning four kicks for 185 yards this preseason – including a 100-yarder against the Chargers from deep in his end zone.

• Special teams put a smile on the face of coach Joe DeCamillis Thursday with a blocked punt, a 45-yard return by Devin Hester on the game's opening kickoff, Gould's 15 points and Ford's thrilling return to set up a TD. They also recovered a botched punt.

We'll learn even more about the 2013 Bears on Friday night in Oakland, when starters are expected to play at least the first half.

What Trestman doesn't want is having Cutler intercepted in the opening moments like he was against Carolina and San Diego.

"I think I'm not going to get overly upset about it at this point," Trestman said. "Upset is not the word I'm looking for, but I am 'concerned' about it."

Getting the ball to Martellus Bennett would be nice.

"We certainly would like to and he would tell you he was certainly involved in the early play calls," Trestman said. "Situationally, things change so dramatically because of the field position.

"We had a couple of calls to him (Thursday) that went to other receivers. I don't think any of this, passing game-wise, is an indication of the direction we're going."

I suggest giving the Bears two or three regular-season games before climbing back out on the ledge. If it looks that bad, I'll hold the window open.

 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

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