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Sunday, September 26

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Bears Mon Aug 27 2012

Bears Avoid Injury in Preseason Victory

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngNobody got hurt. The 20-17 win is meaningless in the grand scheme of a season, so you look at the injury report to make sure it didn't get longer a week after losing a pair of safeties (one for the season) and a starting special teams ace.

Rookie punter Ryan Quigley, believe it or not, was the number one focus for the Bears in what's typically the most scrutinized preseason game due to the extended playing time the 'ones' receive. With starter Adam Podlesh sidelined (for what is sounding like an indeterminate amount of time) with a hip flexor, a major piece of the special teams unit was a question mark. And as much as a punter can rise to the occasion, Quigley did.

Despite getting one of his kicks blocked (not his fault), the Boston College product booted seven balls at an average of 43.6 with a net of just a yard less. His punts hanged in the air for what seemed like forever, allowing the coverage unit plenty of time to fly to the returner. He also has done a great job holding on field goals - which is a totally thankless job until you show up in the lowlights for fumbling a snap.

The safeties weren't of great concern primarily because the names of the guys playing (along with their skill level - or lack thereof) are well known. Despite Eli Manning tossing the ball around the field at will, the struggles in pass defense had little to do with safety play, and a lot to do with a rough game from Charles Tillman and the linebackers in pass coverage. Most of the passes were excellent throws into mediocre coverage, but it's nothing to go ballistic over. Sometimes QBs are on fire, and Manning was.

Jay Cutler was far from that definition in the third preseason game. Despite lofting a nice TD pass to Brandon Marshall on a misplay by Giants safety Kenny Phillips, Cutler struggled with his throws due to some really sloppy footwork (the problem that has always, and will always keep him from being a truly elite QB).

The much maligned offensive line was fine in pass protection with only a few mistakes (none resulting in sacks), but the run blocking was atrocious. The starters were barely able to move the defensive starters for New York, and needed an early second half run of 24 yards against the backups for Matt Forte to have a respectable stat line.

Marshall said after the game
that, "The only people that can really stop us is us." Saying something like that isn't totally crazy when considering the Bears struggled getting plays into the huddle on time in recent years - something the team has had no trouble with during the preseason. So they have that going for them...which is nice.

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