What rookie has stood out the most during camp and the first two preseason games? -- @deepdishdeclan from Twitter
I don’t think there is any question Kyle Fuller, the first-round draft pick, has proven to be the most polished and game-ready of the rookie class. He hasn’t had an abundance of splash plays but he also hasn’t looked out of place since defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and defensive backs coach Jon Hoke inserted him with the first nickel unit during the spring.
The Bears figured they were getting an NFL-ready player in Fuller and I would expect him to log significant playing time when the season begins. He’s on the left side in the nickel package and is going to be tested by some of the game’s best receivers. There is a good chance he will see plenty of Bills’ first-round pick Sammy Watkins in the season opener.
Who has made more of an impact thus far, Ego Ferguson or Will Sutton? -- @PressCoverage16 from Twitter
That is a good question. Both have been working primarily with the second team and at this point I think Ferguson, the second-round pick, has made a bigger impact or has proven that he’s more ready to contribute in a rotation.
This is a little bit of an apples-to-oranges discussion because Ferguson is a nose tackle and Sutton, the third-round pick, is a three-technique.
Ferguson’s strength at 6-2, 315 pounds, is apparent. He’s shown the ability to hold the point of attack and come off and make a play. He did that a couple times in the preseason opener against the Eagles.
Sutton was active in the last preseason game against the Jaguars and made some hustle plays downfield. He looks like he still has some work to do to fit into the rotation, and at this point he’s not ready for three-down action. If Sutton plays, it will probably be in a pass-rushing situation.
Why is the run blocking so atrocious and the pass protection so good? -- @thejohnnash from Twitter
Yes, the Bears need to get the running game going but when it comes to opening holes for Matt Forte let’s keep in mind he’s had seven carries through two preseason games. That is a miniscule sample size. Timing is a key element to the running game and that takes work. You don’t want to expose your workhorse back to many tackles in preseason, though.
Remember, it wasn’t long ago that Kevin Jones’ career was ended in a preseason game at Soldier Field with an ugly ankle injury. I wouldn’t be too worried about the run game at this point. How a starting running back performs in preseason isn’t a very useful tool when forecasting production in the regular season.
The Bears haven’t had their line settled yet either. Right tackle Jordan Mills has missed both games and right guard Kyle Long was held out of the opener.
I had some hopes for Josh Morgan. Does he make the team, and if so, in what role? -- @TomNossem from Twitter
Morgan has a chance to carve out a spot on the roster but the addition of Santonio Holmes will put more pressure on him. Let’s see what Morgan does this week when he's elevated to the No. 3 role after Eric Weems was miscast in that spot.
When you're looking at the depth chart at wide receiver, especially for the three or four players (don’t know how many they will keep) that will be kept after starters Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, keep a close look at special teams contributions. The same goes for the depth chart at running back. What players can be counted on to aid special teams? Those reserves have to play key roles on teams.
Morgan had a nice game against the Jaguars and needs to follow it up with more strong performances. He’s strong and willing as a run blocker so he has that going for him. I’d expect Holmes to push for the No. 3 role too.
How do you see the final linebacker slots being determined? Could guys like Khaseem Greene be on the outs due to special teams considerations? -- @CoreyBohler from Twitter
Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said earlier in training camp that Greene had been much improved on special teams. Just like at running back, special teams will play a major part of the decision process on what players are kept on the back end of the roster. I’d say Greene, given his draft status a year ago, has a good chance but certainly nothing is guaranteed for him.
Are the beloved (Bears) going to pick up another pass catching tight end? Really bummed about losing Zach Miller. -- @mike48007 from Twitter
That is a difficult position to fill and right now, with 90-man rosters, there isn’t much in the way of able-bodied tight ends on the street. If there is an unsigned veteran right now, chances are he has a heavy medical history, the kind that scares teams off.
It was a particularly poor draft for tight ends and there weren’t as many opportunities to fortify the position behind Martellus Bennett. I think Dante Rosario can offer a little in the passing game. Like last year, the Bears will surely look to see if any players they like are cut loose when the wave of cuts come.
Are the punt returner/kick returner positions the main problem with special teams or is it something more? -- @Jared_Jennette from Twitter
This is a little bit of a chicken-and-egg discussion, isn’t it? I know the Bears are working to iron out special teams as a whole and that means the returner and the 10 others on the field for those plays. They need to settle on a core group and it will be interesting to see who is deployed where on Friday night in Seattle.
As I’ve said in this space before, I don’t understand why Eric Weems was given the opportunities he was, but that ship has sailed. General manager Phil Emery will surely be keeping a close eye on the waiver wire when it comes to filling this spot.
Are you surprised at all that Earl Bennett has not been brought back? Is there bad blood now between both camps? -- @GrizzlyKurt from Twitter
No. I don’t have knowledge of any bad blood between the sides. I got a couple questions along this line and you have to keep in mind Bennett declined a chance to remain with the Bears already. He was offered a chance to stick with the team in the spring if he agreed to a pay cut for the second consecutive year. That right there is proof the Bears were interested in keeping him around.
I think Marquess Wilson would have been slotted ahead of Bennett had the veteran stuck around because Bennett’s ceiling has been well established. That Bennett remains unsigned should give you an indication of how he’s viewed around the NFL right now. The receiver-needy Browns had him and let him go.
Why haven't the bears tried Pat O'Donnell at kicking off? It looks like Robbie Gould isn't getting the distance and O'Donnell has before. -- @chibob57 from Twitter
Gould has 119 touchbacks over the previous three seasons, achieving a touchback on 50.4 percent of his kickoffs. He’s been solid in that area and I think it is worth keeping in mind that the Bears might want Gould to not try for touchbacks every time in preseason in order to ensure the coverage team has the opportunity to cover kicks.
O’Donnell was drafted to solve what was a serious issue for the Bears in the punting game last season. I think it is best to allow him to focus solely on that and not divide his attention.
Adrian Wilson. Any gas left in the tank? Enough speed left to play safety in the NFL? -- @IURyan from Twitter
I’ve been skeptical about Wilson’s chances since he was signed. I don’t know that he’s stood out to this point. He turns 35 in Week 6. If Wilson isn’t a starter, I don’t know that he can contribute on special teams and reserve defensive backs must have a role on teams.
Will Bears starters go three quarters against the Seahawks Friday night? -- @R4one from Twitter
Good question and I don’t think the Bears are dishing out answers when it comes to this just yet. A lot of times teams will have starters play into the second half in order to go through some simple halftime adjustments.
Last year in the third preseason game at Oakland, Bears coach Marc Trestman elected to begin the third quarter with primarily reserves.
Snaps counts are more useful when tracking playing time than quarters, and the offense had 36 plays in the first half and the defense got 25.
You stated in a tweet that the Santonio Holmes signing was more for depth then beefing up offense but I disagree. Assuming he's healthy and has his speed, what slot corner can guard him on (a) crossing route over the middle? If used correctly, I liken him to T.Y. Hilton. – Elijah, Chicago, from email
Hilton is 24 and entering his third season in the NFL, perhaps ready to break out as a No. 1 receiver for the Colts. Holmes is 30 and trying to rekindle his NFL career after two injury-plagued seasons with the Jets.
I think you’re overestimating Holmes’ value right now. If his skill set was on par with Hilton, he would have been signed by a team long ago.
There are a multitude of factors for why he was on the street. Holmes has been most effective as an X-receiver and Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery have probably lined up on the inside more than Holmes.
If everything is right and Holmes proves to be healthy, I believe he can help the Bears offense. But the role of the No. 3 receiver in this offense is really complementary when you consider what tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte add to the passing game.
That is why, in my mind, the addition of Holmes is more of a security move in the event something happens to one of the top two receivers. The Bears were not thrilled with options for a No. 3 after the injury to Marquess Wilson and would be in a bit of a bind if they needed to come up with a starter. Holmes is a possibility now. We have to see how he performs and how quickly he can assimilate the offense.
Let’s not compare him to ascending playmakers though. Holmes is a former Super Bowl MVP but he’s had one 1,000-yard season in his career.