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Recent posts by Eric Edholm
CHICAGO — I was one of about two dozen media members whose Internet wasn't cooperating last night in the press box, so my observations from last night's Bears-Raiders game had to be tabled to today.
Truth be told, it was a pretty ugly game, and I half-considered not to write anything at all (you know what moms say about that), but even admit the ugliness there were some bright spots.
I focused more on the Raiders, knowing I will be out in Oakland in a little over a week to do a Jason Campbell feature, so I apologize if the coverage seems more slanted their way.
And so, onward with what I spied:
- The Raiders' left tackles did a pretty good job on Bears DE Julius Peppers in his first home game. First, Mario Henderson held up very well against Peppers and muscled him a few times at the point of attack. I thought it was an intriguing move for the Raiders to throw third-rounder Jared Veldheer to the wolves in the first half, but it paid off. Yes, Peppers had a strip sack of Campbell, but Veldheer also stoned Peppers more than once. I thought the rookie looked confident in the matchup. We could see him on the field this season playing some football for the Raiders.
- OLG Robert Gallery also had a pretty decent night after two penalties in the first three plays. He handled Bears DT Tommie Harris well.
- A career revival for Kamerion Wimbley? Maybe, maybe not. I can tell you he looked great last night in gathering four sacks in the first half (didn't play in the second that I saw), but Bears OLT Chris Williams certainly didn't deter him much, acting like a swinging gate. Wimbley used a speed move to the outside the first two times, dipping his shoulder and bending the edge, to take down QB Jay Cutler. On the third sack, Wimbley beat a double team, coming back inside to make the play. Making sack predictions for a player is a bit ridiculous, but if Wimlbey can hit double digits it really would serve this Raiders defense well. They don't have another pure pass rusher on the roster, although Matt Shaughnessy and Trevor Scott could have their moments.
- I like what Campbell is doing. Sure, his INT to TE Zach Miller was a bad read and throw (Campbell said he was hit a little, which affected the arm motion), but he's a pro's pro and should be a huge steadying factor this season at the position. Certainly more than You Know JaWho.
- Miller will be Campbell's leading receiver this season. Book it. He's going to catch 80 or more passes, and I will remember this on Fantasy draft day.
- Head coach Tom Cable liked what he saw in his young DBs, Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden, (as did I) but he said they needed to "finish plays" better. Cable talked about that "college mentality" of being casual and not playing through the whistle. You can get away with it on that level; not here. But they held up well in coverage, other than on the Cutler TD pass to Johnny Knox, which was a case of Ware breaking coverage when Cutler rolled out.
- Raiders S Stevie Brown, a late seventh-rounder, made an interception. The word on the street is that he has made plays all through camp. Brown was more of a box safety in college but has looked pretty good in space. When asked about Brown's play, Cable had a sly little smile on his face. I think he likes Brown and really wants to find a space on the roster for him.
- Some Bears stuff ... It was a quiet night for the receivers. Devin Aromashodu did little. Knox dropped a pass. Devin Hester looked very fast (he is) on two end-arounds but otherwise was tame. Grade on them: Incomplete. The pass pro was so bad; I saw a few guys running open on sacks, so maybe Cutler could have found them.
- I think Garrett Wolfe is not long for the Bears. If he makes the team it's that they have not been able to find a better player on the waiver wire. He is always a step short of making a play. Twice there was open field in front of him, and he would have had big runs had he not been taken down. He's not blindingly fast and can't break tackles well. So outside of his special-teams value, Wolfe isn't really an NFL back, I am afraid.
- SS Chris Harris is a good, instinctive safety. But he's slow ... and injury-prone. I like watching him play, and he'll make some impact this season. He just won't be chasing anyone down from the backside this season. On the 40-yard screen to FB Marcel Reece, Harris couldn't chase him down despite taking a solid angle.
- The backup QBs were not bad. Both Kyle Boller and Dan LeFevour started slowly, but they each made some nice plays out there for the Raiders and Bears, respectively. Both teams have suffered injuries at QB (Bruce Gradkowski and Caleb Hanie, respectively), so it had to be nice to see some better execution from the third-stringers.
OK, that's all.