In the run-up to his team’s second preseason contest Thursday night, Bears coach Matt Nagy cautioned against reading too much into any preseason game, especially the matchup in Cincinnati against the Bengals, who were playing their first game.
“If somebody comes out and has a poor game, it doesn't mean they're getting cut,” Nagy said. “If they come out and have a great game, it doesn't mean they made the team.”
It’s more of a process, which Nagy and his coaches will evaluate over the entire preseason. But, there were still opportunities for advancement in the Bears’ 30-27 loss, which dropped them to 0-2.
CB Kyle Fuller
With the Bears’ first-team offense struggling to move the ball, Fuller kept them in the game with a pick-6 of Bengals QB Andy Dalton. Fuller jumped the route of speedy WR John Ross as he was falling to the turf, snagged the ball and went 47 yards to tie the game 7-7 midway through the first quarter. Fuller is coming off the best season of his four-year career, and he has been just as sharp in training camp as he was last year, when he was third in the NFL with 22 pass breakups.
“I was going against a fast receiver,” Fuller said. “I tried to give myself some room. He was running deep, and once I saw him break, I was able to get in position to get where the ball was, and it ended up being an interception and a touchdown.”
TE Adam Shaheen
The Ashland University product looked like the guy the Bears thought they were getting in the second round last year, finding open spots in the middle of the field, showing soft hands and good run-after-the-catch ability. After Chase Daniel replaced Mitch Trubisky late in the first quarter, he led a 72-yard TD drive, utilizing the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Shaheen, who caught three passes for 53 yards on just three targets during the march.
OLB Leonard Floyd
The 2016 first-round pick was seeing his first preseason action, and he demonstrated that he’s well on the road to full recovery from last year’s knee surgery for a partially torn ligament. It was Floyd’s pressure that forced Dalton to throw the ball earlier than he wanted on Fuller’s pick-6. Floyd also showed good chase speed, running down RB Joe Mixon on the Bengals’ first possession.
RB Ryan Nall
The 6-foot-2, 232-pound undrafted rookie from Oregon State, who had three carries of 75 yards or longer for the Beavers, busted a 69-yard run, finished with 95 yards on nine carries and caught a nine-yard pass.
CB Marcus Cooper
The veteran, who’s fighting for a backup spot, had a rough series against the Bengals’ starters. He was beaten by A.J. Green for a 26-yard gain on a sideline route that he appeared to be in position to break up, then allowed an eight-yard catch by Josh Malone and finally a 20-yard reception by Ross.
Tie: ILB John Timu and S Adrian Amos
Both players looked bad while missing open-field tackle attempts on Bengals RB Joe Mixon, en route to his 24-yard TD reception that should have been stopped for a moderate gain. Timu has been playing with the starters in the absence of first-round draft pick Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned, and Danny Trevathan, who missed the first 10 days of training camp with a hamstring injury and was held out Thursday night. Amos’ 2017 season was the best of his three, although he did not begin that season as the starter.
C Cody Whitehair
OL coach Harry Hiestand was adamant last week that Whitehair will remain at center on a unit that will continue easing second-round pick James Daniels into the mix at guard, where the Bears project him to play in the NFL and also at his natural position of center.
But Whitehair had a rough night vs. the Bengals. He was flagged for holding on a Trubisky scramble just one play after he and LG Eric Kush allowed Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins to split them for a sack.