9:55 AM CDT, August 9, 2012
I know that the first exhibition game doesn’t mean much to the starters because, as Tribune football columnist Matt Bowen writes, that first game is about basics. Yes. Well. Fine.
But not for me. I don’t care about footwork. I want fireworks. I mean, who’s going to be talking about Nick Roach’s hip turn in Lovie Smith’s base Tampa-2 coverage?
Here’s the deal: The post-partum Jay Cutler to the post-Miami Brandon Marshall is about as basic as it gets for these post-Jerry Angelo/post-Jurassic Age Bears.
Their reunion was the story of the offseason. The Bears got a federal court to rule that bringing in a big, game-breaking receiver would not violate NFL policy.
Same goes for drafting one. I don’t know who’ll be throwing to Alshon Jeffery in the exhibition opener against Denver on Thursday night, but I’m guessing it will be everyone he plays with.
This is the kind of offense all the big-boy NFL teams run, so let’s get a load of it right now. If this sounds like I’m a sucker for pretty, shiny things, then fine. I am. Tough noogies. No apologies for that.
Look, the Bears have never had a quarterback like Cutler. The Bears have never had a receiver like Marshall. Here they are, together again for the first time with the Bears. I’m watching that. Bowen can watch a guy’s pad level.
Here are some other things I’m looking for in Bears-Broncos:
--Brian Urlacher. I know he won’t play. I’m not sure he’ll be on the sideline or even in the state. I’d like some word on what’s wrong and where he is. Bueller? Bueller?
--Stephen Paea. If he doesn’t get his name called, then the Bears have a problem at defensive tackle. Actually, they already have a problem at defensive tackle until Henry Melton shows he can sack the quarterback in more than a couple games a season. Smith talked up Melton last season, but Paea is the player they traded up to draft last year. He’s coming off an injury and would appear to have the best shot at making the biggest impact on a defensive scheme that starts right there.
--No. 1 draft choice Shea McClellin doing something. Other than get swallowed up by Denver’s line, I mean. I don’t know if he’ll be able to take down Peyton Manning, but at least get close enough to ask for his autograph, kid.
--Brandon Hardin. If this is a new season, the Bears have a new safety they drafted. Hardin didn’t play last season because of a broken shoulder. Angelo might’ve been fired, but his mind-numbing policy of drafting pre-injured players lives on.
--A backup quarterback who isn’t Caleb Hanie. Let the Broncos enjoy that delusion.
--The fake NFL officials. The referee from the Hall of Fame Game who messed up the coin toss was released by the Lingerie Football League in the middle of last season, according to Fox Sports. The Lingerie Football League, do you hear me? The fake officials could be dangerous to player safety in their awfulness. We’ll know exactly how bad they are if they don’t call holding on J’Marcus Webb.
--Oh yeah, Webb. I forgot. How could I forget? He won the left tackle job by default. Hang loose, Jay.
--Gabe Carimi. Last year’s top draft choice got injured the way Bears tackles do after getting drafted in the first round. He said his knee is sound enough. Hope so. That goes double for Cutler, I’m sure. How scary is it that the Bears have the best quarterback and most talented receiver in franchise history, and nobody trusts the tackles?
--Michael Bush. He’s big, tough and talented. He’s the short-yardage hammer that Matt Forte isn’t. Blow up somebody.
--Kahlil Bell. Wait, I think he fumbled already.
--Have I mentioned Cutler-to-Marshall? Just making sure.
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