Mike Glennon had an efficient game and calmed some of his detractors by throwing a touchdown pass. Mitchell Trubisky made some mistakes, further validating Glennon’s experience-based starter status, but gave another glimpse of the future with a 45-yard touchdown strike of his own. Running back Jordan Howard saw his first extended action and pronounced himself ready for the season opener, while the Bears’ starting defense continued its impressive play by shutting down the Titans’ and Marcus Mariota.
But nobody was very happy in Chicago after the game. The Bears lost two key players for the season to torn ACLs. On Monday, they signed a replacement for long snapper Patrick Scales. The other player lost will be significantly more difficult to replace.
Cameron Meredith was lining up as the primary wide receiver after watching Alshon Jeffery sign with the Eagles. Meredith is relatively unproven and was far from a perfect receiver last year, but the coaching staff was very high on their young wideout.
What did we learn?
Behind Meredith, Chicago has seen flashes and promise among the other receivers who could be given a shot at the primary role. 2015 first-round draft pick Kevin White will likely get the first shot. He has not proven himself to be top-flight catcher yet, but he looks the part. Former Steeler Markus Wheaton has shown he can provide big play excitement, but he followed up the shoulder injury that cost him last season with an appendectomy and then a broken finger that needed surgery. He won’t be back for a few weeks, but could prove to be a good option if he can stay on the field.
Victor Cruz has played with the backups all preseason. He says he feels fine and would certainly add a name defenders respect to the starting corps. Kendall Wright could also take the mantle. The change of scenery after leaving Tennessee looks like it is doing him good so far. He is not happy with how Tennessee treated him and could be ready to exhibit the promise they saw when they drafted him… if for no other reason than spite.
Undrafted rookie free agent Tanner Gentry has excited the crowds and the coaches all preseason. He hauled in the 45-yard touchdown from Trubisky. Meredith’s absence could give him a roster spot, but probably not the top spot. I am sure Chicago will be monitoring the waiver wire closely on Saturday for other options.
Glennon looked more comfortable than he had all year. He handled the Trubisky challenge professionally and deserves to take the helm for a while. Of course, he’s still not draftable in your fantasy league. He’ll manage games, but he’s not putting points on your board.
Jordan Howard averaged just under four yards per carry in the preseason. He will make up for that average pace with sheer volume. There is talk that rookie Tarik Cohen could be in for more work than expected to take heat off the wide receivers. Cohen is a classic third down back with speed and hands. He knocked veteran Jeremy Langford down the depth chart. Watch the fourth preseason game. It may offer clues that Cohen needs to be taken higher than the late round RB63 he is now, much higher in PPR leagues.
One might be tempted to jump on Kevin White or bet on Kendall Wright or take Wheaton for a third or fourth-week boost. Those people should remember who the quarterback is. “Success” is defined differently for wide receivers in a ball-control offense. A mid-to-late-round pick as your fourth wide receiver might be a worthy bet on one of the Bears’ receivers, but not much more than that.
Those other fantasy guys
Another position that could be impacted by Meredith’s absence is the tight ends. Chicago was already flirting with the idea of carrying four. Zach Miller was a primary target for Jay Cutler last season and the fourth tight end, Daniel Brown, is listed as a TE/WR. Sharing the load with a low volume quarterback makes none of them draft-worthy.
Never trust a kicker who kicks in a place called “the Windy City.”
Chicago is feeling very excited about their defense after they held their opponents’ starters in check this preseason. But in real life, “holding in check” does not mean for just three or four possessions. The Bears also face a tough early schedule and should not be trusted as a draft pick.
So… that’s that
Chicago is building something up there that will be successful soon enough. Good for them. But what does that mean for my fantasy team options? Not much. Other than Howard and a couple of potential sleepers, I don’t expect to see many of the Bears on fantasy rosters.
But you never know. So, if I were you, I’d check back at RealSport every day for updates and advice!
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