Friday night's preseason-opening loss at Carolina is inconsequential.
What's important for first-year head coach Marc Trestman is that it's over, along with the apprehension and angst that comes with every new beginning, and now a solid starting point has been established.
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"I think we've got a lot to build on," Trestman said. "Nobody's ever happy about losing any game, but indications are we've got something to build on. We're still in training camp."
After Sunday's scheduled 3:15 p.m. workout, Trestman's squad has just two more practices at Olivet Nazarene University before returning to Halas Hall.
With the second preseason game coming up Thursday night at home against the San Diego Chargers, the opening defeat won't linger. But the individual performances of players, good and bad, will serve as a first impression for Trestman and his staff.
"This is what I told the team," Trestman said. "'These games aren't an indication of what kind of team we're going to have during the season, but it's certainly an indication of what happens to your team if you don't take care of the football.'"
That's bad news for running back Armando Allen, whose lost fumble didn't help him in the battle for the No. 3 spot with undrafted rookie Michael Ford.
Allen picked up 12 yards on 3 carries and caught a 3-yard pass. Ford, who rushed six times for 15 yards and caught 3 passes for 35 yards, also is a kick-returner who averaged 27.5 yards for LSU Last season.
J'Marcus Webb did not solidify his tenuous hold on the right-tackle spot when he allowed the only sack of Jay Cutler.
"He's in a competition," Trestman said. "We told him he is. I haven't hidden from the fact he's had some good days and then some not-so-good days. He hasn't been as consistent as we'd like.
"We'll look at the tape. When he's on his game, he can be very good. (Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach) Aaron (Kromer) is working hard to build an environment where he's most successful."
Jonathan Scott, Webb's main challenger, has been sidelined since July 31 with a knee injury. If he returns soon, that competition could heat up.
Tight end Fendi Onobun undermined his already slim chances of making the 53-man roster when he dropped what should have been an easy touchdown pass from Josh McCown even though he was wide open in the end zone.
Sixth-round defensive end Cornelius Washington showed his exceptional athleticism with good closing speed as a pass rusher and by dropping into coverage.
Second-round pick Jonathan Bostic made the most of an opportunity to start at middle linebacker in place of veteran D.J. Williams (calf) by returning an interception 51 yards for the Bears' first score.
"It's significant when young guys step up and make plays," Trestman said. "But we're not ready to anoint him. He's in a competition as well. I was impressed with his stamina; he played special teams as well."
But Bostic appeared to be beaten in coverage on Brandon LaFell's 3-yard TD catch that started the scoring.
"I couldn't answer (that)," Trestman said. "He certainly looked like he was in position. He's been very assignment sharp and has a veteran-like demeanor in him."
The Bears' offense didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, when third-team quarterback Matt Blanchard (15 of 18 for 194 yards) was running the show. Cutler and the first-team offense will get more playing time Thursday night.
"There was no real game plan (against the Panthers), but we had some plays we wanted to get to early. Try to get the ball out pretty quickly," Cutler said. "We just wanted to kind of get into the flow and get out of the game. There wasn't a lot to what we put into this one.
"There's going to be more game planning going into (Thursday's game). We'll have a little bit more elaborate plan. We'll just have to play a little bit longer and execute."
The Bears also should to be closer to full strength as they hope for the return of Scott, along with defensive ends Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who all were held out Friday.
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