Highs and lows of Chicago Bears' 32-13 preseason loss to Giants
The Chicago Bears didn't play a single starter during their 32-13 shellacking at the hands of the New York Giants on Friday night in the second preseason game, announcing beforehand that 26 players would rest.
Nonetheless, there was plenty to observe from the backups, and we've got three positives and three negatives as the preseason reaches the halfway point.
Areas of optimism
Georgia wide receivers: Sophomore camp star Javon Wims and rookie fourth-rounder Riley Ridley certainly looked the part while working as the top two options Friday night.
Wims (game-high 5 catches for 64 yards) made an outstanding 29-yard grab in the post at the end of the first half to set up Eddy Pineiro's second field goal conversion, and Ridley (3-19 receiving) was smooth running routes, appeared field fast in his NFL debut, and had a chance for a touchdown but quarterback Chase Daniel couldn't find him.
Outside linebacker depth: Sure, Kylie Fitts got run over on a big run play in the first half and Chuck Harris narrowly missed a sack. But we've been waiting for someone, anyone, to show up behind Chicago's Big Three -- and there's no question that occurred Friday.
Former CFL'er James Vaughters made an early strip-sack -- one week after recovering a fumble -- after he overpowered a tight end and finished off Giants top pick Daniel Jones by forcing and recovering the fumble.
He also registered a hurry in the shadow of his own goal line that led to Clifton Duck (more on him momentarily) beating Alex Tanney with an outstanding diving pick that he returned 62 yards. And Isaiah Irving set sturdy edges against the run early before notching an 8-yard sack.
Clifton Duck: After a rough first half in his preseason debut, the undrafted rookie corner from Appalachian State has consistently made plays -- none more impressive than the Bears' second red-zone takeaway of the night.
It's also worth noting that Duck's brightest flash came after sixth-rounder Duke Shelley's early missed tackle on the Giants' first touchdown.
Could the college free agent overtake the draft pick? Probably not. But he's making a very compelling case to be on the practice squad at the very least.
Honorable mention: Eddy Pineiro was the first kicker off the bench again, but after missing his 48-yard attempt last week, he converted a 41-yarder right down the middle and followed it up with a 27-yard chip-shot conversion. And Elliott Fry -- after converting the ironic 43-yarder to end the first half last week -- pushed his only attempt, from 47 out, wide left.
Areas of concern
Offensive tackle depth: Second-string left tackle Cornelius Lucas was flagged for holding on an early third down, after getting beaten for a sack last week.
Rashaad Coward appeared to be having another difficult game before leaving early with a left-elbow injury and not returning.
And the man they're vying to replace, swing tackle-turned-tight end Bradley Sowell, surrendered a sack and drew his second penalty in as many weeks. Behind their underrated starting tackles, the Bears have big questions and figure to be scouring waivers for upgrades at the position.
Quarterback depth: One more reason the pressure's on Mitch Trubisky to take another big step in Year 3: his backups have failed to impress so far this summer.
Chase Daniel is among the NFL's highest-paid clipboard holders, but he was indecisive and hasn't didn't a good feel in the pocket, taking a safety among his 3 sacks.
Tyler Bray overthrew a streaking Marvin Hall on a would-be easy touchdown for the second week in a row.
Outside cornerback depth: This has appeared to be a strength in camp, where former Florida Atlantic quarterback Jonathan Franklin III has opened eyes but couldn't close the distance in man coverage against seemingly anyone he battled Friday, losing leverage on a TJ Jones touchdown.
Michael Joseph, Franklin's primary competition for perhaps the final outside cornerback spot, also was beaten by Jones on a long gain, though it appeared the receiver was juggling as he hit the ground.
Dishonorable mention: The first bad sign was the Bears switching wide receiver Taquan Mizzell in the spring from running back to wide receiver. Things went from bad to worse for Mizzell on Friday, when he lost fumbles on consecutive fourth-quarter drives.