Grades for Bears-Bengals
Here are the top takeaways, and the top 5 graded players for each team, from the preseason encounter between the Bears and the Bengals:
–Intrigue was brought to the Bengals’ QB position Saturday night, as both Andy Dalton (+1.8) and A.J. McCarron (+2.1) impressed during playing time with the first string offense. The highlight of McCarron’s display was a pinpoint pass over Shea McClellin to Marvin Jones (+1.0), which his receiver converted into a touchdown with the help of some poor defense by the Bears’ secondary.
–The fate of the Bengals’ pass rush rests heavily on the play of Carlos Dunlap (+0.6), whose preseason performances suggest that he will carry his late-season form from 2015 into 2014. Dunlap stepped inside of Charles Leno Jr. for his first sack of the preseason, as he earned a pass-rush grade above +1.0 for the second game in a row.
–Those positive fortunes were not shared by second-round pick Jake Fisher (-9.0), who struggled mightily in his preseason debut. Surrendering five pressures (2 hits, 3 hurries) in only 17 snaps in pass protection, Fisher also committed three penalties, including a pair for being lined up too far off the line of scrimmage.
Top 5 graded players:
QB A.J. McCarron (+2.1)
LB Vincent Rey (+2.1)
G Clint Boling (+1.9)
QB Andy Dalton (+1.8)
OL Eric Winston (+1.7)
–The Bears haven’t had a right tackle finish a season with a positive grade since John Tait in 2008, and this year’s crop doesn’t offer much hope to break that streak. Both Charles Leno Jr. (-2.1) and Jordan Mills (-2.5) struggled as run blockers and pass protectors on Saturday, with Leno surrendering a sack, a hit and a hurry in his 32-snap start.
–The chief beneficiary of Jake Fisher’s difficult debut was DE Willie Young (+4.5), who ran with the backups for the second week in a row but turned in an excellent display this week. On top of a trio of hurries, Young also drew a brace of holding penalties, one each from Jake Fisher and Andrew Whitworth.
–QB Jay Cutler (+0.7) was efficient on short passes, but overall there wasn’t much noteworthy about his performance — which is consistent with what we’ve seen of him throughout the preseason.
–Left guard Matt Slauson (+2.0) was badly missed by the Bears up front last season, and he turned in his strongest display of the preseason Saturday night to stand as a lone bright spot for the Bears’ offensive line. His impressive work as a run blocker was built around strong work on double teams, helping to gain vertical and lateral movement to open some of the few running lanes that were presented to the Bears’ running backs.
Top 5 graded players:
DE Willie Young (+4.5)
G Matt Slauson (+2.0)
C Hroniss Grasu (+1.6)
DT David Carter (+1.5)
CB Kyle Fuller (+1.4)