Behind Enemy Lines: NFC North Preseason Round Table
By Mike Payton
What did you see that worries you?
Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears free safety Brock Vereen (45) reacts after an interception against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Payton, SLR: “My concern still goes back to the special teams unit. Often the most underappreciated phase on the field, the importance of a sound special teas unit can not be understated. Right out of the box the Lions let the Jet’s gain solid ground on a kick return and allowed the Jets offense get their only points of the game. This could have been avoided by tuning up the special teams and stopping the return around the twenty.
Also the Lions return game looked very similar to one they fielded in 2014. Constantly putting the offense in a situation where they have a lot of ground to cover. Every return can’t be perfect, but the Lions must figure out how to improve this facet of the game.”
Roethlisberger, LA: “I am going to transition this off of my last point and said that the run defense preferably at inside linebacker is my biggest concern. The Packers started off as one of the worst teams in the league at stopping the run last season, and although they seemed to get that figured out with Clay Matthews and Sam Barrington doing a solid job in the second half of the season, this is a position that worries me as to what they are going to do an is it going to work.
Matthews moved over from outside linebacker last season and they will still line him up at the outside in key situations this year. That leaves a whole to fill at inside linebacker and its going to be interesting to see if Jake Ryan has the ability to fill that role on select key plays throughout the year. This is a team that has to play Adrian Peterson twice, Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, CJ Anderson, and Ameer Abdullah, who is looking pretty stout in Detroit next to Joique Bell right now, twice as well so the stopping the run needs to be solid.”
Schelzer, BGO: “While there were some nice individual performances, the first team defense struggled. Pernell McPhee is supposed to be a major contributor for the Bears this season, but he did not look very good. Safety Brock Vereen struggled mightily as well. Offensively, Jeremy Langford’s lackluster performance was not the greatest thing to see. “
Zinski, TVA: “Well the offensive line was an issue going in and now with Loadholt’s injury it looks like we’ll be playing a rookie at RT, plus Mike Harris is untested at RG. And we still don’t know if Matt Kalil can bounce back. The O-line is very shaky right now.”
Next: What's your 2015 outlook?