By Adam Hoge-
CHARLOTTE (CBS) — Instead of grading each phase of the offense as I usually would for a regular season game, it makes much more sense to grade individuals after a preseason game.
But given the lack of reps and continuity that often come in a preseason game, it would be tough to accurately assign letter grades to each individual player for their performance Friday night against the Panthers. Instead, let’s simply take a look at five guys who took advantage of their opportunity in Charlotte and five guys who didn’t:
DT Nate Collins – I thought Collins was the best player on the defense Friday night. He can play both tackle spots and he slid in nicely in the three-technique after Henry Melton left with a concussion. He constantly put pressure on the Panthers’ quarterbacks and recorded the Bears’ only sack of the night.
WR Marquess Wilson – The seventh-round draft pick has continually showed promise in training camp, but has still primarily been working with the third string offense. But one has to wonder if a promotion will come this week after he led the Bears in targets (five), receptions (four) and receiving yards (82). His longest catch of the night was a 58-yard catch-and-run that could have been a touchdown had he not stepped out of bounds at the 4-yard-line. I thought it was actually debatable that he stepped out of bounds, but the Bears didn’t bother to review it most likely so they could get another offensive rep on the drive. Wilson has shown promise as a route runner and still has a decent chance to make this team.
LB Khaseem Greene – It’s been a somewhat quiet training camp for the rookie linebacker, but Greene lived up to his reputation as a playmaker Friday night. He tied with Collins for a team-high four tackles and added on a tackle for loss at the goal-line when he exploded through a seam, split the gap and hit DeAngelo Williams two yards behind the line of scrimmage. It was a promising debut for the Rutgers product.
LG Matt Slauson – I’m including Slauson on this list not just because he looked fine at left guard Friday night, but because he also looked good enough at center. To my knowledge, Slauson hasn’t taken reps at center in training camp, but he did so with the second team Friday night, which is an indication that the Bears might not keep a true backup center on the 53-man roster. That could allow them to keep both Eben Britton and Jonathan Scott (assuming his knee gets healthy). Should starting center Roberto Garza go down, Slauson would then move to the middle, James Brown would switch to left guard and rookie Kyle Long would take over the right guard duties.
WR Joe Anderson – The second-year undrafted free agent simply continues to his job well. He’s a solid special teamer and looks like a reliable wide receiver. With Earl Bennett out with a concussion, Anderson is taking advantage of more opportunities and supplanting his spot on the roster. He looked good Friday night, catching two passes for 27 yards while working with both the first- and second-team offenses.
RT J’Marcus Webb – It’s gut check time for J’Marcus Webb, who has struggled throughout the preseason at right tackle after losing his job at left tackle after last season. Webb allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked Friday night and Trestman hasn’t shied away from voicing his frustration with the right tackle.
“He hasn’t been as consistent as we’d like and we’ve told him that,” Trestman said Friday.
The head coach confirmed that Webb is in a competition. Now it’s just a matter of finding someone to compete with him.
OL Eben Britton – And that brings us to Eben Britton, who has played every position but center so far in training camp. With Jonathan Scott out, he’s getting the most work at left tackle behind Jermon Bushrod, but Britton appears to be the most likely candidate to challenge Webb for the starting right tackle job unless Scott’s knee suddenly improves. The problem is, Britton struggled Friday night, allowing a sack of his own. Overall, he’s impressed in training camp, but the preseason opener was a step backward for the fifth-year pro.
TE Fendi Onobun – Onobun arrived to Bourbonnais with a lot of promise, but we’re starting to see why he’s with his sixth NFL team. So far he’s done his best Kellen Davis impression, including dropping a sure touchdown Friday night in the corner of the end zone. Drops have been a problem for Onobun throughout training camp and it’s looking more and more like the coaching staff — and the quarterbacks — don’t trust him.
RB Armando Allen – The third-string running back only received three carries and tallied an OK 12 yards, but he also lost a fumble, which you can’t do when your job isn’t completely save. The silver lining for Allen is that Michael Ford only averaged 2.5 yards per carry on six attempts and wasn’t all that impressive either.
P Tress Way – The rookie punter from Oklahoma has a big leg, but he failed to show it off Friday night. Veteran Adam Podlesh dominated the punting competition, averaging 49.7 yards on three punts, while Way only averaged 31.7. Podlesh also put two punts inside the 20, while Way had one. If the regular season started today, there’s no doubt Podlesh would be the Bears’ punter.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.