Watch CBS News

Emma: Bears Leaving Real Reasons For Concern

By Chris Emma--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When a long game was done, the realities set in for the Bears. There's work to be done.

Saturday wasn't for the Bears. It was another poor performance, this time a 23-7 loss to the Chiefs. Finally, "Bear Down" was played at Soldier Field for the Bears' first points in Chicago this season. There weren't many other positives to take away.

When the Bears were battered by the Broncos in the preseason opener, there was a full month until Week 1. Now, there are just two weeks remaining before the games count. The Bears are technically 0-0 on the season, but they have much to improve.

"We got some work to do, but I believe in this group," linebacker Danny Trevathan said.

Where to begin?

The Bears' makeshift offensive line struggled mightily. With Cornelius Edison playing the role of center and Ted Larsen sliding to right guard, there was no cohesion to be found. Edison struggled after showing competence in practice, and Larsen is more effective at center than guard. The Bears must hope right guard Kyle Long returns before Week 1.

Struggles for the offense came in part due to the vanilla play-calling expected for a preseason game. However, the issues up front are very real.

Jay Cutler didn't have much time in the pocket. When he did, his receivers disappointed. Alshon Jeffery had a potential 80-yard touchdown hit him in the chest. Kevin White ran the wrong route on a key third-down play.

Defensively, the Bears struggled to get off the field. The Chiefs dominated time of possession at 37:10 to Chicago's 22:50. They were 9-of-17 on third downs, including a few desperate conversions on 3rd-and-long situations.

As if it wasn't already bad enough for the Bears' secondary, Tracy Porter suffered a concussion. Now, they're down their top three cornerbacks, with Kyle Fuller (knee) and Bryce Callahan (hamstring) trying to return for the opener in Houston.

Bears coach John Fox tried to keep perspective in the 0-3 preseason.

"You know our goal in the preseason -- they are practice games; nobody remembers the record -- is to get ready for the regular season," Fox said.

Finally came a positive in the fourth quarter, when third-string quarterback Connor Shaw took charge of the lifeless Bears offense and led a touchdown drive, capped off by a nifty scramble to find Cameron Meredith for a touchdown.

But later, Shaw suffered a gruesome broken leg, as a source confirmed. He was taken from Soldier Field in an ambulance.

"It's heartbreaking," Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer said of Shaw's injury.

For starters, the Bears have to quickly find continuity on the offensive line, which has become more of a glaring concern with each passing day. With just two weeks to go, they must settle on a group. A year ago, the Bears couldn't settle on Kyle Long's position and the entire offensive line suffered without reps as a unit.

The offense's struggles rest on the shoulders of the offensive linemen.

"With the injuries that have happened and with having to keep putting new guys in there, we just have to keep chugging along," rookie guard Cody Whitehair said.

Consider it a victory if the Bears can secure something on the offensive line. Frankly, until Long returns, that's unlikely. As a result, the entire offense is left in flux. On Saturday, Cutler had no time, Jeremy Langford had few holes and the Chiefs defense swarmed the field. That's the greatest issue this team faces.

The Bears were fine defensively but left more to be desired. Their breakdowns on third down were a problem, though something that can get cleaned up. The bigger worry is with the dwindling depth at cornerback, where Jacoby Glenn and Deiondre' Hall have stepped in at a short-handed spot.

More than two weeks have passed from the Bears' loss to the Broncos in the preseason opener, and this team looked largely the same in the dress rehearsal game Saturday.

General manager Ryan Pace will work his roster evaluation this week, with a series of cuts due, and Fox will continue to coach his team up and look for better.

Saturday's sorry showing raised more concerns for the Bears -- only now, the clock is ticking.

"We got a couple more weeks to work," Trevathan said. "We're going to put in that work."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.