A team's first preseason game is largely worthless. But we should see more starters in action in Week 2 of the exhibition schedule. It's Jay Cutler vs. Andrew Luck in Indianapolis on Saturday and the Colts are -3 with a total of 41 on NFL odds.
Bears Score Misleading
Want another reason why preseason games are worthless -- other than potential injury? I give you Chicago's 27-10 home win over Miami on Thursday night. If you simply look at the score, you are probably happy as a Bears fan. But the Chicago No. 1 defense, now led by new coordinator Vic Fangio and shifting to a 3-4 scheme, didn't look good. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense went on a 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive to open the game. Meanwhile, Chicago's No. 1 offense, now led by coordinator Adam Gase, went three-and-out on its first drive. Cutler finished 4-for-7 for 42 yards without a turnover. Backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen played most of the night and was decent, going 17-for-27 for 151 yards.
The Bears' best offensive player was running back Senorise Perry, who rushed 10 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. But he's probably not going to make the team with Matt Forte, second-year Ka'Deem Carey (seven carries, 34 yards, one touchdown; two carries, 14 yards), rookie Jeremy Langford (four carries, 1 yard; two catches for 16 yards) and veteran free-agent addition Jacquizz Rodgers (seven carries, 33 yards) also on the roster. The defensive star of the game is another guy who is a long shot to make the roster in linebacker Sam Acho as he had a sack and interception. The Bears forced four Miami turnovers, but that was all against the backups.
The Bears played their opener without star running back Matt Forte, who is in the final year of his contract. He is expected to start on Saturday. I doubt Forte plays very long, however. There's really no reason to. Chicago also played without No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery -- he's the No. 1 now that Brandon Marshall is with the New York Jets. He's not expected to play vs. the Colts with a calf injury.
Chicago already has gotten terrible news that receiver Kevin White, the No. 7 overall pick out of West Virginia, will begin the season on the PUP list and there's a good chance he doesn't play at all in 2015. He has to have surgery for a stress fracture in his left shin. Starting on the PUP list means he misses at least the first six games. After that, the team has until its 11th game to activated him. After that, he's not eligible to play this season. The Chicago media doesn't think he plays. White hasn't been taking part in any of training camp with the shin problem, but the Bears basically lied about his condition. The fracture was diagnosed a couple of months ago and the Bears never revealed it. Check out this quote by new head coach John Fox about it.
“I think, me personally, we tell you the body part and that's all we have to tell you,” Fox told reporters. “We're not doctors and stick to that. ... I just know that, by league, we're required to give you a body part, unless it's a quarterback or kicker, then we don't even have to tell you which side. I've been doing it for 14 years now, that's the way we do it.”
Colts Not Sharp In Opener
The Colts opened the preseason with a 36-10 loss at Philadelphia. Of course that was Indy's first time on the field since the Colts started the whole "Deflategate" mess by telling on the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Luck played only briefly vs. the Eagles and was 5-for-6 for 43 yards. Rookie running back Josh Robinson carried 10 times for 44 yards and a touchdown as the sixth-rounder looks to earn a roster spot. Fellow rookie Phillip Dorsett, the team's first-round pick, caught four passes for 51 yards but did lose a fumble. Andre Johnson, in his first game as a Colt, caught one pass for 9 yards.
Several key Colts didn't play in the opener, including receivers T.Y. Hilton (personal reasons), Donte Moncrief (groin) and running backs Frank Gore (rest), Boom Herron (rest) and Vick Ballard (hamstring). The injury-plagued Ballard might lose his roster spot to Robinson of the rookie keeps performing. Also not playing in the opener were star defenders Robert Mathis (who won't be ready for start of the season) and Vontae Davis.
The Colts and Bears are practicing against one another on Wednesday and Thursday so things could be rather chippy between the two by Saturday.
NFL Free Pick: The Colts are clearly the better team, but I expect Chicago's starters to play longer because the Bears are learning new systems on both sides of the ball. Luck played only 11 snaps in the opener and you can probably expect more of the same for him. I'll take the points and go over with my NFL picks.