untung99.biz: Biggest Winners And Losers Of Chicago Bears Preseason Opener

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One preseason game isn’t going to make or break competitions on a roster. That said, it’s often a great way to build or lose momentum. Several players came out of the win over Tennessee feeling pretty good. The Chicago Bears have plenty to be encouraged about. That said, not everybody feels that way. More than a few should be feeling nervous about their status on the roster with only two weeks left before final cuts begin.

After evaluating the action, here are the biggest winners and losers going into week two. It will be interesting to revisit this in a few weeks to see who avoided disaster.

Winners and losers from Chicago Bears preseason opener

Winner: Tyrique Stevenson

It felt for a time like the competition for the starting cornerback spot opposite Jaylon Johnson was a dead heat between Stevenson and fellow rookie Terell Smith. That changed decisively on Saturday. Stevenson was the best player on defense for the Bears throughout the afternoon, leading the team with seven tackles, adding a tackle for a loss and a pass breakup along the way. It feels like barring an injury or a massive regression over the next two weeks, that job is his to lose.

Loser: Velus Jones

Jones should be grateful he’s still by far the best option the Bears have at kick returner. That might be why he won’t get cut later this month. The former 3rd round pick thought he’d made progress as a punt returner after a rough rookie season that saw him muff multiple chances. Then he muffed another against Tennessee. Add this to his continued lack of notoriety as a receiving threat, and it’s becoming hard to see how he plays any significant role on this team beyond kick return duties.

Winner: Ja’Tyre Carter

The former 7th round pick from Southern didn’t do much during his rookie season last year. It was felt he had developmental upside, but nobody could predict his future. He spent the spring working with Olin Kreutz on refining his technique. It appears those lessons are paying off. Carter was arguably the top performer on the Chicago Bears offensive line in this game, allowing zero pressures in 20 pass-blocking snaps and also finishing as their third-highest-graded run-blocker. He’s establishing himself as a quality backup option.

Loser: P.J. Walker

Signing the former Panthers and XFL veteran made sense on paper. His skill set mirrored Justin Fields, meaning Walker should be able to run the Bears’ scheme in a similar fashion. However, his underwhelming debut (4-of-8 for 19 yards and an INT) and an inconsistent training camp raise questions about the team’s backup situation. It is too early to pull the plug, but if this trend continues, the team has to at least think about alternatives before the season kicks off next month.

Winner: Zacch Pickens

Draft experts said the 3rd round pick from South Carolina had upside as an interior pass rusher. He just needed a lot of technique work. There were positive signs in camp, but it needed to happen in game action. Then Pickens split a Titans double team to blindside Will Levis for a sack. It was a nice flash of his vast potential. It certainly helped his cause in competing with fellow rookie Gervon Dexter for snaps. That said, the sack was his only pressure of the game in 32 snaps. That has to improve.

Loser: Jack Sanborn

The best ability is availability. Getting hurt runs the risk of you losing your job. It’s the brutal nature of the NFL. Sanborn was locked in as a starter when the off-season began. His performance last year had earned it. Things have changed. His absence has allowed 5th round pick Noah Sewell to ascend throughout training camp. He then put icing on the cake with a quality performance against Tennessee: 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 QB hit. Sanborn isn’t out of the picture yet, but he better return soon.