With the Raiders set to face the Chicago Bears in their third preseason game, I caught up with Dane Noble of Chicago Bears blog Windy City Gridiron for this week's Five Good Questions. Here's how that conversation went:
That hit by Jon Bostic in the Chargers game on Mike Willie was a thing of beauty. I think I watched it about 50 times. He looks like the real deal. Was that hit par for the course or out of nowhere for him? And what's with the $21,000 fine?
Bostic was known for his crushing hits while at Florida, so he's definitely just picking where he left off last year. The rookie is still pretty raw, and has a ways to go before he's a bona fide starting NFL linebacker, but when he is on the field, that's what you can expect. Ball carriers need to keep their heads on a swivel, because the guy can drop some bombs. As for the fine, Doug Farrar did a great job of breaking down that entire situation. It was excessive, against the CBA, and semantically confusing. One of WCG's contributors had his say as well -- Essentially, the league needs to get their act together, on many, many levels.
Replacing Urlacher will occur in two different ways: One is on the field, and one is in the locker room. The previously-mentioned Bostic will compete with D.J. Williams, a one-year FA signee, for the starting ILB position, and either of them could win the starting gig and do a great job. Urlacher's performance over the last couple seasons was hampered by injuries, so it will be nice to have some fresh talent on the field. Off the field, though, is a different story. That Chicago Bears locker room was his over the last 12 years, and the entire culture of that team revolved around his leadership. New head coach Marc Trestman is aware of that, and is quickly working to establish a new regime.
The exit of Nick Roach will not have that big of an impact. He was always one of my favorite players, as his athleticism was incredible to watch. Unfortunately, he never seemed to be able to mentally grasp the defense and emerge as a true leader, so his services were not retained. I always thought he was very similar to Lance Briggs physically, but without that little extra mental edge that Briggs brings to the table.
Last week the Chargers actually ran pretty well on the Bears despite their having a so-so offensive line and running back corps. Is this a concern?
Not really. Julius Peppers has been resting all preseason, and Henry Melton was out with a concussion... The Bears had a lot of starters out, and a rotating defensive line and linebacker corps, so no big deal. That defense should be as tough, if not tougher, than they have been over the last few seasons.
With the combination of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, and Michael Bush, the Bears have some great weapons in the pass and run game. And with the starters being out there for the better part of three quarters, any way the Raiders can keep from being blown out the coliseum?
They have some great weapons, but are also still figuring out their offensive line. Two rookies, G Kyle Long and T Jordan Mills, will be getting a lot of playing time, so there will likely be some hiccups in the trenches. But unlike the previous 120 years, the offensive line could actually have a shot at being average this season. And if that happens, the playmakers could light it up.
What young Bears player(s) should we look out for in this game?
From the 2013 draft class, keep an eye on WR Marquess Wilson and LB Khaseem Greene. Both guys are fighting for roster spots, and both can make some big plays. From 2012, the Bears are hoping DE Shea McClellin and WR Alshon Jeffery have breakout seasons after inconsistent rookie