By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter 10:40 p.m. CDT, August 18, 2012
1. Jay Cutler made his exhibition debut and was sharp, leading the offense to points on three of four possessions, including one that started on the Redskins' 8-yard line following a turnover. Cutler leaned on Brandon Marshall, as you would expect, hitting him for a 41-yard gain on the first snap of the game. He also looked to Marshall on the first third-down situation, gaining 20 yards on third-and-6. There is no question the offense eased concerns anyone might have had after the team stumbled through a loss to the Broncos in the exhibition opener.
2. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said his greatest concern last week was the Bears' inability to run the ball. That problem was resolved, and the left tackle competition between J'Marcus Webb and Chris Williams looked clean for the most part with the players rotating into the fourth quarter. Chilo Rachal was rotated in with the starters at left guard, proof the team either wants to push Chris Spencer or is considering a switch. Tice suggested decisions on the line could be delayed until after the third preseason game on Friday at the Giants.
3. If Alshon Jeffery continues to excel with what he's given to do, the rookie second-round pick is going to wrestle more playing time away from veterans. Jeffery is making plays when the ball comes his way, fending off what the officials called pass interference on Redskins safety Tanard Jackson to make one catch. He finished with three receptions for 62 yards, including a 34-yard gain. Jeffery is already in the mix for the red zone, and he's going to be getting more playing time at all points on the field if he continues to capitalize on his chances.
4. The preseason is about attrition as much as player development. The Bears lost free safety Chris Conte to a shoulder injury in the second quarter and hope it isn't serious. Rookie safety Brandon Hardin was taken to a hospital with a neck injury. Big injuries have happened all over the league, and the Packers are dealing with key losses already. The Redskins also took some hits as outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, the team's top pass rusher, and strong safety Brandon Meriweather, the former Bear, were taken to the locker room in the first quarter. Orakpo appeared to be in serious pain with a shoulder injury, and Meriweather had a knee issue.
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