Chicago Bears: 3 surprises in preseason finale vs. Buffalo Bills

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Chicago Bears Ro'Derrick Hoskins
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The pass rush gets going

A big concern for the Bears coming into the 2018 season was the lack of depth in edge rushers. It also didn’t help that starting outside linebacker Leonard Floyd suffered a broken hand in the team’s third preseason game. Nagy remains confident that Floyd could play in the team’s Sunday night opener against the rival Green Bay Packers, but it’s far from guaranteed.

It seemed as if the pass rush of the Bears would be a weak link this season, but there have been some great showings from the front seven in the preseason. Thursday’s game was no different, with the defense recording five sacks and eight quarterback hits on the day. There were notable plays from guys lower on the depth chart who could make an impact during the regular season.

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The key with the pass rush for most teams that don’t have superstar edge rushers is getting a good rotation going. More offenses are running no-huddle plays to prevent defenses from subbing out rushers, but it’s essential for the defensive line and linebackers to have depth. This ensures there’s not a big drop off when some of the backups inevitably get put in the game.

On Thursday night, rookies like defensive end Kylie Fitts and defensive tackle Bilal Nichols came up big by recording sacks and quarterback pressures. Rookie defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson also had a sack and a nice pass deflection that led to an interception. Coaches and fans alike are expecting big things from guys like Fitts in the regular season.

The defensive front kept the pressure up for most of the night and made it hard for the Bills offense to get in a rhythm. What could’ve been a weakness looks a lot less concerning after the preseason. However, the regular season is an entirely different game so it’s going to be important for the pass rush to show up consistently. Floyd also needs to get healthy and make a difference.