Welcome back to "That’s Some Next Level" – a weekly look at how former Bears are faring in the NFL. Again this week, we’ll devote most of the coverage to rookies and free agents, since it’s looking more and more like there won’t be anything to say about them after Sept. 5th, when teams make their final roster cuts.
Which do you want first, the
good no news or the bad news? Ok, we’ll start with the no news.
Bryce Petty (NYJ) – No risks taken. No mistakes made. Petty was 10 of 18 for 50 yds. and no INTs. As you might guess from the 2.8 yds. per attempt, most of the throws were short. Petty played 8 drives and none of them ever really got going. Five were 3 & outs. There’s almost zero chance Petty doesn’t make the Jets roster, but there’s also almost zero chance he sees any regular season playing time. Next game: Fri., Aug. 21, 6:30CT v. ATL
Levi Norwood (CHI) – Norwood was not targeted on any passing plays in the Bears first preseason game v. MIA. He did return one punt for 11 yards midway through the 4th quarter. Next game: Sat., Aug. 22, 6:30CT @ IND
Tevin Reese (CIN) –Reese played only 12 snaps was not targeted in the Bengals opener vs. the Giants. Next game: Mon., Aug. 24, 7:00CT @ TB
Chance Casey (IND) – It had escaped me last week, but Casey has moved from OAK to IND in May. He had two tackles in the Colts game v. PHI. Next game: Sat., Aug. 22, 7:30CT v. CHI
Kelvin Palmer (PIT) – I don’t know if Palmer saw any action. But I do know that Pittsburgh’s starting offense looked great (albeit v. JAC). Practice squad is probably the ceiling here. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 7:00CT v. GB
Antwan Goodley (DAL) – Goodley’s been sidelined with a hamstring injury. No word on how severe, but it couldn’t have come at worse time. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 7:00CT @ SF
Bryce Hager (STL) – It was a mixed bag for Bryce in the Rams first preseason game vs. OAK, so maybe "Bad News" is too strong of a word here. But "Good News" would be wrong too. Hager got lots of playing time, and while he led the Rams with 7 tackles (5 solo), he also missed some coverage assignments, including one that led to a Raiders TD.
In potentially good "bad news," Daren Bates, one of Hager’s biggest competitors for a roster spot, looked to suffer a serious knee injury in the second quarter. But it’s since been downgraded (really should be upgraded?) to an MCL sprain, and Bates is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. So even the good "bad news" wasn’t good/bad enough for Hager. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 7:00CT @ TEN
Lache Seastrunk (DAL) – This is a make or break week for Lache. Frankly, it may be too late already. Reports indicate Seastrunk has "frustrated" and "infuriated" coaches with his tendency to freelance and "simply doesn't know what to do" in passing situations. In Thursday's game against San Diego, Seastrunk didn’t see any action until the second drive of the third quarter. From there, Lache had 5 carries for 9 yds. He might not have seen any touches at all, if Gus Johnson doesn’t leave with a shoulder injury (which won’t require surgery).
This week, the Cowboys get Randal, Dunbar and McFadden back healthy(-ish) and practicing. There are also reports that Dallas is working out three other running backs. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 7:00CT @ SF
Hot Bear on Bear Action!
Phil Taylor (CLE) v. Cyril Richardson (BUF) – I’ll bet you never thought a Browns - Bills preseason game would be appointment viewing. Such is the beauty of Next Level! Taylor anchors what may be one of 2015’s better defensive fronts. Richardson started 4 games for the Bills last year, after the starter Chris Williams went down. While he’s not likely to earn a starting role out of camp, he’s should be the third guard on the Bills depth chart. So why not check it out. What else do you have to do on Thursday night? Next game: Thur., Aug. 20, 7:00CT v. BUF
Kendall Wright (TEN) v. Bryce Hager (STL) – You might see Bryce Hager (update above) trying to cover Wright this Sunday, when the Titans take on the Rams. Wright only had one catch in the Titans matchup v. ATL, but he’s on pretty firm footing at this point. I loved this note about how Wright is "vibing" with Mariota in Tennessee. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 7:00CT v. STL
Other veteran news and notes
Demetri Goodson (GB) – Goodson was probably close to the 53rd man on the Packers final roster last year. He was inactive for 10 games, and totaled 5 tackles during the 6 in which he dressed. This year, he may be the 1st man on the practice squad. He recorded no tackles in the Packers first game vs. NE. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 12:00CT @ PIT
J.D. Walton (MIA) – Mike Pouncey, who moved from G to C this season, is the likely starter in Miami. According to the Palm Beach Post, Sam Brenner continues to get second-team snaps at center ahead of Walton. Despite starting for the Giants last year, Walton’s certainly not a lock to make the final roster. Next game: Sat., Aug. 22, 6:00CT @ CAR
Robert Griffin III (WAS) – The Third Griffin started the first two drives of the game, both of which felt like your most generic of preseason drives. Pierre Garcon dropped a sure 60 yd TD on the opening drive and Griffin ended 4/8 for 36 yds. No TDs. No INTs. We’ll get deeper into Griffin’s camp in a future edition. In fact, we’ll probably do this all year long. Next game: Thur., Aug. 20, 6:30CT v. DET
Terrance Williams (DAL) – Solid opening drive for Williams, catching two first down passes from Brandon Wheeden. Next game: Sun., Aug. 23, 7:00CT @ SF
Matt Bryant (ATL) – Bryant was his usual, reliable self vs. TEN, making a 45 yd FG on his only attempt, and going 4/4 on XPs (now from the 22!). Next game: Fri., Aug. 21, 6:30CT @ NYJ
Jon Weeks (HOU) – I’m assuming Weeks was the snapper for Houston’s perfect 2/2 FG, 1/1 XP attempts as well as their 3 unblocked punts. LMK if you know different. Next game: Sat., Aug. 22, 7:00CT v. DEN
Whew! That’s a lot of updates! Sadly, it’ll thin out in a couple of weeks.
Until next week, good luck to Baylor Bears everywhere. That includes YOU!