The Bears exhibition opener Thursday night raised concerns about their offensive line and raised hopes for their defensive line.
A review of the tape showed Bears blockers struggling at times, especially against power. Forget, for a moment, that the offensive line gave up six sacks, committed two false starts and was largely responsible for the Bears averaging 1.7 yards per carry.
What was most concerning for the Bears is the line was out-physicaled by the Broncos.
Left guard Chris Spencer had a rough night. He was walked back by Broncos rookie Derek Wolfe for a sack and was bulled backward into the quarterback on two other plays that didnt result in sacks. On a Kahlil Bell run for no gain, Keith Vickerson blew up the play by putting Spencer on his back.
If Spencer doesnt pick it up, he could lose some snaps to Chilo Rachal.
Right tackle Gabe Carimi should be the Bears most physical blocker, but he didnt play like it Thursday. He gave ground to Wolfe on a handoff to Bell that resulted in no gain, and he also was pushed backward in Jason Campbells face on a power rush by Elvis Dumervil.
Still, it was a decent comeback game for Carimi, who missed most of his rookie season with a knee injury.
Most of the focus was on left tackle JMarcus Webb, and he performed a lot like he did much of last season.
Webb had a lot of effective snaps, but he had a false start and likely will be charged with giving up a sack. It technically was a coverage sack, but Webb could have prevented it if he didnt get high and off balance.
Lovie Smith had to be much more pleased with the other line.
On a night when Julius Peppers didnt need to shower, rookie Shea McClellin easily was the Bears best pass rusher.
You can beat him up for getting wiped out by Adam Grant on a 2-yard touchdown run, but McClellin owned Grant for much of the night. He had one sack and six pressures by my count and played a nice all around game.
McClellin didnt just speed rush. He showed a variety of moves and was smart about when to use each. He read plays well and found the ball. He made a number of impressive plays against the run, such as when he came off a block and nailed Xavier Omon after a 3-yard run.
He showed closing speed and finished plays. He hustled and didnt give up, even making one tackle on the right sideline after lining up at left end.
McClellin will fit in well because he gives the defense something it didnt have. He will get steamrolled at times like he did Thursday, but he will put a lot of offensive players on the ground and disrupt a lot of plays.
McClellin wasnt the only end who flashed some skills. Corey Woottons first step looks awfully quick. And Cheta Ozougwu showed up numerous times.
The other defensive lineman who distinguished himself is tackle Nate Collins. He played well against the run and pass. He was solid at the point of attack and a presence in the middle of the field.