Problems with the offensive line began with the Bears’ first snap from scrimmage and continued, overall unusual for a group whose highest sacks allowed before Sunday was three (Oakland, Washington) and ranked eighth in the NFL in sacks per pass play.
A holding penalty on center Hroniss Grasu on the opening snap nullified a 35-yard run by Matt Forte. Grasu also whiffed on a block of defensive tackle Tom Johnson, from which Johnson took down running back Jeremy Langford for a four-yard loss.
Cutler was sacked on each of the first three possessions, although the first two arguably were perhaps more on Cutler than the offensive line, with Cutler holding the football too long on the first and then being unable to elude linebacker Chad Greenway’s open-field arm tackle.
“We knew he was going to hold the ball and try and go downfield at times,” Johnson said. “We were able to capitalize on that.”
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But the sack by defensive end Brian Robison looping around right tackle Kyle Long was disastrous, resulting in a strip-sack and fumble recovered by Robison after the Bears had surprised the Vikings with a successful onside kick to start the second half.
The frustrations were evident “especially the opening drive of the second half,” said guard Matt Slauson. “We knew were going for an onside and we were gassed up and ready to go. We felt good, were excited, just the execution falling apart.”
Moon's Grade: F
The Chicago Bears are thin at outside linebacker after only signing Aaron Lynch to provide a pass rush opposite Leonard Floyd this season.
Lynch was considered a risky signing in March because of his injury history. He's appeared in only 28 games over the last three years and he's already off to an injured start with the Bears.
Lynch was one of several players to miss Sunday's practice with a hamstring injury, a list that includes fellow starter, Danny Trevathan.
Lynch and Trevathan missed Saturday's practice, too.
Other Bears who sat out on Sunday were Sherrick McManis (hamstring), Daniel Brown (ankle) and Joel Iyiegbuniwe (shoulder). First-round pick Roquan Smith remains a holdout.
Lynch is in a training camp battle with Sam Acho for a starting job and will have to hold off Kylie Fitts and Isaiah Irving as well. The more time he loses to injury, the less and less likely the chances are that he'll become an impact player on defense.
It's still early, and the Bears have an extra week of training camp because of the Hall of Fame game. There's plenty of time for Lynch to get healthy and put this hamstring issue behind him.
Matt Nagy is a few days into his first training camp as an NFL head coach, and while he's earned praise from players up and down the Chicago Bears' roster, he said Sunday after practice that he's not concerned with being a player's coach.
"I don't care about the players' coach part," he said, "but I care that they respect me and our coaches. This isn't going to happen overnight, this is something I'm trying to build with the players.
"There's so much stuff that comes into this. There are little areas where were all growing and that's where I think the respect factor comes in for all coaches."
Nagy won't make any friends with his approach to practicing in bad weather. The first few days of Bears camp have been drenched by rain but Nagy hasn't moved practice indoors. Instead, he wants his team to get used to playing in the elements. Hardly a favor to the players, even if it will prepare them for bad weather games this season.
The Bears will debut Nagy and their new offense on August 2 against the Ravens in the Hall of Fame game. Starters will likely play only one series, if at all.