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Hoge's Bears Things: A closer look at Darnell Wright's NFL debut

Adam Hoge Avatar
August 14, 2023

Good morning!

Hope you were able to enjoy the Bears’ first preseason game over the weekend. 

I was especially excited to get my hands on the end zone film from Saturday’s win over the Titans to watch first-round pick Darnell Wright a little closer. He only played seven snaps, but the right tackle held his own and passed his first NFL test. 

I saw two plays in particular that Wright should feel good about, and one that needs to be cleaned up… 

Play #1: On Khalil Herbert’s 11-yard run, Wright showed his quick feet and movement skills, easily kicking out in the flat to reach his block on the nickel corner. In fact, he actually had to slow down at the last second to get his shoulder on defensive back Armani Marsh, before also getting a small piece of linebacker Jack Gibbens. The 2-for-1 block sprung Herbert to the sideline for 11 yards.

Play #2: There was definitely a missed assignment when edge rusher Rashad Weaver went untouched into the backfield and tackled Herbert for a one-yard loss. Wright and wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. both went to block Marsh on the outside, while left guard Ja’Tyre Carter climbed to the linebacker. That allowed Weaver to go free into the backfield and I suspect he was Wright’s man.

Play #3: Wright did his job securing the backside on the 56-yard screen pass to Herbert. Nothing too fancy — just won his 1-on-1 block on Weaver, which mattered because Justin Fields had to hold up briefly and pump fake the blitzer that came through the middle. We won’t talk about the fact that Cody Whitehair and Carter were probably illegally downfield when Fields let go of the ball. 

It was a small sample size, but Wright can feel pretty good about his first NFL preseason game, even if it came against the Titans’ backups. I’m a little surprised he only played seven snaps, but it’s a sign the Bears feel confident in their rookie right tackle. By comparison, Carter — who started in place of Nate Davis at right guard — played 39 snaps. 

This week should be a good test for Wright, who will get two padded practices against the Colts’ starters in Indianapolis and — presumably — will play more in the second preseason game.

Up Next: The Bears have a practice at Halas Hall today before heading down to Indianapolis for joint practices against the Colts. We’ll have you covered with a CHGO Bears practice recap show at 3 p.m. CT before heading down to Indy later in the week for some remote shows.

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