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Jay Cutler. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)
Jay Cutler. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Welcome in to the first “Rewind” column of the 2015 season. If you’re new here, hopefully you’ll find this to be a worthwhile review of the previous day’s Bears game. If you’ve been here the last few years, then you’ll notice a few changes, starting with the fact that it’s being published on Monday instead of Tuesday.

The formatting is also a little bit different, but the general idea is still the same: I take everything I learned in the locker room after the game, then I re-watch every play, grade out the entire team, add-in the Monday press conferences and out pops that week’s “Rewind” column.

Let’s get started:

Blame Adam Gase for the empty goal-line set all you want, but the execution by his players was very poor. Here’s a list of mistakes for you:

On 2nd and goal: Eddie Royal and Alshon Jeffery looked like two receivers who hadn’t played in awhile. Jeffery was supposed to block Royal’s man, freeing Royal for an easy slant from Cutler. Jeffery didn’t execute the block, but the timing of Royal’s route was also odd, which put Jeffery in a tough spot. Cutler put the ball where it was supposed to be, but he probably should never of thrown it after Jeffery and Royal didn’t execute the play properly. It was nearly intercepted.

On 3rd and goal: Will Montgomery’s snap was low, throwing everything off from the start. Then, Kyle Long was beat by Jayrone Elliott, forcing Cutler to get rid of the ball. Meanwhile, Jeffery and Royal failed to execute their rub route, leaving both covered. On top of that, Packers cornerback Damarious Randall was holding Jeffery and probably got away with a penalty.

Finally, on 4th and goal: Packers safety Sean Richardson came on a blitz between right guard Vladimir Ducosse and right tackle Kyle Long. Long was supposed to pick it up and didn’t.

“That’s my guy,” he said Monday. “There’s a reason Jay can’t make that throw — it’s because there’s a guy with his arms up in his face.”

Royal had a step on cornerback Casey Hayward on the fade, but Cutler couldn’t deliver an accurate throw and it sailed high.

Of course, maybe running the football would have been easier to execute, but the Packers were stacking the box and there’s no guarantee similar mistakes wouldn’t have been made anyway.

“Whether you’re running the ball or passing the ball, you have 11 guys that need to do their job and that’s what we refer to as execution,” Fox said Monday. “For what (the Packers) were playing, I didn’t dislike what we were in and what we tried to do. We just didn’t do it well enough.”

By the way, give credit to both John Fox and Kyle Long for the way they handled the failed fourth down blitz pick-up in Monday’s press conferences. Fox refused to throw his player under the bus, but Long got right up to the podium and admitted he was the one who screwed up without even being asked about it. Both were very professional in how they handled that.

Kyle Long’s day wasn’t all that bad. He certainly didn’t grade out well, but there was also a lot to build on. Long was still effective in the running game and showed how he can be valuable kicking to the outside on stretch plays, which are runs Matt Forte executes very well.

Making the switch from guard to tackle on very short notice is not easy, no matter how athletic you are. The right tackle play Sunday was better than what the Bears had in the preseason and it will only get better as Long gets more comfortable and learns his assignments.

Would a preseason game have helped him? Probably, but he handled that question well too:

“That’s in the past,” he said. “I hadn’t even thought about that, but I’m sure that would have pretty cool to get out there (in the preseason). But the way it shook out, it didn’t work out that way. I’m not going to sit here and complain about it. I’m going to move forward and try to be the best player I can be and be the best teammate I can be.”

The highest grade of the week goes to Eddie Goldman. The rookie nose tackle was very effective, lining up in multiple techniques and collapsing the middle of the Packers’ offense. Against one particular run, he stuffed it by pushing guard T.J. Lang directly back into Eddie Lacy.

Will Sutton got the start at nose tackle and Goldman saw only 24 snaps (40 percent), but look for that number to go up. Remember, Goldman suffered a concussion in the third preseason game, which allowed Sutton to pass him up on the depth chart. Before that, the rookie was having a great preseason. If he keeps progressing, that will allow Vic Fangio to use Ratliff at the end position when he returns from his suspension/ankle injury, which would make the entire line better.

The lowest grade of the week goes to Vladimir Ducasse. This one wasn’t really close. The right guard had two untimely penalties and multiple breakdowns in both the passing and running game. It will be interesting to see if the recently signed Patrick Omameh gets a shot to start at right guard against the Cardinals.

The Bears really lack playmakers on defense. Unfortunately, this is Year 3 of that trend. Takeaways used to be the staple of the Bears’ defense, but that has changed dramatically. After leading the NFL with 44 takeaways in 2012 (2.75 per game), the Bears only have 52 in the last two-plus seasons combined (1.57 per game).

Not surprisingly, the lack of takeaways over the last 33 games coincides with a neutralized pass rush, especially against the Packers. Here’s a scary reality: In Aaron Rodgers’ last two trips to Soldier Field, he’s left without even being touched, at least according to the official stats. No, seriously. The Bears haven’t registered a quarterback hit on Rodgers at home since 2013.

Sam Acho was the Bears’ biggest playmaker in the preseason, recording two takeaways. He was released Saturday in a payroll move, but was re-signed Monday.  As a vested veteran, his salary is no longer guaranteed because he wasn’t on the Week 1 roster. Now the question is: Is Acho recovered from his mysterious illness? The Bears could use him.

Pernell McPhee needs to be better. He was brought to Chicago to improve the pass rush and he didn’t do much in his first game as a Bear. He had a few nice rushes, but also lost contain a couple of times and I had him graded out in the red when it was all said and done. Also, a closer look at the tape revealed that Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga wasn’t ready for the snap and wasn’t looking at McPhee on the play where McPhee drew a holding penalty against him. It wasn’t as impressive of a rush as it initially appeared.

Special teams is still a big concern. The Bears allowed 106 kick return yards to Ty Montgomery on just three returns, which was partially why Aaron Rodgers only accumulated 189 passing yards on the day. Meanwhile, Marc Mariani remains a solid, reliable returner, but he’s not a home run hitter. This combination is going to lead to the Bears losing the “hidden yardage” battle frequently, which hurts both sides of the ball.

It’s safe to say the Bears still miss Devin Hester.

It was good to see Zach Miller playing in a regular season game again. Because of multiple injuries, Sunday marked his first regular season action since 2011. Miller only saw 11 snaps and didn’t record a catch, but he and Martellus Bennett combined to throw the key blocks on Matt Forte’s touchdown run.

Speaking of snap counts, it was very surprising to see Lamarr Houston only play four snaps on defense. By comparison, Willie Young, who appeared to be well behind Houston on the depth chart in the preseason, got 22 snaps.

Fox attributed Houston’s lack of playing time to the Packers’ hurry-up offense, which prevented the Bears from subbing. Based on what we saw Sunday, Young is a big part of the Bears’ nickel sub-package, in which the Bears employ more of a four-man front, putting Young in his old familiar position. Houston, who has much more experience as a 3-4 outside linebacker, is more of a rotational guy in the base package. Sunday, the Bears were able to sub a lot more in nickel situations than they were in base, so Fox’s explanation makes sense.

Still, only four snaps for a guy making almost $7 million this season?

As the Bears get ready to face the Cardinals in Week 2, we’ll close out this week’s Rewind column with this interesting comparison from safety Antrel Rolle, who played in Arizona from 2005-09:

“That group was a lot like this group. We weren’t good my first two years there. I think we might’ve won 10 games my first two years and then we went 8-8 and then we went to the Super Bowl. We gel and we gel fast. We weren’t always the most athletic team, we weren’t always the most talented team, but we played together and we played fast. And we fought, we fought with every inch of our body and this team is going to get to that. I’m pretty sure of that.”

Stay patient, Bears fans.

Adam Hoge covers the Chicago Bears for WGN Radio and He also co-hosts The Beat, weekends on 720 WGN. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.