SHARE

CHICAGO — In front of a crowd unofficially estimated at 20,000 the Chicago Bears had their first live scrimmage of the preseason at Soldier Field Saturday.Other than a leg injury to defensive back Rashaad Reynolds, they appeared to emerge healthy — which is often the first priority of these exercises — and the stars of the show, if there were any, were newcomers Victor Cruz and Tarik Cohen.Quarterbacks Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez and Mitch Trubisky were each given one possession against the defense, with Glennon hitting tight end Dion Sims for a touchdown from inside the red zone, Sanchez connecting with Cruz from approximately 60 yards out and Trubisky’s group managing a short field goal.Asked for his thoughts on his club’s performance, head coach John Fox said, “I think we’re just a better football team.“You know Glennon stepped in and is doing a good job. All of our new guys look good; you saw Prince Amukamara get his hands on a couple of balls.“We’re just, I think we’ve come a ways and we’ll see where it takes us.”Most significantly, Fox celebrated the lack of serious injuries after losing Hroniss Grasu to a torn ACL in this scrimmage a year ago.Cruz talked about his big connection with Sanchez.“I was splitting two safeties and it just broke open and Sanchez saw me a little later than I would hope but he saw me down the middle and I was able to get in the end zone.”Cruz found some special meaning in the big play.“It feels good just to have the pads on, catching a football, scoring a touchdown again and [being] on the field,” said Cruz. “Man, this is what I dreamed of, to continue my career and continue to play at a high level and I think that’s coming true.”Adding a touch of levity to the moment on the field as Cruz attempted to begin his patented Salsa touchdown celebration, his former Giants teammate Prince Amukamara showed up to put the brakes on it.Cruz laughed afterwards explaining, “He was trying to, he’s always been hating on my Salsa for a long time but I finally got to shove him off and give the fans a little bit but we’ll see.”The diminutive Cohen has been one of the focuses of the offense early in camp, and there was great interest in how he would look once the big fellas started laying wood on him.None were able to, as Cohen avoided taking any serious hits while getting outside on two nice gainers and running fearlessly inside without getting clobbered.Fox wrapped up the day with a bit of positivity saying, “I think the culture of the football team is way different.”They know what they’re supposed to do, and you know guys like Victor help move that culture along.”One particularly nice touch on the afternoon: after introducing the entire 90-man roster, each player was given a sharpie and the club spread out around the field in units, spending a good 15 minutes signing autographs for as many fans as possible.Following the scrimmage, as the Bears retired to the lockerroom, youngsters in the crowd were welcomed on the Soldier Field turf to run the ball, and it’s safe to say the organization scored some real points Saturday with at least 20,000 or so of its most devoted fans.