Bears Bullets: Training Camp Battles, Covering The Slot, Paying Running Backs, More

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Bears Bullets: Training Camp Battles, Covering The Slot, Paying Running Backs, More

Chicago Bears

It’s been a beautiful morning to be outside and writing in Chicago.

I’m not sure I’ll get many of these types of days come November and December when the Bears are in the thick of what hopes to be an interesting season on multiple fronts. Still, be sure to take the proper precautions before you leave the house if you’re going to try and enjoy the summer temperatures.

For example, take your allergy medicine:

If you’re reading Tuesday’s Bullets, it’s because I made it through my morning sneezing fit:

  • I’ll be extra certain to take my allergy pills whenever I head out to Bourbonnais to check out open practices because I don’t want to miss any of the quarterback action. The biggest story line of the Bears’ offseason was the team’s complete overhaul of the quarterbacks room, and it will surely be the most important thing to follow at camp. Pro Football Weekly digs in and offers up several questions and provides some answers and perspective on the quarterback situation as camp approaches. I’m still unsure how to perfectly describe the current state of the quarterback position. It’s not a contest, competition, or derby, because the starter has already been decided.
  • Quarterback isn’t the only position where competition will be hot. Over at CSN Chicago, JJ Stankevitz writes about the developing story lines over on the defensive line. The Bears’ front seven was thrashed by injuries, then gashed by opposing rushing offenses in the second-half of the season. Part of the team’s issues in that area were due to injuries on the line – specifically to nose tackle Eddie Goldman, whose healthy return will be key to any success that group has in 2017. The health of newcomer and future teammate Jaye Howard will also dictate how well he and his linemates play. Howard was a player on the rise from 2013 to 2015, with Pro Football Focus giving him improving grades in each of those three seasons before an injury riddled 2016 dropped him into the site’s below average category.
  • Jonathan Bullard can be a forgotten man on the defensive line, and for obvious reasons. His 42.4 PFF grade was the lowest among Bears interior defenders last season and ranked 107th overall. Bullard also played in just 296 defensive snaps, so his struggles were amplified because of the limited playing time – but also buried because of his position on the depth chart. However, I don’t expect the Bears to give up on him one season into his NFL career. Perhaps the former third-round pick will get a chance to make some positive strides in training camp this offseason. With that in mind, we can take a brief look back at his pre-draft profile.
  • In the defensive secondary, it appears as if the Bears have the slot covered in what could prove to be the most entertaining training camp battle:

  • Tony Jefferson was on the Bears’ radar early in free agency as a potential target to fill one of the team’s vacancies. However, the Ravens jumped the market and landed Jefferson, who explained that he watched the team’s game film on Game Pass as one of the reasons why he signed with Baltimore. The Bears ended up signing Quintin Demps as part of their offseason theme of adding veterans on short-term deals.
  • It was a bit surprising to see the Vikings cut ties with Adrian Peterson before free agency started, but it was even more stunning to see him land with the Saints – a team that looked settled in the backfield. Over at Bleacher Report, Dan Pompei has the story behind how the star back linked up in New Orleans.
  • After refusing to slap the franchise tag on wife receiver Alshon Jeffery for the second straight offseason, the Bears don’t have to deal with the summertime contract drama that comes with dealing with a tagged player. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t some cases worth watching before that deadline comes. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell could play under the tag this season, and fellow running back David Johnson hopes Bell gets the payday he deserves. Johnson tells the MMQB he hopes Bell receives the kind of money quarterbacks do in their deals. If any back deserves that kind of contract, it’s Bell, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and gained more than 600 receiving yards in two of his last three seasons. The value of running backs is hard to pin down, especially since their career shelf lives can be cut short. Still, this contract watch will be worth keeping an eye on – especially if Jordan Howard follows up with another Pro Bowl campaign.
  • The Bears will see Bell when the team faces the Steelers early in the 2017 season. They’ll also get a good look at his teammate, wide receiver Antonio Brown. Good luck with that:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.