Best and Worst of Bourbonnais, Aguayo’s Fresh Start, College Football’s Top Prospects, and Other Bullets
With training camp at Bourbonnais in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the Chicago Bears to move on to the next step:
- Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune has a list of training camp superlatives from the Bears’ stint on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, while Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic has his All-Bourbonnais Team. As expected, Bears rookies are featured prominently throughout – and if things go well for the team in 2017, it would be pretty neat if those rookies were the ones leading the charge when the regular season rolls around.
- Over at ESPN, Jeff Dickerson tracks the progress of the Bears’ rookies after their first training camp experience. Naturally, quarterback Mitch Trubisky is the headliner, but it’s almost time to start taking notice of the other rookies – primarily, ones who could end up with a lot of playing time. Dickerson writes safety Eddie Jackson is pushing Adrian Amos for his starting job, while rookies on the offensive side of the ball – such as tight end Adam Shaheen and running back Tarik Cohen – are angling for increased roles at their respective positions.
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times highlights the highs and lows of training camp, and it’s hard to find a player who had a more disappointing showing at camp than outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. Of course, that’s partly because he didn’t have much of a showing at all (he never made onto the practice field). McPhee’s status is up in the air, and that’s not where anyone wanted it to be at this stage of his Bears career. He was the first major investment in the post-Phil Emery era, and while he has played well when healthy, he hasn’t been healthy often enough.
- Despite McPhee’s absence, there is good news to report on the defensive front. Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman sees the Bears making progress and feeling more comfortable in Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme. Freeman is one of the most important players in Fangio’s defense, and last year was one of the best as he earned an elite 93.9 grade from Pro Football Focus in his first season in Chicago.
- Roberto Aguayo is the latest addition to the Bears’ preseason mix. And over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma writes about how the recently released Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker is looking forward to making the most of his second chance in Chicago. Aguayo will provide the competition for incumbent Connor Barth, whose success rate dipped below 80 percent in his first season with the Bears, marking the first time it had happened since 2009.
- Got some spare change lying around? Because if you do, then these Bears playoff odds could be profitable for a risk-taking gambler:
NFL playoff props from @LVSuperBook
Will they or won't they make it to the postseason? pic.twitter.com/peakUtFlCm
— Covers (@Covers) August 14, 2017
- This list ranking college football’s top pass rushers has me itching to start the season. A worst-case scenario for the Bears’ 2017 means the team will have primary position going into the 2018 NFL Draft. And while we’d rather not explore those possibilities just yet, it’s worth keeping in the back of our minds whenever the top players are highlighted. Because even though the Bears have depth along the front seven (possibly enough to hang with the big boys), you really can’t have enough impact pass rushers.
- On the flip side, the No. 10 rated player in college football heading into the season is someone whose job is to prevent pass rushers from getting to the quarterback. Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams is one of my favorite college prospects because he just might be the most well-rounded offensive lineman at his level. The Bears have their own question marks at tackle, and the tandem of Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie will get the year to prove they’re worth keeping for the long haul. However, I can’t imagine any team not wanting explore any potential upgrades along the offensive line – and that includes the Bears.
- Earlier, we shared news regarding injuries that are already taking their toll on the Detroit Lions. While injuries are unfortunate, they do provide opportunities for players who might not otherwise receive them. Second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel is among the players who could see an additional look from Detroit’s staff this summer. Zettel played a total of 220 snaps in 13 games as a rookie last season.
- Jay Cutler appears to have the green light to make his return to the NFL on Thursday against the Ravens.
- The NFL can be a cold-blooded place. And nothing exemplifies that like the Philadelphia Eagles cutting running back Ryan Mathews after he passed his physical. Mathews, who is entering his age 30 season, has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt – but none since 2013 when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers.
What Makes Bears the Best Fit? Exploring Oliver, Hearing Out Henry, Road Trip Jams, and Other Bears Bullets