The Bears Open Training Camp as the NFL's Most Underrated Team and Other Bullets

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The Bears Open Training Camp as the NFL’s Most Underrated Team and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears News

Bears veterans report to camp today, which means the gang will finally be back together again. Well, with the notable exception of Roquan Smith, who has yet to sign his rookie contract.

  • We have spent a ton of time this offseason talking about the Bears as a sleeper Cinderella story to the point where it’s almost difficult to believe they would sneak up on anyone. But nationally, the outlook for Chicago’s football team is different. Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier names the Bears as the league’s most underrated team entering training camp in 2018. While most consider the Bears another run-of-the-mill rebuilding project, Tanier sees them as the next Philadelphia Eagles. That’s high praise considering what the Eagles just did to win the Super Bowl, but with a young quarterback, a new set of offensive-minded coaches, new weapons, and a strong defense, one could make that case for the Bears and not sound totally crazy.
  • Roquan Smith is expected to play an important role in the Bears maintaining a top-10 defensive ranking, but is staying away from the team until he gets his contract ironed out and signed. These contract squabbles generally stem from offset language, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hears that contract structure could be what is keeping this deal from getting done.
  • Because Smith’s team was among the first to show up to camp, Smith gets to be the first unsigned top-10 pick not to show up. It wouldn’t be an issue if the Bears were showing up to camp later. And because the team has five preseason games instead of four, I’m not as worried about a lengthy summer holdout as I would be otherwise. He’ll sign. And when he does, you’ll definitely want his jersey, so why not get it when there’s free shipping:

  • Sometimes, signs present themselves in unique ways:

  • Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times sees this Bears team fitting the profile of a Los Angeles Rams team that went from 4-12 in 2016 to 11-5 in 2017. Like last year’s Rams team, this group of Bears has a tough road ahead mainly because of some staunch divisional opponents. But just because the schedule looks tough doesn’t mean it always will be.
  • The one thing that Rams group didn’t really have was a stud tight end, but with a rising star at quarterback and a handful of receivers who can go get it, they didn’t need one. Lorin Cox of Bears Wire highlights five plays that exemplify what Trey Burton can bring to the Bears’ offense. Chicago really hasn’t utilized the “U” tight end and were quite particular with which tight ends ran patterns on pass plays last year. But with a new coaching staff in tow, this thing is going to look a little different.
  • Because we don’t want to forget about the other side of the ball, Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website presents four defensive players who we should probably be keeping an eye on in camp. Second-year safety Eddie Jackson had a fine rookie campaign, but he could still get better. While the draft class of 2017’s grade will ultimately fall on the shoulders of Mitch Trubisky, landing Jackson as a fourth-round steal could turn out to be huge.
  • It’s not often when the Bears’ defense takes a backseat when it comes to receiving attention, but that’s exactly what’s going down in this camp. ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson writes that the new-look offense will be the center of attention at training camp. An offensive-minded head coach and a second-year quarterback with upside are the two main pieces everyone will focus on this summer as the Bears make their climb up the NFC North standings.
  • We’d like to take a moment to pass along our sincerest thoughts and prayers to Mr. Dickerson and his family as he steps away for a bit to care for his wife and son, which was detailed in a tweet last night.
  • And finally, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • (WELP. Something got cut off and now I can’t remember what it was … Glad you folks are reading to the end. LM)

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.