It’s a back-to-work Monday for the Bears, who are participating in their third straight public practice as I’m typing this. They’ll take a few days off from the public eye before opening practice back up on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So yes, there’s still plenty of time to see them in Bourbonnais.
- You could definitely sense the omnipresent vibes of optimism at practice on Saturday and Sunday – even through the rain. The buzz generated by the promise of a modern NFL offense had fans chanting Matt Nagy’s name, applauding Jordan Howard catching passes out of the backfield, and standing in amazement as the likes of Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, and Kevin White (yes, that Kevin White) made plays downfield. It was truly a sight to see.
- Last year’s camp felt like a slog, especially if you watched Mitch Trubisky – the most athletic and skilled quarterback in camp – work his way up from the bottom of the depth chart. You can tell Trubisky is still getting a feel for things in the offense, particularly as he gets used to executing run-pass option plays again, but it feels like only a matter of time before he gets it into gear.
- Hall of Fame NFL scribe Dan Pompei gathers more overwhelmingly optimistic perspective from around Bears camp in a piece for The Athletic. Pompei even catches up with NBC Sports columnist Peter King, who calls the Bears “the most mysterious team in the NFL” and sees them as one of the most intriguing squads. After a three-year tear-down with John Fox overseeing things, the Bears are back to building. This roster is younger, more athletic, and more skilled at various positions than any team that has been fielded by GM Ryan Pace in any of the last three years. The Bears are far from a finished product and King believes this group has a shot at being pretty good, but not until 2019. And that’s okay!
- It’s one thing for me to be optimistic about the future. That’s just my nature. But to read it from a national voice such as King, who says the Bears could be what the Eagles were last year when 2019 rolls around exemplifies how far this team has come.
- To be fair, the hope of a new offense bringing life to Chicago football isn’t a new concept. It wasn’t that long ago Marc Trestman was the new guy leading the way with a shiny new toy that sparked positive thoughts. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times notes the similarities and explores why things might end differently with Nagy calling the shots. This isn’t the first time the Nagy-Trestman comparison has been brought to my attention, as several of you fine readers have offered that up, too. And while I get your angle (and understand your fear of being let down by another coach) there are some key differences between the two. I won’t dig through them all, but the one that stands out most is that the Bears picked up Nagy at the start of his coaching arc while Trestman was at the end. There’s something that feels right about hiring a coach with the arrow pointing up in his career … something that wasn’t there when Trestman was the out-of-left-field candidate back in 2013.
- Having a young quarterback who can be molded into something special also helps fan the flames of optimism. Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus highlights a collection of 2017 first-round picks who are primed for a breakout in their second season in the pros. Among them is Trubisky, whom Gayle sees signs pointing toward a successful second season. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when the offense finally opened up for Trubisky, things started to look good. That Week 14 game against the Bengals (when Trubisky was PFF’s highest-graded QB) was an example of what quality professional quarterbacking looks like with the right weapons, game plan, preparation, coaching, and execution. More of that, please.
- Now, it’s not as if Trubisky didn’t have his rough moments. Remember, he started his career with four sub-50 grades from PFF in his first 12 starts, but he did have six games where his grade was in the respectable 70-grade area. Not bad for a guy running an offense with a coach and coordinator on their way out the door.
- Speaking of former first-rounders who could break out in 2018, Kevin White looks real decent in the early going:
— Da Bears Brothers (@DaBearsBros) July 22, 2018
- Speaking of first-round picks, a few of them have signed recently:
The #Giants have agreed to terms with first-round RB Saquon Barkley on his four-year, fully guaranteed contract worth $31.2M, source says. He has a $20.76M signing bonus with $15M paid out immediately — the most in several years. He gets the rest by October. Rookies report today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 22, 2018
It’s a four-year, $18,341,876 fully guaranteed deal for McGlinchey, the No. 9 overall pick. That leaves Baker Mayfield (1), Sam Darnold (3), Denzel Ward (4), Josh Allen (7) and Roquan Smith (8) unsigned in the top 10. https://t.co/5pj6HrYgNZ
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 23, 2018
- The Bears waived offensive lineman Jeremi Hall on Monday, which opens up a roster spot.