When I was a kid, my dad (a Packers fan) and a close family friend (a Bears fan) would annually wager a case of adult beverages on the Bears’ season. My dad, being the wiser man in this case, would often wait to bring up the bet until after our friend returned from visiting training camp, where his optimism had peaked.
Sadly, as I’m sure you could have guessed, my dad has gotten the better end of that wager more often than not over the last 20+ years or so, but what are ya gonna do? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. Starting today, I’m spending a few days in Las Vegas … and I just got back from training camp. My optimism is peaking, so I’ll try to learn from my dad and not make the same mistake our close family friend did. It won’t be easy. Maybe just a $10 bet on Trubisky’s team, eh?
- There are legitimate feelings of optimism surrounding this Bears team because of a belief that the offense will do some heavy lifting and put points on the board. So it’s good to hear that the defense is also coming away feeling good about Mitch Trubisky, who Prince Amukamara says isn’t looking like a rookie any more. “He looks like a veteran,” Amukamara said, via Larry Mayer of the team’s official website. “I’m just looking at his stage presence, just how he coordinates everybody, how he calls plays, his presence in the pocket, and everything like that.”
- There was some concern about Trubisky having to re-live his rookie season experience because he is learning a new offense under a new head coach and coordinator. But it sounds as if Trubisky really hit the books during the offseason in learning what he could, which should help cut into what could be a steep learning curve for a second-year pro running his third different offense in as many years.
- Over at Bleacher Report, Kristopher Knox wonders how much of the offense can Trubisky realistically learn and use by the time Week 1 rolls around. It’s the Bears’ biggest question coming into training camp and we won’t get an answer until we get to September. But still … this is something we should keep in mind as we progress through the summer. The Bears aren’t going to be a finished product when the season starts on September 9, but we really want to see the team take steps in the right direction with each passing practice.
- Putting together a new system and scheme is one thing, but it won’t get off the ground without playmakers doing work. There is an element of team speed on offense that wasn’t as apparent last year. In addition to Tarik Cohen and a healthy Kevin White, the likes of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Allen Robinson provide a certain pizzazz because of their quickness. Head Coach Matt Nagy has talked about playing fast, and I’m not sure that would be possible without having quick-twitch players you can run the offense through.
- Let’s not leave rookie Javon Wims out of the picture here. Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune points out that Wims is working on learning the finer details of the wide receiver position, which is necessary if he is to crack the roster in a position group that is carrying eight new players.
- Not only do the Bears have new players, they have new players who look good in the uniform:
— NFL (@NFL) July 23, 2018
- One new guy who isn’t in camp (yet) is Roquan Smith. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Bears aren’t affected by Smith’s holdout right now, but how long that lasts remains to be seen. Because the Bears have three inside linebackers (Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, and John Timu) with starting experience, sitting out will hurt Smith more than it hurts the team.
- It’s not just the speed guys who are opening eyes at camp. There are expectations that second-year tight end Adam Shaheen improves as he aims to make a major second-year leap after an uneven rookie season, writes Chris Emma of 670 The Score. Shaheen struggled to fit into the Bears offense as his role was limited to mostly run-block snaps. He didn’t get much playing time in the passing game, save for some goal line and red zone action. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said the Ashland University product was just getting his feet wet last year and the expectations are on the rise. “Second-year guy, big talent,” Leno said. “Now he’s just got to put it all together.”
- Speaking of putting it together, you have to love what Jordan Howard is doing in camp as a receiver. It’s not just that he is catching passes, but the Bears have put him out into patterns more often, teaming him with Cohen in the backfield, and even having him lineup out wide outside the numbers to give a look that wasn’t often seen when Dowell Loggains was running the show. Over at 247Sports, Zack Pearson writes about the hard work Howard has put in to improve as a pass-catcher. Here’s hoping to that hard work paying off for him (and the Bears’ offense) in a big way this season.
- Because there is a focus on a new-look passing game, the Bears’ secondary will be under a fine microscope. Robert Zeglinski of The Rock River Times notes how Chicago’s secondary is putting on a show in camp. I like that this secondary is being challenged by the offense in camp because they will be pushed throughout the season to come. They’ll face three Pro Bowl signal callers twice in divisional play, could see at least three high-profile rookies, and some Super Bowl winning quarterbacks pop up on the team’s list of opponents. I’m a believer in the concept that sharpens steel, so it’s good to see this group show out early.
- I’m glad the Hoosiers had fun at Bears camp checking out some old friends:
— Indiana Football (@IndianaFootball) July 24, 2018