Only one more sleep for me until I get to see Bears training camp with my own eyes. If only you could see the smile on my face as I wrote that sentence.
• Why isn’t there a way to inject practice highlights directly into my veins?
• In addition to seeing Andy Dalton and Justin Fields slinging it, we get appearances from players on both sides of the ball. It was neat to see Bilal Nichols, Trevis Gipson, Mario Edwards Jr., and Deon Bush being among the defenders making the sizzle reel. Not great to see Roquan Smith lose a battle in coverage, but awesome to see newcomer Damien Williams show off his speed and route-running ability out of the backfield. That’ll play on Sundays. I still feel uneasy about anyone wearing No. 50, but I spotted an appearance by fellow newcomer Jeremiah Attaochu. Seeing catches from Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson II were good for the soul. Same can be said about an interception at the end of the clip. Let the D cook, highlight package creators!
• All that to say one bullet-point later that the Bears have a training camp attendance problem:
Was a little shocked the attendance was a low as it was today at #Bears camp. No official number but I estimated no more than 275-300 people. Thought the weekend would turn out better results.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) July 31, 2021
• Camp at Halas Hall was never going to be like Bourbonnais. But I’ve seen several tweets like the one above from Zack Pearson illustrating a problem the Bears are having with camp attendance. Limiting camp to 1,000 fans due to a smaller campus and health protocols was a sensible move. It’s just that 1,000 fans haven’t been showing up *DESPITE* all training camp tickets being spoken for online. What gives? I suppose what’s happening is that fans did the heady thing, applied for tickets every day in hopes of getting lucky once, were successful, but turns out are unable to go. To be clear, this is no judgment on people who can’t go. Schedules are tricky. Life gets in the way. Stuff happens. But this feels like such a missed opportunity.
• I like to think of myself as a problem solver. However, this is a tough cookie to crack. Money talks, but I think it would be a bad look for the Bears to charge fans for camp practices. But on the other hand, what if the Bears charged for camp tickets, but treated it as a deposit that was refundable upon checking in at camp? Or perhaps charged for tickets, but fans in attendance get a gift bag from the team that includes apparel, knickknacks, and things of that nature? No-shows are unavoidable. But modern problems require modern solutions. And, in the end, the Bears should have a full house of rocking fans like they did in Bourbonnais and Platteville (WI) before.
• Bears Coach Matt Nagy has hoop dreams:
Breakin' down the lineup. pic.twitter.com/WmI8xsMlcI
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 31, 2021
• Nagy might be talking about a 5-man hoops squad right now. But once the season begins, I imagine Nagy is dreaming about putting those big bodies to use in goal line situations. The Bears could trot out a super-sized grouping with tight ends Jimmy Graham (6-7), Jesse James (6-7), and Cole Kmet (6-6). Scooter Harrington (6-5), Thomas Ives (6-4), and J.P. Holtz (6-3) could see goal-line package time in the preseason. And we shouldn’t overlook Allen Robinson II (6-2) or Javon Wims (6-2) in these packages. Long story, short: Chicago has options. Large options.
• Look who’s having fun again:
.@BNichols98 on the defense: "We got a whole new swagger about us. It kind of reminds you of that 2018 swagger we had."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 31, 2021
Finally got to see the Bears’ new “takeaway bucket” in action — Deon Bush picked off an Andy Dalton pass. It also was probably an Akiem Hicks sack.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) July 31, 2021
• Football is better when you’re having fun. And Bears football is ridiculously more fun when the defense is getting in on the action.
• Gale Sayers was a superb football player:
No. 53 on the NFL 100 made some of the best defenders who ever lived look like they were playing in slow motion while he was on fast-forward. My look at the man they called Magic. https://t.co/0BAP31K8cm
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) August 1, 2021
• Family business:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 1, 2021
• After reportedly being on the fence in the wake of his jarring trade out of Vegas, it sounds like goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is set to play for the Blackhawks this year:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) August 1, 2021
• It’s been a while since the Bulls have successfully reeled in a premier free agent as he enters his prime. I’m skeptical, but rooting for this to get done:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 31, 2021
• Meet the new guys who were acquired for those baseball players you love:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) August 1, 2021