An unofficial ranking of the best training camp dates:
- The first day of practice with pads.
- That first practice that is open to fans.
- Family Fest at Soldier Field.
- The last open practice of the summer.
- That one practice where there is a kerfuffle between teammates that gets totally overblown.
Now, that is a top-5 list!
With that being said, let’s discuss No. 1 on the list while it’s fresh on our minds.
A Tale of Two Offenses
It was the best of times:
And it was the worst of times:
As you might be able to tell by the timestamps, Adam Jahns (The Athletic) and Will DeWitt (CHGO) were tweeting about different drills when sharing their thoughts on what they were seeing at practice. And honestly, the dichotomy of the tweets represents where the Bears offense is right now at this point in training camp. That’s because both sets of tweets were accurate depictions of those particular situations. Moreover, I feel as if these tweets are representative of what I have also seen at camp. Sometimes, it is nice to see your contemporaries are seeing the same things you are on the practice field.
Simply put: There are moments where the offense looks good. OK, maybe “good” is too strong. Cromulent? Yeah, we’ll go with that one.
Justin Fields shows off some good arm action. A receiver (Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr., Cole Kmet) makes a play. And you want them to build off those moments. But then there are moments that don’t look good. Fields holds the ball too long. Or he isn’t quick enough through his progressions. Indecisiveness leads to missed opportunities to hit open receivers. Pass catchers have drops. Routes aren’t as crisp as you’d like them to be. All in all, it reminds you that development isn’t linear.
Before some drills began in the end zone, Bears security put out a sign warning against recording video at practice. So while I didn’t shoot anything today, the Bears *DID* drop a highlight video:
- No one does training camp highlight videos better than the Bears.
- An observation: Ain’t nothin’ like hearing those pads crashing against each other when you’re there in person. It just hits different. Literally.
- Let’s start with some positive reviews, shall we?
- Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is my most honest assessment of this offense right now: This looks like a unit led by a second-year quarterback in a new system featuring a first-time play-caller with a supporting cast that didn’t make significant investments on the offensive line or among the pass catchers. This isn’t to say Velus Jones Jr. and someone from the collection of post-hype sleepers can’t break out. And I’m not saying that the bevy of Day 3 draft-pick linemen can’t develop into worthwhile players. Oh, and I’m definitely not giving up on Fields. Or OC Luke Getsy, for that matter. It’s just that the reality of the situation is that there will be moments where this thing looks clunky. So brace yourselves for that while you can.
- Speaking of Getsy: did he bring a Packers QB drill with him to Halas Hall?
- It was cool to meet Andrew Freeman (you can follow his Twitter here!), especially since we had a brief conversation about how a hidden value in bringing in a new regime can go beyond bringing in fresh faces and new names. Because in addition to the obvious, bringing in new coaches and front office types means new ideologies, practice methods, and drills. In other words, when you see the beat writers tweeting about how practice looks and sounds different, just know that it is different because we’re seeing new coaches put their spin on how to run camp. It’ll be fascinating to follow as the years go on.
- But seriously:
- Our first in a series:
- I’m not ready to be on “Obsessive Return Man Watch” just yet, but it is worth jotting down that Eddie Jackson, Dante Pettis, Dazz Newsome, and Velus Jones Jr. were fielding kicks. Here’s hoping the Bears force a bunch of punts and get these dudes some game experience. It sure would be better than fielding a bunch of kickoffs (because taking kick returns means the defense is giving up points).
- No doinks from Cairo Santos during his practice run today.
- I was wondering where the refs came from:
- Sure, it’s early. But these guys gotta clean it up:
- Next time you go to camp, I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jaquan Brisker. He wears No. 9 and plays safety. At the risk of being wayyyy too early with this assessment, the guy has an aura around him. It reminds me of how I felt watching Mike Brown practice way back when. It feels like Brisker is always around the ball and making a play. Getting a win against Cole Kmet (who is having a pretty solid camp) stuck with me today.
- Don’t look past this ever-important food truck update:
- On Saturday, I had the Soul and Smoke BBQ pork sandwich. That was also delicious. The food trucks at Halas Hall are a welcome addition to the training camp experience. Maybe I’ll try the empanadas next. See ya on Sunday?