The Chicago Bears started training camp Thursday in Bourbonais, IL, the beginning of their 2017 campaign. There are a lot of news faces and reasons to be excited about the upcoming season. Despite going 3-13 last season, there is belief and hope the Bears can improve in year three under head coach John Fox.
For the first time since 2009, the Bears have a new quarterback taking the first team snaps. While some may be opposed, it was the right choice for the Bears to cut ties with Jay Cutler and move on. As GM Ryan Pace embarked on the rebuild two years ago, you need a new face, a fresh start at the most important position on the field.
Now, two QBs headline camp, Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky, another thing the Bears fans have not seen in quite some time. Along with promising veterans and raw rookies, the Bears embark on an important year in the rebuild process.
In this post, Thomas Gibbons will look at 5 things, positive or negative, that stood out from the first five practices at training camp.
1. Glennon and Trubisky both have had a mix of positives and negatives.
I would expect and adjustment period for both QBs in the first few days of camp. Both are new to the Bears system and have a lot of weight on their shoulders. Everyday is focused on the quaertbacks and will be for the rest of the Bears stay at Olivet Nazarene.
Glennon, who only attempted eleven passes last season, was reported that the veteran had his best practice on Monday. The Bears were only in helmets on Monday but Glennon threw some great passes along with great pocket presence. That is exactly what Bears fans want to hear about their starting QB.
Saturday may be considered Glennon’s worst day at camp so far. He struggled with check downs and under threw Markus Wheaton for an easy INT by Quintin Demps. The Bears hopeful starting quarterback will make mistakes, but it’s important he does not make the same mistake twice. And on Monday, he fixed it.
Onto Trubisky, it’s been so far so good. Aaron Lemming of bearreport.com said on the second day of camp that you could not tell Trubisky was a rookie QB. The way he handled himself and continued to make the right decisions stood out to fans and media at camp.
Working with the third team, Trubisky has connected multiple times with rookies Adam Shaheen and Tanner Gentry. That vows well for all three players involved. While Trubisky and Shaheen are locks for the roster, Gentry, an undrafted free agent pickup, is far from making the team. There are a solid group of veteran receivers and Gentry must prove to the staff that he deserves a spot of the 53 man roster.
Another note with the Trubisky to Gentry connection is that the Bears would be smart not to break up that duo if it continues to show results. If two guys mesh really well, it would be in the best interest of the Bears to hold onto Gentry, whether it’s the active roster or practice squad. It is definitely something to be on the lookout for as camp continues.
Along with three interceptions on Sunday, the only real negative from Trubisky’s game so far has been the fumbled snaps. At North Carolina, Trubisky did not go under center a whole lot. He was mainly in shotgun given the spread system at UNC. So many knew there would be an adjustment period. And on Monday, there were no fumbles. This is another thing to monitor as Bears camp continues on Wednesday.
2. The Bears defense posted multiple takeaways over the weekend, a category that must improve in 2017.
The Bears only had eight interceptions in 2017. Bears new strong safety Demps had six alone last season. If that is not a wake-up call, I do not know what is.
The Bears added many new faces this offseason to try and change the takeaway numbers from the past few years. Both Marcus Cooper and Demps showed they can take the ball away last season and Prince Amukamara’s physicality should lead to some numbers in the INT column. And do not forget about rookie Eddie Jackson, who’s ball skills were praised by Fox after Sunday’s practice.
Over the weekend, the Bears defense picked off all three quarterbacks and owned Sunday’s practice. Deandre Houston-Carson, Amukamara, Fuller, and Jackson got themselves noticed. Takeaways needs to be stressed more than ever and given the depth at both the corner and safety positions, the Bears turnovers should go nowhere but up.
3. The absence of Pernell McPhee is hurting the Bears defense.
The Bears had until Thursday morning to announce any players they would play on the psychically unable to perform list. And when the Bears announced McPhee was heading to that list, it was something I did not see coming.
I expected Danny Trevathan, who is still recovering from a torn patallar tendon, to be on the list. Maybe even Zach Miller (foot) or Kyle Long ( foot). But McPhee is battling a right knee problem and had a knee scope on Friday morning, a “simple clean up” as Fox put it. Fuller also had a minor knee scope last season and we saw what happened there.
Injuries continue to hurt the Bears on the field. McPhee has yet to play a full season of football in Chicago and there is no timetable for his return to camp this year.
McPhee has to be out there like everyone else. He is losing time to improve his game and be around the defense. Also, DC Vic Fangio is specifically working with the OLBs and McPhe is missing that teaching time.
Again, there has been no update on McPhee’s health since Friday and at this point, I do not expect him on the field for at least another week.
4. Tarik Cohen has been everything he was advertised as when drafted.
I’m sure everyone saw the video of Cohen catching a football while doing a backflip? If not, it’s a must to look up.
Cohen is short, 5′ 6″, but provides a unique skill set. Right away, the comparison to Darren Sproles was throw out there and honestly, it’s a great comparison. His mix of speed, athleticism and awareness could make him a dangerous threat in the Bears offense.
With Cohen continuing to impress, veterans Jeremy Langford or Ka’Deem Carey could be showed the door. And with Langford currently sidelined with a ankle injury and Carey’s poor pass blocking, it may be an easy choice in a few weeks for the Bears staff.
5. Leonard Floyd is significantly bigger and stronger and is improving his pass rush moves and tackling technique.
One of the biggest stroylines of the offseason was how Floyd would improve his frame and tackling technique. Remember, Floyd suffered two concussions last season due to his head being down when attempting to tackle.
At camp, Floyd weighs in at 251, up twenty pounds from Georgia a year ago. His frame was a big negative his rookie season, allowing his to get pushed around by much stronger offensive lineman. But now. Floyd has a good combination of speed and strength rushing the quarterback this season.
It is a very good sign to see Floyd is completely healthy after it took him months to recover from his last concussion suffered Christmas Eve of last season. This report by Robert Zeglinski of the Rock Rivers Times was not the only tweet praising the pass rusher over the weekend. Floyd has damaging speed and if he stays healthy in year two, he will be a nightmare for opposing offensive tackles.
The Bears have off on Tuesday before returning to the practice field at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.