By Thomas Gibbons
Football is just days away.
The Chicago Bears will report to Bourbonnais on Thursday and hit the field Friday for their first training camp practice.
Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy met the press in Decatur, IL Sunday afternoon for a training camp preview.
GM Ryan Pace cites that “everything is on the table” to get the kicker position right before the start of the season.
The Bears have Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro on the roster heading into camp. Will either of these guys make the 53-man roster? It’s still a big question mark. Pace said the competition has been “even” up to this point so neither guy have blown the staff away. In addition, Pace says the team will be monitoring the waiver wire for kickers too.
This has been a topic of conversation for a very long time and Bears fans are tired of hearing about it. Outside of Mitch Trubisky and the offense, the kicking competition is going to be a huge focus in camp.
If I had to pick between Fry and Pineiro, I’d side with Fry. Remember, the Bears did sign him to a three-year deal back in April. It’s a very cheap deal and if let go it will be minimal damage to the cap. He was 14-14 in the AAF prior to signing with the Bears. Is it his job to lose? You could say that but both Fry and Pineiro have a lot to prove and it starts Friday. It would not surprise me if the Bears brought in another kicker early in camp if one does not separate from the other.
Safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix could start training camp on the PUP list due to a sprained knee he suffered in mandatory minicamp.
Pace referred to the Bears starting training camp relatively healthy with a few hiccups. Clinton-Dix, OL T.J. Clemmings and DL Jonathan Harris are also two others who could start camp on the PUP list. Players can be taken off the PUP list at anytime. It did not sound like Clinton-Dix’s knee sprain was too serious but Bears are aiding on the side of caution.
Trey Burton and Anthony Miller are expected to be ready for the start of camp.
This comes as very good news. Burton, sports hernia, and Miller, shoulder, both required offseason surgery and were absent for the offseason program. Pace cites that both players should be good to go but will be careful with them.
Both of these guys were big pieces to the Bears offense last season. Miller had seven touchdowns grabs and gelled with quarterback Mitch Trubisky quite nicely. The Bears missed Burton in the playoff game and it showed. Burton caught 54 passes for 569 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Pace hints at a contract extension coming for Guard Cody Whitehair
“He’s an important part of our culture, Pace said Sunday.” “We will keep things in house in regards to a new contract.”
After being drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Whitehair stepped in at center for the Bears after they signed Josh Sitton when he was cut by the Packers. It was a smart signing and Whitehair did quite well in his transition to center. But last season Whitehair had some struggles with shotgun snaps and many wondered when they would make the change to Daniels at center. Well it happened this offseason as both players returned to their natural positions.
Whitehair has started every game for the past three seasons and the Bears believe in him going forward. He has earned a new deal and it could get done sooner rather than later.
When asked which non-rookie stood out in the offseason program, Pace singled out outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who’s “toolbox” has grown.
To no-one’s surprise, the Bears picked up Leonard Floyd’s fifth-year option keeping him in Chicago through 2020. Floyd played some of his best football down the stretch for the Bears last season and should be a huge piece to the defense once again this season. Injuries slowed his development his first two years in the league but Floyd started all 16 games last season, totaling 47 tackles, 4.0 sacks and pick-six in Buffalo last season.
I’m sure working and learning form Khalil Mack has helped the young pass-rusher significantly and we will be able to see Floyd in action very soon. An up-tic in sacks would be very beneficial for him and the Bears defense.
It all starts Friday! Be sure to check out Windy City Chronicle all during Bears camp!