Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are here, so let’s take a look at the Chicago Bears’ 90-man roster of participants:
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 23, 2017
This season’s round of OTAs has a little more intrigue than usual because of the roster turnover and injection of new faces throughout the depth chart. Speaking of which, we took an updated look at the Bears depth chart earlier, which featured as many as eight potential new starters.
The Bears are turning a new leaf in 2017, and while we won’t get a better grasp of things until training camp starts, OTAs provide an opportunity (albeit, a brief one) for some much needed offseason development.
- Of course, all eyes will be on the quarterbacks as OTAs open, with Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky taking center stage … and Connor Shaw, once a darkhorse for a roster spot, lurking behind Glennon, Trubisky, and Mark Sanchez. Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, Mark Potash outlines the quarterback watch and a handful of other things to keep an eye on during this block of OTAs.
- If it feels as though everyone has an opinion on the Bears’ rookie quarterback, it’s probably because everyone does. The latest to chime in are two of college football’s best coaches, Urban Meyer of Ohio State and Jim Harbaugh of Michigan. Meyer tried to recruit Trubisky to play for the Buckeyes, but he was steady in his commitment to North Carolina. Over at CSN Chicago, Pat Boyle checks in with the Big Ten’s two best coaches to get their thoughts on the Bears’ newest quarterback.
- And over at CSN Chicago, John Mullin dissects how the Bears are taking their rookies to school by using videotape of veteran players as their guide.
- How much time will be devoted to working on team celebrations during OTAs:
Roger Goodell is expected to tell NFL owners group celebrations, using ball as prop after TDs, going to ground, snow angels are now allowed.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 23, 2017
- Teams that score celebrate a lot. Teams that score a lot win a lot. More scores. More celebrations. More winning. Seems simple enough, right?
- Moving on … Building a bond with whoever is quarterbacking should probably be of the utmost importance to the pass catchers on the Bears’ roster. Terrin Waack of the Chicago Tribune writes that tight end Zach Miller has a leg up on building such a bond with Glennon, as the two were once teammates in Tampa Bay. Even still, Miller knows that Trubisky is more likely to be a long-term solution than Glennon and hopes the rookie gets the proper time to develop into a player who reaches the lofty expectations on his shoulders.
- Of course, this brings up an interesting dynamic for the Bears’ offensive players – especially those in Chicago on short-term deals. The relationship between a quarterback and his receivers is one of the most important, but how do you go about building a rapport with a player who you don’t have a previous on-field relationship with? How do you get a feel of a player who could be responsible for your success on one side of the pass or another? It all adds up to being another challenge for a team that isn’t unfamiliar with those kinds of problems on offense.
- And the Bears could always add another such player to the mix. Victor Cruz visited the Bears last week, but there has been no word of his progress toward another NFL contract. Sam Robinson lines up the six contenders in the Cruz sweepstakes, including the Bears, and breaks down the possible fits.
- On the defensive side of the ball, it’ll be interesting to see how Leonard Floyd progresses this offseason. The Bears’ 2016 first-round pick might get lost in the mix with focus being on the 2017 first-rounder (Trubisky) and Kevin White, the oft-injured receiver who was the team’s first-round selection in 2015. However, maybe he shouldn’t:
Jets LB Jordan Jenkins came on strong in the late stages of 2016 – will he keep that up heading into his sophomore season in New York? pic.twitter.com/1Lcbh7jnBI
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 22, 2017
- There aren’t expected to be contract holdouts headlining OTAs for the Bears, but Aaron Donald was a no-show at Los Angeles Rams OTAs … because he and the team are deep into contract talks that would make him a very highly compensated star. Donald was famously taken one pick before the Bears in 2014, leaving GM Phil Emery to select cornerback Kyle Fuller.
- And if you have a chance to look back at that draft, allow me to save you some time by telling you that it’s going to sting a bit. The three players who went before Fuller (Donald, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Tennessee Titans tackle Taylor Lewan) and the three who were chosen after him (Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosely) have all been Pro Bowl players for the teams that drafted them. I told you it would sting.
- One of the hurdles the NFL was always going to have to clear with a team in Las Vegas was how it handled the gambling angle. Over at ESPN, Daniel Purdum writes how the state of Nevada and the NFL might be at odds over mobile wagering that could occur at Raiders games when the team eventually moves to Las Vegas. The Nevada Gaming Commission is planning to allow fans to make bets on the game, inside the stadium, with mobile apps that are legal to use in the state of Nevada. However, the NFL’s stadium lease prohibits gambling … but the state’s gaming commission chairman Tony Alamo says his commission (and not the NFL) is in charge of creating policy. Have fun with that, Roger Goodell.
- It wasn’t too much a surprise when Alshon Jeffery left the Bears to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. However, it was a bit of a stunner to learn he signed a one-year prove-it deal to do so. However, perhaps the inconsistency in his performance (via Pro Football Focus’ grading scale) could help clear things up:
Alshon Jeffery's PFF grade has yo-yo'd a bit the last few years. Does it rise again in 2017? pic.twitter.com/gWx1fkAcy8
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 21, 2017