There are 127 days until the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers renew the NFL’s most-played rivalry.
In case you were curious, but not keeping count at home.
- Even though NFL training camps are weeks away, we’re moving into a time and place where we should start getting to know what lies ahead for the summer and fall. With that in mind, Tom Pelissero of USA Today offers up five things to know about the Bears in an effort to catch you up on what has been a busy offseason. Among the highlights is Pelissero’s assessment of the Bears’ pursuit of Mitch Trubisky, in which he goes against popular opinion by refusing to call what the Bears offered an overpay – with the caveat that Trubisky becomes the quarterback the organization believes he can be. And as Pelissero points out, imagine the reaction if Trubisky lives up to the billing of being the best quarterback of this class and the Bears refused to part with a fourth-round pick to move up one spot to take him.
- While all eyes are on the quarterback position, the person shouldering the most pressure at Halas Hall might be head coach John Fox. Pelissero notes that Fox is 62, has a contract that expires after the 2018 season, and will face a certain amount of scrutiny no matter how this season plays out. It’s fair to wonder about Fox’s long-term future with the team, especially after the bold move by GM Ryan Pace to hitch his wagon to Trubisky developing into a franchise quarterback. If the front office gave the OK to that move, it’s important to consider all other options moving forward – including the future of a defensive-minded head coach who is in unfamiliar territory.
- Maybe things will be better for Fox and the Bears in 2017. After all, much of the team’s decline from a 6-10 record in 2015 to 3-13 a year later can be attributed to the numerous season-ending injuries suffered by starters and key contributors throughout the roster. It’s not the only reason the Bears took a tumble, as the organization’s lack of depth was exposed because of the injuries. And even though we are more than three months away from opening the curtain on the 2017 season, the Bears haven’t quite left 2016 in the past. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune wonders if the Bears can avoid another injury riddled season as some prior injuries have made their way into the 2017 calendar year. It wasn’t that long ago when the head coach offered up improved health as a reason 2017 would be better than 2016, but the Bears could be in trouble if that doesn’t happen to be the case. Maybe the 2017 Bears can be better than their 2016 counterparts, but we also have to consider the reality of their situation and their place in the rebuild process.
- Maybe a fully healthy Josh Sitton could provide a boost, especially to the Bears’ passing offense:
Bears guard Josh Sitton was strong down the stretch in 2016: pic.twitter.com/DSiNC8n6Cl
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 24, 2017
- With Kevin White’s status already up in the air, which receivers will emerge as Mike Glennon’s top targets? Chris Emma of CBS Chicago assesses the situation in the wide receivers room, which features free agents looking to bounce back (Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright) and the team’s leading receiver (Cameron Meredith) as players at the top of the list of candidates who would benefit from additional looks from Glennon.
- And don’t forget about Tanner Gentry, who could follow in Meredith’s footsteps in going from an undrafted free agent to an under-the-radar top receiving option.
- For what it’s worth, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains likes the early energy and building chemistry in the quarterbacks room. CSN Chicago’s JJ Stankewitz writes that while good vibes in the room don’t necessarily guarantee success, the budding relationships and growing knowledge among the quarterbacks can’t hurt a team trying to develop a top prospect.
- Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune runs down an interview Brian Urlacher did with an Oklahoma City radio station, in which the former Bears linebacker discusses a handful of current events. Urlacher weighs in on the the Bears’ quarterback dilemma (saying he was surprised by the Bears moving up and with who they chose when moving up), why he chose Tony Romo’s broadcast future over that of former teammate Jay Cutler, and that he wasn’t surprised when no team signed him when he became a free agent.
- P.S. Happy birthday, big guy:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 25, 2017