John Fox opened up on a variety of subjects while addressing the media on day one of the Chicago Bears’ mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday. We’ve already discussed some of the material in this mini-camp roundup post – in which Fox gave a rare set of insightful and candid answers regarding injuries and a potential Tim Tebow-like package for quarterback Mitch Trubisky – but there’s still more to unpack today.
You can see some of the highlights here and watch below, if you so choose.
- Three of the four quarterbacks in Bears camp are completely new to the team, with the only holdover being Connor Shaw – who was let go, but then quickly retained when Mark Sanchez suffered a knee injury that will keep him out of OTAs. With that in mind, the Bears have gone to some creative lengths to give their players additional snaps to get caught up with the offense. “He’s worked very, very hard at that,” Fox said of starting quarterback Mike Glennon. “He’s spent extra time … we’ve even gone as far as to do virtual reality things, as far as getting reps.”
- Fox says the tryout has come with a positive response. It’s the kind of forward thinking not usually associated with the Bears, so kudos to the organization for trying something different to get their new players acclimated. Though, I wonder how virtual Glennon is handling being backed up by virtual Mitch Trubisky.
- Fox said he was impressed with what the infusion of new players and coaches have brought to the table so far this offseason. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the new players who project to fill starting jobs and roster spots, but perhaps not as much time as we should have noting the changes on the coaching staff. As a reminder, the Bears hired new coaches to lead the offensive line, wide receivers, and running backs, as well as assist in the secondary and special teams. With all that new blood, Fox says he’s feeling the new vibes at camp. Hopefully, that’s something that will carry on through training camp, the preseason, and into the regular season.
- The first tweak on offense will be overseen by new offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, with Josh Sitton and Kyle Long swapping positions – a move which was confirmed by Fox on Tuesday. Fox lauded the Bears’ flexibility along the line in 2016, but hoped it wouldn’t have to come to that again in 2017. Seven different offensive linemen started at least one game in 2016, including six who started at least four games. Fox believes flexibility will be key, noting that the team will likely be carrying seven linemen again this coming season. As for the team “messing with” Sitton and Long playing opposite sides, Fox believes the Bears will get plenty of chances to see it through with reps at training camp.
- On the injury front, Fox says Sitton was limited on Tuesday, and that he, Long, and tight end Zach Miller would be “cutting it close” for the start of training camp. However, Fox noted that this has been the expectation all offseason. Ideally, everyone would be healthy for the start of camp. But if these key players only miss a week or two of practice, the Bears will be in better shape than previously believed.