Because of a progressive schedule tweak, Chicago Bears rookies can show up to training camp in Bourbonnais starting today. Hooray!
Just 50 days until football:
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 19, 2017
- Quarterback Mitch Trubisky wants to practice with his rookie teammates, who start reporting for training camp today – a week before the team’s veterans. HOWEVER, Trubisky can’t take the practice field until he has a signed contract with the Bears. It’s a bit surprising that Trubisky and the Bears haven’t come to an agreement at this point in the summer. It’s not as if the rookie wage scale makes deals difficult to get done. Generally, it’s the “offset language” that ties things up. Trubisky’s agents have a history with tying up loose ends with quarterbacks selected high in the draft, otherwise, there would be a lot more to be worried about with camp rapidly approaching.
- And it’s not as if Trubisky is the only rookie worth keeping an eye on this summer. The Athletic’s Dan Durkin has projections for each of the Bears rookies heading into camp. Each has quite the battle for playing time ahead, but development is the most important factor here.
- If the Bears’ quarterback situation is THE top story of training camp, then injuries is an obvious No. 2. One of the biggest injury concerns is at inside linebacker, a position group previewed by Pro Football Weekly’s Kevin Fishbain. Getting Danny Trevathan’s health in order should be a high priority for a defense that missed his presence after he went down with a season-ending knee injury. Based on how opposing rushers gashed the Bears late in the season, Trevathan is expected to be a key contributor in sealing up any holes that pop up while he’s gone. You could make an easy argument for him being the most important player in the Bears’ rush defense scheme.
- On the offensive side of the ball, Zach Miller is ready to embark on what Matt Eurich of 247 Sports sees as being the most important training camp of Miller’s career. Miller has been the team’s most productive tight end for each of the last two seasons, even if the 2016 campaign was an injury shortened one. He earned the eighth best grade handed out to a tight end by Pro Football Focus by showing he can get it done as a blocker and a pass catcher – albeit Miller did so by playing just 511 snaps. Only Rob Gronkowski (352), Tyler Eifer (429) played fewer snaps than Miller while also ranking among PFF’s 10 best tight ends. Still, the Bears are playing quite the numbers game at the position and a roster crunch will push a player deserving of a better fat into the unemployment line. Chicago signed potential dual threat Dion Sims in free agency and drafted Adam Shaheen in the second round. The Bears have three other tight ends in what is looking like a crowded camp, so it’s safe to say that someone is getting squeezed out of a job this summer based on the numbers game the front office will play this summer.
- WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge sprays to all fields with his 10 Things column, a must read in which he shares his belief that the Bears and Trubisky will come to an agreement before camp officially opens up on July 26. However, what I admire the most about Hoge’s column is the bold stance he takes while predicting the Bears will land TWO players in this winter’s Pro Bowl. Cody Whitehair taking the proper steps in development seem to make him a lock to be a Pro Bowler sooner, rather than later. He was PFF’s sixth best center, which is still remarkable to me because he didn’t play the position until Week 1 of the NFL season. Leonard Floyd making the leap to the Pro Bowl and avoiding the sophomore slump would be a major story line and a potential pillar of hope for years to come. Floyd collected seven sacks in 12 games, but a calf injury and concussions slowed him down during his rookie season. Floyd is in better game shape after a full season of professional football and a complete offseason on an NFL diet. If anyone on the Bears seems primed to take that next step, it’s Floyd.
- Get to know the Bears, who offer this as a teaser:
Which Bear wants to be remembered as the "tough guy that does the right thing?"
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 19, 2017
- Dave Wannstedt is the third ex-Bears coach to put his Chicagoland home on the market. Wannstedt went 40-56 (and 1-1 in the playoffs!) as the team’s head coach from 1993-1998, but he hopes his next win comes in the form of selling his Near North condo, which is listed at a cool $1.1 million.
- Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is a dreamer. And while Jordan Howard has visions of snatching Ezekiel Elliott’s rushing crown from him this year, Johnson eyes a unique piece of NFL history that could be accomplished if he reaches 1,000 receiving yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season.
- The days of Johnson being a fantasy sleeper are long gone. So if you’re looking for the next Johnson, you might want to start here with a collection of players who were deemed to be busts in 2016 who could have a fantasy breakout in store for opposing defenses in 2017.
- Edge rusher isn’t probably something that will be a high priority for the Bears, but a list of any position’s top college prospects will always catch my eye. And depending on how injuries shape the season, scouting the college football ranks for a game-changing pass rusher could turn out to be a top priority.
- Is #PackersDevilMagic a thing yet? Because we can totally make it a thing:
The Packers offensive line took a huge step forward in 2016 despite the loss of Josh Sitton. Can they survive the loss of T.J. Lang as well? pic.twitter.com/2BnCoblQSX
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 19, 2017