Here’s to the next step:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 29, 2017
A lot of players can look good in practice garb, but things change as soon as the pads go on.
- If it looks like wide receiver Victor Cruz is a step ahead of his teammates, just know that he’s five
stepsminutes ahead of everyone. Cruz literally operates in a different time frame than everyone else because his clocks are set five minutes ahead of everyone else’s as a nod to former coach Tom Coughlin, writes ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson. Cruz informs Dickerson that he runs “Coughlin Time” as a force of habit because all of the clocks at the New York Giants facilities are set five minutes ahead. The former Giants receiver had his best years under Coughlin, including two 1,000-yard seasons, a Pro Bowl appearance, and a Super Bowl ring in 2011.
- Cruz is one of many new players the Bears brought in who could conceivably nab a starting job with a strong performance at training camp, but players aren’t the only new faces in camp. CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden introduces us to Brandon Staley, one of the newest additions to John Fox’s coaching staff – which experienced its own bit of turnover during the offseason. The team’s new outside linebackers coach is tasked with getting the most of a group that was definitely feeling itself in the offseason, but has suffered an early blow with Pernell McPhee being placed on the PUP list on Thursday before undergoing a knee scope on Friday.
- One of the players Staley will have his hands on this offseason is Leonard Floyd, the second-year pass rusher who has tremendous upside … if he can stay healthy. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Floyd has a new tackling technique , which he hopes can put him in a good place after suffering through multiple concussion issues as a rookie.
- Bleacher Report’s Sean Tomlinson writes that Tanner Gentry is the best undrafted free agent in Bears camp, and we’re not here to argue against that thought. Gentry flashed in college while being Josh Allen’s top target at Wyoming, then impressed the Bears in rookie mini-camp. Mitch Trubisky seemed to take an early liking to his fellow rookie, connecting with him on a deep pass during 7-on-7 drills, in what we hope is a sign of things to come. Gentry is in line to take advantage of a position group that is littered with uncertainties.
- On the other side of the ball, Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes that rookie safety Eddie Jackson is on a mission to earn an increased role with the team. Jackson’s final season at Alabama was cut short because of a leg injury, but has been a full participant so far in training camp. Jackson was fielding punts on Friday, and is in the mix to be the team’s top return specialist. He certainly showed he could get it done at the highest level of college competition.
- You’re excused if it feels like Kevin White is a rookie entering training camp in 2017. White has played in just four games since being drafted seventh overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. A variety of injuries has kept him off the field, stunting his growth as a player, and thus, helping keep the Bears’ passing game operating in neutral. Larry Mayer writes that a healthy White is happy to be back in the fold and on the practice field. White has had an eventful offseason, to say the least. He was deemed to be healthy in mid-May, but was kept out of OTAs 10 days later. White knows that Year 3 will be a big one for him, and he’s already feeling a new sense of urgency.
- The Bears don’t have any contract holdouts at this point, but two well-known names are out of sight (but not out of mind) elsewhere as they seek new contracts. Raiders tackle Donald Penn wants to be paid like a top-10 tackle in his age 34 season, while Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has a “huge offer” on the table, but is holding out for a bit more.
- Martellus Bennett has gone full cheesehead. The Packers’ newest tight end conducted interviews on Thursday wearing a foam block of cheese on his head. You can check out the fashionably questionable look via this Rob Demovsky piece at ESPN. Bennett, who played with the Bears from 2013 to 2015, signed a three-year deal worth $21 million this offseason to replace Jared Cook as Green Bay’s top tight end.