The Chicago Bears return to training camp practices today, where they’ll hopefully continue a trend of successful quarterback-center exchanges and no interceptions .
Though, I supposed it would be nice if the defense picked off a pass just to quell some early fears of repeating 2016’s 11-turnover experience.
- If Mike Glennon has a good year under center for the Bears this year, chances are he’ll find a starting job somewhere in 2018. That’s just one of the 10 things you need to know about the Bears shared by Andy Benoit of SI.com’s MMQB. There are several other factors that Benoit highlights in other Bears-related thoughts. For example, the team has no No. 1 receiver and has six receivers vying for Glennon’s attention – seven, if you add the oft-injured and perpetually struggling Kevin White to the mix.
- How talented is Kyle Long? It’s a question Benoit asks too, and the answer could solidify the offensive line’s place among the top-5. Jordan Howard being the best zone runner in football could open doors for an offense that struggled to put points on the board. There’s more here, but you’ll want to check out Benoit’s piece to fully appreciate it.
- While getting the most from the offense might be at the core of what happens at training camp, the Bears need to show improvement on the defensive side of the ball, too. Over at FanRag Sports, Jon Ledyard highlights what outside linebacker Leonard Floyd did well as a rookie in 2016, and where he can make strides to improve for 2017. Floyd’s development is a top priority for a Bears defense that needs to rush the passer effectively in order to help the defensive backfield as much as possible. The Georgia product and 2016 first-round pick is at the center of that after showing flashes, but also proving to be inconsistent – which is par for the course for a lot of rookies.
- A year ago at this time, I was a little excited about the inside linebacker tandem of Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman – in part, because of how poorly the Bears’ middle linebackers had performed in recent years. There hasn’t been much strength in the middle Brian Urlacher’s retirement, but Trevathan (an anchor in the middle of a Super Bowl winner) and Freeman (an underrated tackling machine) were supposed to provide some stability.
- When they were on the field at the same time, Vic Fangio’s defense performed admirably. Trevathan thinks he and Freeman can be more than that, telling JJ Stankevitz they could be the NFL’s best inside linebacker duo. I’m not going to doubt Trevathan, but his health and how many game he plays will determine how good the Bears’ linebackers are in 2017.
- Ka’Deem Carey has never gotten an extended look as a Bears feature back, which is a shame considering how productive he was at the University of Arizona. Over at the Arizona Daily Star, Greg Hensen runs down a list of the best running backs in Tucson preps history, and Carey comes in at No. 1 because he ran for 2,738 yards as a junior at Canyon De Oro and 1,754 a year later, which would seem like a disappointment if not for the 26 touhdowns.
- Talk it up, coach:
- The Bears aren’t the only NFC North team who could be utilizing more two tight end sets. In his training camp notebook, Tim Twentyman writes that the Detroit Lions could join the Bears in using this strategy, noting the team has been running more two tight end sets during training camp practices.
- Over at Packers camp, Ty Montgomery is rounding into form in the early stages of his first camp as a full-time running back. Green Bay hasn’t had the consistency it would like at the running back position in recent years, as if that team needed another offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers to utilize. Naturally, the WR-turned-RB had a breakout game against the Bears last season, rushing for 162 yards on 16 carries and scoring three total touchdowns in a 30-27 Packers win.
- Former Bears running back Matt Forte is day-to-day because of a hamstring injury. This is the second straight summer in which Forte has tweaked a hamstring in Jets camp. For what it’s worth, Forte was ready to roll for the season opener. Here’s hoping he gets some better luck in the health department as this summer rolls on.
- ESPN shared its top five college football players entering the 2017 season, and you won’t find a quarterback in the No. 1 spot. Defensive back Derwin James of Florida State is their early season top player, followed by a pair of quarterbacks (Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield), and two running backs (Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice). Because the Bears won’t be in a spot to take a quarterback early, and the team seems set at running back, James might be the guy we need to keep an eye on when peeking at the potential top of the board in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Here are the top 5 college football players going into the 2017 season according to our experts.Do you agree?