- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune comments on the performance at quarterback in the Bears first training camp practice on Thursday:
- Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times doesn’t seem to be too impressed with what the Bears got for wide receiver Anthony Miller:
- The writers at the Chicago Tribune answer four questions before training camp. One had to do with the most interesting position battle:
- Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic has thoughts as training camp gets under way:
- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune passes on the fact that Elijah Wilkinson will be the primary competition for rookie Tevin Jenkins at left tackle.
- If I haven’t made it clear yet, it ill be in the coming months. I’m not a big fan of this roster on paper. Having said that, Bears QB Andy Dalton does have some valid thoughts on this topic:
- Jahns and Fishbain quote tight end Cole Kmet on what he picked up working with Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce in the offseason:
[Andy] Dalton is much crisper [than Justin Fields] with his reads, especially when he scans the entire field. Fields was a little late with some of his decisions and a little off with more than a few throws.
This should not be alarming and certainly in another three weeks, Fields probably will be crisper. It’s an example of the learning curve for rookies — highly drafted rookies — face when they enter the NFL. The action happens faster, the windows are smaller (and aren’t open for as long) and the rush is at a different level.
Adam Jahns concurs a day later while adding in a complement.
Two practices in, the misses have outnumbered the hits for Fields, but he does seem to produce at least one throw in every practice that features a tantalizing quality or two.
Glad to hear it. But the knock on Fields has been that his foot work isn’t up to snuff and that it causes him to miss short throws that should be relatively easy completions. That makes his early struggles with these balls particularly significant.
Cause for alarm? No. Something to keep an eye on? Absolutely.
The Bears’ return for receiver Anthony Miller was predictably paltry.
The trade, agreed to on Saturday, became official Monday. The Bears will send Miller and their 2022 seventh-round pick to the Texans for their 2022 fifth-round pick.
Actually, that sounds like a pretty darned good return to me. It seems that GM Ryan Pace agrees. Via Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune:
“‘It just became a situation where, hey, both parties can benefit,” Pace said. ‘Once I realized we could get a fifth-round pick out of this — we’ve had a lot of success in that area of the draft.'”
The last I heard, the compensation was likely going to be for a switch of late round picks. A fifth round pick, which could net, and has netted on the past, a starter, is far more valuable than a seventh rounder. Especially given that the Texans don’t look like a very good team on paper and the pick could be reasonably high in the round.
Biggs: Third wide receiver job.
Turning to the slot receiver position, if the Bears are going to become more potent offensively, they’re going to need more productive playmakers. Former second-round pick Anthony Miller was cast off to the Houston Texans, and since his arrival Damiere Byrd has been the logical candidate to join Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney… Byrd should emerge ahead of Riley Ridley, Javon Wims, Marquise Goodwin, Dazz Newsome and others, but keep an eye out for someone excelling in the next several weeks.
When I looked at The Athletic‘s 2021 Bears fan survey, one of the questions addressed the third wide receiver. I couldn’t believe how paltry the list was. Frankly, my answer would have been none of the above had it been an option.
On paper this looks like the weakest position on the team. And that’s saying something because I am not overly impressed with what I see at cornerback beyond Jaylon Johnson.
“Coming off a disappointing first season in Chicago — 15 games, two sacks and six QB hits — veteran edge rusher Robert Quinn didn’t participate in OTAs or minicamp.
“The 31-year old showed up to Halas Hall early for training camp, and Pace feels good about a player who last year looked like one of the team’s worst signings.
“‘He’s been working hard,’ Pace said. ‘He’s looked good, and (outside linebackers coach) Bill Shuey’s doing a great job with him, so you guys will see him out at practice when you get out there and we feel good about him right now.’
“Now, this is the most optimistic time of year for NFL teams. Every player is in the ‘best shape of his life.’ Every team is confident. But the simple fact that Quinn has been in the building for a few extra days is a good sign.”
If the Bears are going to have any success this year, Quinn simply has to come through.
Some teams like the Patriots and the Dolphins build from the back to the front, spending resources on the defensive backs and counting on good coverage as the defensive line wins with time consuming games and stunts up front. But the Bears are the opposite. They’re resources are tied up in their pass rush and it has to get home for them to have any success. Its as simple as that.
Wilkinson has primarily played right tackle in the NFL. Add that to the fact that most draft experts had Jenkins as a right tackle and you have to right tackles competing for the left tackle job.
We haven’t seen anyone in pads on the field yet. But I just can’t imagine that this can be good.
“In Cincinnati when I got there, everybody predicted us to not win a game. And we ended up making the playoffs that year. So you can’t worry about what went on before you (arrived). Put your head down and focus on what you can control.”
Fair enough. The Bears, in my opinion, are going to have to be very healthy and they’re going to have to have almost everything go right for them this year if they are going to be competitive for a playoff spot.
But its true. You never know.
“The big thing with Travis is don’t run the line in the book, and that’s a big deal with him. Stay on the quarterback’s timing and be where you have to be, but be creative with your routes just as long as you’re on that quarterback’s timing and you get in the right spot and you’re open, I mean, no one’s going to say anything.”
That sounds a lot easier said than done to me. Freelancing and then getting to the righ tspot at exactly the same time every time sounds like something a Travis Kelce can do. I’m not so sure about a Cole Kmet.
One Final Thought
“When I think about like, ‘Yeah I did this.’ You know, ‘I’m so great. I had 30, I had 25-10-10,’ or whatever the case might be. Because you’re going to think about that. … Usually the next day you’re going to suck. Simple as that. Like, the next few days you’re going to be terrible. And I figured out a mindset to have that, when you focus on the past, that’s your ego.”
“And when I focus on the future, it’s my pride. ‘Yeah, the next game, Game 5, I’ll do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate.’ That’s your pride talking. Like, it doesn’t happen. You’re right here. I try and focus in the moment. In the present. And that’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting no expectations. That’s going out there and enjoying the game.”
—Giannis Antetokounmpo before Game 5 of the NBA Finals earlier this month