Chicago Bears training camp: 5 early takeaways from Bourbonnais

The Chicago Bears started training camp this past weekend as they prepare for the upcoming upcoming 2018 season.

There are many notable things facing the Bears in this training camp from injuries, contract disputes and general highs and lows as the Bears look to improve on last year’s 5-11 record. Through the first five practices, the Bears have held three open to the public and two closed and opened to only the media.

It’s still early on in the Summer and with the first preseason game next week, we are starting to learn some things about this team.

Here’s five of the most notable takeaways thus far in training camp:

INJURIES

Injuries are already becoming a problem for the Bears and we haven’t even completed a full week of training camp. The Bears have five players out right now due to  an injury:  linebacker Danny Trevathan (hamstring), linebacker Aaron Lynch (hamstring), and defensive back Sherrick McManis (hamstring), tight end Daniel Brown (ankle) and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (shoulder).

Trevathan has always dealt with some minor injuries from time-to-time and he has only played a total of 21 games with the Bears within the past two seasons because of said injuries. However, the times he did play, he has shown if healthy, he is one of the best defensive players on the team.

Lynch, on the other hand, was signed this offseason to compliment Leonard Floyd as an additional pass rusher. Lynch was injured going into the offseason and now that we are three days into training camp, it is uncertain when he will be able to suit up in a Bears uniform as he is still combating his injury. He is currently locked in a battle with Sam Acho for a starting position and the longer he is injured, the less chance he will get that spot on the field.

Overall, the linebacker position for the Bears have been in the spotlight during the offseason, especially following General Manager Ryan Pace’s key defensive changes in the release of Willie Young, Pernell Mcphee, and Jerrell Freeman.

Kevin White has been injured ever since he got drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft and is now coming off of a left shoulder blade injury. White and standout QB Mitchell Trubisky have been working together before training camp in an attempt to build much-needed chemistry on the field.

 

Trubisky’s Ups and Downs:

The Bears starting quarterback has been up and down since training camp started over the weekend, which includes the padded practice that was held on Sunday. Trubisky is having a hard time finding consistency under Bears new head coach Matt Nagy and the new look offense. Last season, Trubisky got his official start at QB in week 4 after replacing Mike Glennon and remained the Bears starter for the rest of the season.  Trubisky had a total of 724 snaps in 12 starts, along with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. 

Trubisky did make some plays during Sunday’s session, that was highlighted by a deep ball to Kevin White:

The Bears are trying to make Trubisky’s job a lot easier, however. They have an offensive-minded head coach in Nagy and great players on the offensive end to help. Trubisky has a great running game to support him in the combo of Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard. The Bears also signed WRs Allen Robinson from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Taylor Gabriel from the Atlanta Falcons. 

So all eyes will be on Mitch as he has to prove the media and some of the fans that all trust should be in Trubisky. 

Kyle Long progressing

Kyle Long is coming into this season from four surgeries on his neck, shoulder, elbow, and right ankle. After he spent half the offseason healing from his injuries, he returned to training camp being the healthiest he has been in 2 years.

Long had practiced this past Friday with his fellow offensive linemen. The Bears are trying to keep him as healthy as possible, so they have given Kyle Long scheduled breaks. This past Saturday, the Bears decided to give Long a break, as they really have concerns with his ankle.

They’re going to give him breaks from now until the end of preseason and monitor how he is doing from there.

Roquan contract disputes

Roquan Smith has yet to report to training camp.

While Bears rookies arrived on July 16th, Smith has been absent from camp due to a contract dispute.  The Bears have practiced without Smith for the entire training camp but not having the young linebacker out there is taking reps away from him. His absence has been very noticeable and will continue to be as the Bears resume practice on Thursday.

The Bears will continue to keep practices rolling with or without Smith.

Smith, however, is not “officially” a Chicago Bear as of yet due to his contract dispute. Smith’s agents are fighting over how much his bonus money will be and what the Bears will owe him if they cut him prior to the end of his fourth season. One can say that his agents are holding him back and that Roquan isn’t holding out however, the 2018 No. 8 8 pick from Georgia simply has to say “enough is enough.”

How long will this holdout play until the Bears have had “enough”? Well, the first taste of football is Thursday, August 2nd when the Bears and Ravens meet in the Hall of Fame game. At this point, it’s unlikely we will see Smith on the field for that game.

Matt Nagy’s first few practices as head coach

Matt Nagy is almost a week into his first training camp and a lot of players from the roster are praising him early on.  From the moment training camp started, the players noticed an immediate shift in the culture. It has been noted that under former head coach John Fox, players would have practice indoors had it rained during practice, whereas Nagy wouldn’t bring the team inside “unless that [lightning] horn went off. ”

“He’s a swag coach,” running back Tarik Cohen said via NBC Sports Chicago.  Cohen also stated he and the rest of the guys on offense are starting to feel more comfortable with Nagy’s system. ” I just feel like the offense is getting comfortable faster. Everybody is tuned in and the fact we have so many good guys at so many positions is making it easier for the offense,” Cohen said following practice.

The Bears received an off day from Nagy back in May,with the head coach treating the team to a day at TopGolf which made it special for everyone. “Nagy won us over, I think, really just last week with the TopGolf thing,” Jackson said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “It was something where everybody can get to know each other better with coaches and players.”

Nagy is finding ways to connect with the team, whether it’s through weekly meetings or showing off on the field. Both the defense and offense are excited as they’re experiencing what Nagy’s changes mean for the entire team. As the season gets ready to unfold, we shall see what this new Bears team is really about. Within the last two seasons, the Bears had only won 8 games with 24 losses. With the Bears being picked for having another horrible season, the odds are against Nagy and the Bears.

As training camp progresses, we should start seeing more of the team unifying under Nagy’s new system. Hopefully, the Bears will have an agreement with Smith to get him back on the team and Trubisky will be more consistent during practice.

The Bears return to practice on Thursday and will hold three more practices before an off day on Sunday.

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