Chicago Bears Training Camp Observations: Days Four and Five


In many ways the onset of training camp isn’t too much unlike the months of speculation and prognostication leading up to it. Sure, we have some new visuals for our football-starved eyes and having players in pads is comforting because it signifies the next step in the progression towards the regular season. But what can we learn, really?

None of us are likely to find ourselves feeling sorry for professional athletes but for football players, this has to be the worst part of the year by far. It’s hot out, they’re living away from home for a few weeks and they’re stuck on this grassy classroom in Bourbonnais for a few hours a day.

Playing is fun; training camp is not.

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With that in mind it was hard for me to escape the feeling that many of the players were just going thru the motions while I observed from my sideline media perch on day four of camp. Not in the manner that they didn’t care, mind you, but football is a game of collisions and a battle of wills that really can’t be simulated at half-speed. Or half-intensity.

So while many other media outlets do their best to give you a story, I’ll give it to you real. This is the time of year when all of this feels like a job for NFL players more than any other, and we can all relate to that feeling. I hate to break it to those of you who expected to get some gem of X’s and O’s insight here that you couldn’t get elsewhere, but those nuggets just don’t exist. The gold being mined for is the fool’s variety.

There are things to hang our hats on, however, and it’s not all a showcase of self-preservation (which actually could be considered a wise approach since there’s nothing worse than a significant injury in training camp or preseason). Young players and those on the edge of the roster fighting for their livelihood, for example. It’s fun to see them get after it in an effort to prove they belong.

Conversely, do we really want to see our veteran leaders going all out? In individual drills, okay, but not when they’re truly playing football while lined up against another mammoth human being. We know what the older players can do and it’s simply not worth the risk to have them flying around in training camp in a way that could get them injured.

Of course this is no secret that I’m revealing to our Bear Goggles On readers right now. It’s common knowledge that teams all around the league take ample precautions to limit the risks to player health, as much as possible while playing football anyway. The point is, like I alluded to earlier, there simply isn’t much we can learn about a football team in an environment like this.

August 2, 2015: Chicago Bears player gather after stretching at the start of day four of training camp practices in Bourbonnais, IL.

When will we know more about this team, you ask? The first preseason game is a good place to start and thankfully it’s only about a week away. That’s when we’ll see if this Cutler streak of no interceptions thru five camp practices (two of which were in pads) truly signifies a change in his giveaway-happy approach.

I support Jay and want him to do well, but come on — really? Celebrating no interceptions by your starting quarterback thru a handful of training camp practices is akin to a participation ribbon. He has really been dominating in half-speed football, Bears fans! Get excited!

I imagine even he would scoff at that, but yet that’s the headline in certain circles of Bears news. I’m giving our readers a bit more credit than that; I’m not going to spoon-feed you that drivel.

August 3, 2015: Chicago Bears defensive players on the sideline during day five of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.

The first step to recovery is to admit a problem, and the sooner we accept that this season is going to be a rough one — the better off we’ll be. I would rather be expecting the worst and be surprised by an unexpectedly solid season rather than the opposite. I’ll don my Cutler jersey and root hard like I always do because I’m a fan, but I realize my fandom doesn’t have to be rational. High hopes and low expectations occupy the same space for me when it comes to the 2015 Bears.

It’s tough being a Bears fan sometimes, but we’ll get thru it together. I’ll leave you with some observations from my time spent at Bears Camp:

  • Eclectic mix of music blaring…  You can only imagine how these playlists are constructed and likely it’s something where each player gets to contribute a song if they so choose, but the selections cover several genres. The most fun was when AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” was pumping thru the speakers while Jared Allen and Kyle Long, on opposite sides of a drill, grooved out. I’m pretty certain Jared Allen ripped a drum solo and at one juncture pointed to the imaginary rock n’ roll crowd. Good times all around.
  • Daniel Thomas a dark horse to make the roster…  That sounds like a future BGO post in the making, perhaps after he shows well in a preseason game or two. A somewhat quiet signing by the Bears in mid-June, Thomas is mired in an uphill battle to make the roster. Rookie Jeremy Langford is the guess by most to be the #2 running back behind Forte, plus Ka’Deem Carey is still there along with Jacquizz Rodgers and Senorise Perry. The play that caught my attention more than any other during day four of camp was a gritty run by Thomas, so you never know.
  • Injuries… Of course the Kevin White situation has been well-documented and he remained on the PUP list thru day five of camp with a mysterious shin injury. Over-reaction is common to these types of things and hopefully he’ll be back soon, but it is concerning. He needs to be out on the field learning the offense as much as anybody else. Alshon Jeffery went down with a “slight AC sprain” in his shoulder on day four that wasn’t minor enough for him to practice on day five. Also Jarvis Jenkins had a dislocated finger popped back into place on day four. He’s a hockey player, he got back in there.

Next: When Will Kevin White Begin Practicing?

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