The Chicago Bears have wrapped up their mandatory minicamp, here’s what you need to know.
The Chicago Bears wrapped up their minicamp on Thursday in what was, overall, a pretty quiet few days. Teams have become more and more careful about what drills to run as coaches want to make sure their team is as healthy as possible entering training camp. The last thing a team needs is for a key player to suffer an injury that will linger into training camp or worse yet the regular season.
With that in mind, most of the news out of minicamp was via the spoken word and not so much on the practice field. Like many teams do now, John Fox cancelled the last minicamp practice and allowed his team to start their “summer vacation” a few hours early.
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The first notable item is that the 2016 walking wounded Bears squad isn’t fully back on the field despite having several months off. Danny Trevathan, Zach Miller and Kyle Long are all still on the sidelines thanks to injuries from last season and Cameron Meredith was on the sidelines thanks to an injury in OTAs. All four are questionable for the start of training camp so the Bears will have to wait and see for now. Trevathan is most likely to miss the most time, he could miss all of training camp and could even start the regular season on PUP.
Leonard Floyd’s long-term health is a concern after he revealed that it took him two months to recover from his second concussion. Both Floyd’s concussions could have been avoided with better technique (in theory), so that will be a focus of Vic Fangio and the defensive coaches. Floyd is a key player for the future of this team and it would be a shame for him and the franchise if his career was derailed due to concussion trouble.
The Bears rookies have been impressive. It’s tough to get any concrete information because the beat writers at Halas Hall can’t report on specifics about the practices, but any news at this point has been positive. Jerrell Freeman spoke about both Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen.
On Cohen: “No. 29, he’s like a human joy stick out there. Just get him in the open field and he’s dangerous. Really dangerous.”
On Shaheen: “The tight end is a big body. He gets a little aggressive out there. He’s just a big body and he’s a worker. He’s going to keep working and continue to work. He’s a great guy to have on offense.”
Mitch Trubisky was also applauded for his growth and attention to detail. Trubisky still hasn’t signed his contract but nobody in the organization is concerned, at least not yet. It would be hard to imagine any kind of hold out situation developing here. There is very little wiggle space under the new CBA and Trubisky should be all set when training camp opens. If we start getting closer to mid to late July and Trubisky remains unsigned, that’s when fans can at least raise an eyebrow. But nobody expects this to be a lingering issue.
Another interesting nugget that came out of minicamp- Akiem Hicks isn’t a social butterfly with the rookies. Hicks was asked how Trubisky was fitting in, “I don’t talk to rookies. Unless he’s one of mine, unless he’s a defensive lineman, I don’t talk to rookies. I can’t say how he’s fitting in, because I don’t talk to him.” NFL players want rookies to earn their spots in the locker room, so until Trubisky does, Hicks won’t be associating with the Bears’ rookie QB.
Finally, John Fox was very pleased with what he saw. Fox addressed the media and talked about how the team is much deeper and the competition is improved because of it. “As a staff, the personnel department, the building here at Halas, we feel it. We’ve got way more competition. Guys who were starters before, it’s going to be challenging. And that’s what you want to build and create. I think we’re the furthest along that we’ve been, at least in our tenure here.”
That is some of the best news you can get from an offseason workout. The Bears really lacked depth the last couple seasons but it’s improving as Pace overhauls the roster. As competition increases in practice, that can only help the team on Sundays. Injuries are a part of the game, it will be a big help if the Bears have some sub players capable of filling in when they occur. Of course Fox is going to be positive, but the fact that he picked depth and competition as one thing to point out should be good news to Bears fans. Overall, it still looks like this team is headed in the right direction, even if it’s still going to take awhile to get there.