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Biggest Takeaway from Week 1 of Chicago Bears Training Camp: ‘They Not Ready’

The Chicago Bears simply would not be ready to compete in an NFL game today and, if forced, the outcome would likely be very ugly.
Bears not ready

The Chicago Bears simply would not be ready to compete in an NFL game today. If forced, the outcome would likely be very ugly judging from the sights and sounds after the opening week of work. Despite that, and some early bumps and bruises, there have been several silver linings that signal not all hope is lost.

As they get set to put on pads for the first time this summer on Monday, who or what has been the biggest surprises and disappointments so far?

Bears Defense Sends Strong Message to Offense in Week 1 of Training Camp

Spraying to all Fields

The Bears’ quarterbacks haven’t been too impressive to this point. Some of that is due to the very limited duties coaches have placed upon them through four practices. Still, 7-on-7s and individual drills against air should favor the offensive side of the ball. Even if you account for the experimentation that usually happens at this time, the offense has not been good.

Thursday’s practice delivered the line that best describes how things have gone so far.

After making a play, third-year cornerback Jaylon Johnson shouted out to the offense, “they not ready, coach”.

He was right.

Chicago Bears Players Sound Off on Biggest Difference in Justin Fields

There have also been several drops as well as off-target passes for the offense. Enough that it would be a concern if the Bears were further along in the process. It also keeps the question of whether or not the Bears have done enough to put weapons around Fields going.

Fields is working with an entirely new group of pass-catcher save for Darnell Mooney and Dazz Newsome the latter of which has been quiet thus far. Not only are there new faces, but none of the Bears’ offseason additions have come highly touted or with lofty expectations. That can be both a blessing and a curse.

Leg Up on the Competition

Equanimeous St. Brown comes to the Bears after spending the first four years of his career with the rival Green Bay Packers. That means he is very familiar with the scheme new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is installing. Per Getsy, St. Brown stands to benefit from that institutional knowledge this summer with the coordinator saying the player probably had a slight “leg up”.

Getsy also described watching St. Brown ascend as a player while in Green Bay.

“The way that his training camp went last year, where he didn’t make the team right away and a couple of games into the season he did…I saw him go through that adversity and the way he handled all that stuff, that’s what these guys are all leaning on. That leadership and that experience that he went through, that’s super for us. We’re gonna lean on that.” (h/t Alex Shapiro/NBC Sports Chicago)

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A sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame, St. Brown called that experience a “bump in the road” but admitted that he feels a sense of urgency to establish himself in the league.

“You’ve got to make the most of your time.”

Coming in with 98 grabs and 598 receiving yards in his career, the time for St. Brown is now. But on a Bears team with nothing settled after top option Darnell Mooney, the opportunity is there.

And it’s not like the others in the group that includes former Kansas City Chiefs wideout Byron Pringle and N’Keal Harry who was acquired via trade from the New England Patriots.

A Defensive Theme

A better way to look at this first week is that the defense is already flying around the field and causing chaos. It is impossible to judge the pass rush or blocking without pads on, as offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. But the revamped secondary looks like it has the makeup of a good group led by a reinvigorated Eddie Jackson.

Jackson said this past offseason was a “wake-up call” for him as he saw many of the faces that brought him in and that he came to know get shown the door. That lit a fire under him and the six-year pro has been sharing his knowledge with his young teammates.

He and rookie safety Jaquan Brisker studied film together at Jackson’s house and the veteran praised rookie Kyler Gordon’s ability to soak up information among other things.

“He’s a freak athlete, man. If you could see him, some of the plays that he makes, it’s not even his man, he’s coming off his man, making plays on the ball. And just seeing how very instinctive he is. And he’s smart. He’s willing to learn. He talks less, he takes everything in. So, when you’ve got a guy like that, you know he’s going to be special.”

As for Brisker, Jackson says that he “asks a lot of questions, and a lot of the right questions”

Bears Not Ready, Don’t Have to be…Yet

The good news is that there is still plenty of time for the offense to jell more and for the defense to build upon what they already have going. It’s also good for the coaching staff to see these kinds of shortcomings now so that they can properly address them now with personnel or scheme.

Things are expected to ramp up when the pads come on, as both Getsy and defensive coordinator Alan Williams mentioned. Williams noted that chippiness has already begun.

The entire operation should look better by the time they play their first preseason game against former head coach Matt Nagy’s Chiefs in two weeks on Aug 13. And they should be even better still by the regular season opener against the San Francisco 49ers on September 11.

For now, though, they remain a “work in progress” as many of the players and coaches said.


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