The Bears ended Matt Eberflus’ first off-season program with a three-day mandatory veteran mini-camp in Halas Hall. These three practices gave us an idea of where bears are in learning new attack patterns, how far they need to go, and where the big holes in the list are.
The first training of the mini-camp was related to defense. Both Jaquan Brisker and Jaylon Johnson intercepted Justin Fields, and the quarterback gave a fair assessment of the attack’s progress after Day 1.
“No, no. I’m not ready for the start of the season,” Fields said after the first day. “I’m the type of man who wants to know I’m ready. So right now I’m just not honestly ready to play right now. And when that time comes, we’re ready, so right now, no, not ready to play the game. “
However, the attack bounced back in the last two trainings to enter the summer on a high note.
If we look back at Eberflus’ first mandatory mini-camp in Chicago, there are players who are heading to the camp and those who still have work to do.
UP: Justin Fields
I appreciated Fields’ honesty when I discussed the offense and when they initially installed the Luke Getsy scheme.
Although Bears doesn’t show many offensive wrinkles at an early stage, Getsy’s scheme seems to be tailored to Fields’ strengths.
Fields is still building chemistry with most of his wide receiver corps, but ties to Darnell Mooney are still strong, and he has repeatedly interacted with Cole Kmet in a mini-camp to play chunks.
Fields was sharp on Day 2 of the mini-camp as the attack won a period of “ball movement” when he found Dante Pettis landing. The training was interrupted on day 3, but Fields had good moments in the red zone training.
Before the critical second season, Fields Getsy seems to have found his foothold in the system and should confidently enter the training camp to be ready for the big jump in the second year.
ALL: Teven Jenkins
After starting the off-season program as the right-hand tackle on the first string, Jenkins ended it on the second unit when Eberflus inserted a newcomer to the left-handed strike, Braxton Jones, and hit Larry Borom over the right tackle.
Eberflus said the plan was to split the off-season practice in half between a combination of two different core team offensive lines. The bear workers gather and see which unit they prefer.
Jenkins could still enter the training camp as a better shot on the first string. Eberflus also did not rule out the possibility of shifting the choice for the second round of 2021 to better defense if necessary.
In an ideal world, Jenkins and Borom would start as early-stage accountants at the beginning of the camp, allowing Jones to thrive at least the entire NFL season. But if Jenkins can’t get his job done, Eberflus could pick a fifth-round option in the left-wing strike to block Nick Bosa from making his NFL debut in Week 1.
The training camp with the Bears is significant for the future of Jenkins.
UP: Cole Kmet
Kmet failed to find the final zone in their second NFL season. Given his lack of practice with Fields, it was clear that Kmet still needed time to be in sync with the young quarterback.
When Eberflus hired Getsy, who planned to launch an iteration of the Shanahan system, Kmet, along with Fields, became the obvious choice for the player who could benefit most from the change. George Kittle and Robert Tonyan play a role in similar crimes. Given their lack of wide receiver depth, Bears need Kmet to be a reliable weapon for Fields.
Kmet was confident in the mini-camp. The Bears showed some action from TE Leak and Kmet pulled several balls into the middle of the court, including two hits. The growing bond between Fields and Kmet allows Getsy and Bears to be offended well.
UP: Thomas Graham Jr.
ALL: Tavon Young
The Bears signed a one-year contract with Young to become a nickel parent.
The 28-year-old suffered several injuries while in Baltimore Ravens. Although Young started the off-season when he started cornering, second-year male Thomas Graham Jr. seems to have caught him.
Bear’s staff was impressed with Graham’s work ethic during the off-season, and the Oregon product received many repetitions from the core team during the mini-camp, ending with a tilting pass for Fields on the final day of the mini-camp.
“I love him, you know, he gives me extra time,” said Bears corner defender James Rowe Graham during the OTAs. “He comes and meets David Overstreet, who usually instructs our nickel. He comes up and meets him every morning at 7. He’s a very smart player. He can handle the workload both outside and inside. His goal is to be good and we like what we will see him from now on. “
Heading to the training camp, Graham seems to have a competitive advantage to be in the Eberflus and Alan Williams protected area.
DOWN: Bears line of defense
Well Robert Quinn means more pressure on everyone.
The Veterans Defense Circle was a no-call, no-show in the Bears mini-camp as trade rumors continue to circulate.
Eberflus said he was leaving Ryan Poles, the general manager of Quinn’s situation. However, if Quinn isn’t right for Bears, Trevis Gipson, a third-year winger, and Justin Jones, nose tackle, will be asked to put more pressure on the quarterback.
As Gipson has risen from a 2nd winger to a top dog, the Bears must also ask additional pressure from veteran Al-Quadin Muhammad and newcomer Dominique Robinson.
It’s hard to win in the NFL if you can’t influence a quarterback. If the Bears fail to recall Quinn, their line of defense is likely to be in trouble in 2022.
UP: Jaquan Brisker
Bears’ newcomer to the second round has been brilliant during the break.
Brisker has impressed with his ability to make moves and will hopefully create a good safety duo with veteran Eddie Jackson.
Brisker’s readiness to play in the box should allow Jackson to return to a free safe position where he is most comfortable.
Although Brisker and Jackson have similar skills, there are probably plans for Brisker to play in the box and for Jackson to count the back and play in the back.
If Brisker can help Jackson rediscover his 2018 All-Pro form, Bears’ secondary game could be much better than expected.
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