Bears rookies and quarterbacks reported to Halas Hall on Saturday, with the rest of the roster arriving Tuesday before the start of training camp on Wednesday.
The first camp of the Matt Eberflus/Ryan Poles era will see all eyes on the development of quarterback Justin Fields. The rest of the roster is still massively under construction in the first year of a long rebuild.
Although Fields gets the most airtime, there will still be plenty to analyze from other post groups.
Here’s a question posed to each Bears position group at the start of training camp:
Can Luke Getsy’s system help Justin Fields ‘take control’ of the NFL?
Justin Fields had a tough rookie season. The Bears quarterback played into an offense that didn’t match his strengths behind an offensive line that gave him little time to operate.
New head coach Matt Eberflus tapped offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to install a quarterback-friendly program used across the league. The program promises to get Fields moving more, helping a suspect offensive line while taking advantage of Fields’ elite athleticism.
Several stats from Pro Football Focus show how Fields improved over the past season, and there’s reason to believe the Ohio State product is in store for a second breakout season. Last year, Fields led the NFL in passer ratings on designed deployments, according to SportsInfoSolutions, and was PFF’s highest-rated passer on out-of-pocket throws.
He was tied with Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson for second place in the NFL in Big Time Throw Percentage and had the seventh-lowest play rate in the NFL.
Getsy’s offense promises to get the most out of Fields, and Halas Hall believes the marriage between the two could be the start of something big in Chicago.
Will Trestan Ebner make the roster?
The Bears’ offensive backfield is relatively in place at the start of training camp.
David Montgomery is entering his fourth season as the Bears point guard, but Khalil Herbert will also get plenty of carries as the Bears take a committee backtracking approach to the wide-area program.
The only question regarding Bears running backs is whether Ebner, a sixth-round pick from Baylor, will make the 53-man roster out of camp. Ebner is an explosive athlete with excellent pass-catching abilities out of the backfield, but he enters training camp on the roster bubble.
Who emerges to help Darnell Mooney?
There was no mega trade for DK Metcalf and no big signing of Odell Beckham Jr. in rehabilitation. Instead, the Bears traded for N’Keal Harry and will head to training camp with a disappointing group of wide receivers.
Mooney will be the undisputed No. 1 receiver this fall. But the pecking order behind him is extremely murky. Going into camp, Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown are two and three on the depth chart. The Bears will look to find a way to get rookie Velus Jones Jr. the ball, but he could play more of a gimmick/jack of all trades role in his first season.
Will Harry, Dante Pettis or Tajae Sharpe shine during camp? What about Dazz Newsome or undrafted rookie Kevin Shaa? The large Bears reception hall is full of guys with fine professional football reference pages.
I’d bet the Bears exit camp with Pringle, St. Brown, Jones and Harry trailing Mooney, but it’s all to be won after first place. Fields needs someone other than Mooney to become a reliable threat if the passing game is to have teeth this fall.
Cole Kmet, please stand up?
Given the wide receiver’s uncertainty, Kmet is the Bears’ most reliable pass-catching option after Mooney. The third-year tight end had a disappointing start to his career with Matt Nagy at the helm. But Shanahan’s offense allowed several tight ends to explode onto the scene, and Kmet knows this is a big opportunity for him this fall.
Kmet made several great plays during the mandatory minicamp as he continues to build his connection with Fields. It’s time for the Notre Dame product to live up to his second-round selection and talent. This offense could be the ideal for him to shine.
Who will protect the blind side?
At the start of the offseason, all the talk was about the expected competition at right guard. However, following Dakota Dozier’s ACL injury during minicamp, it appears that job is now Sam Mustipher’s.
The biggest question on the offensive line now falls on tackles. Midway through the offseason schedule, Eberflus moved Teven Jenkins to the second team, moved Larry Borom to right tackle, and inserted rookie Braxton Jones as a first-team left tackle. Eberflus says that’s always been the plan as the Bears look for the right offensive line combinations.
The Bears are high on Jones’ potential, but that’s a lot to ask of a fifth-round pick to start Week 1 as blindside protector against Nick Bosa. Will Jenkins reclaim his spot and return Borom at first-team left tackle? Or will the Bears open the season with a rookie left tackle?
All eyes will be on the offensive line as camp begins.
What is Robert Quinn’s status?
Robert Quinn failed to show up for the mandatory minicamp amid rumors that the left tackle veteran wanted to leave Chicago.
Eberflus said he would let general manager Ryan Poles and his team handle it. If Quinn doesn’t return to the Bears, Chicago’s first seven are completely different and they’ll have to rely on Trevis Gipson, Al-Quadin Muhammad and Dominique Robinson to pressure the QB.
Jack Sanborn leaving?
Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow will be two of three Bears starters in Matt Eberflus’ base defense. While the Bears don’t think they’ll stay on base that much, there could be some competition brewing at linebacker SAM.
The Bears brought in Matt Adams after playing for Eberflus in Indianapolis. They also signed undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn, who was a tackle machine during his college career at Wisconsin. Adams enters camp as a first-team SAM support, but don’t be surprised if Sanborn pushes him with an impressive camp.
When does Jaquan Brisker’s heist end?
We thought the offensive line and wide receivers would be the focus, but Jaquan Brisker’s expected contract changes that equation.
Poles and Eberflus used the Bears’ two second-round picks to revamp a terrible secondary. Breaker and cornerback Kyler Gordon are expected to be the Day 1 starters alongside Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson. With two picks, Eberflus and the Poles turned the secondary from a big deal into arguably the Bears’ best position group.
However, Brisker did not sign his contract and was not due to appear at Halal Hall on Saturday when the rookies and quarterbacks arrived. Brisker and the Bears are at odds over guaranteed money in the third year of his contract.
Brisker impressed coaches and teammates during OTAs and minicamp. The Bears listed him as the starting safety, allowing Jackson to move around and make plays in the backend. In reality, it is a small speed bump in the career of Brisker’s Bears. But the Bears need him on the field ASAP, so he’s ready to start Week 1. Any missed practice time could hamper Brisker’s growth and put the Bears’ defense behind the eighth ball to start the season. .