Patrick Finley: What I learned from Bears’ offseason program

SHARE Patrick Finley: What I learned from Bears’ offseason program

The Bears’ receivers pose for a photo during mandatory minicamp this week. (AP)

The Bears stretched Thursday before John Fox brought them into a huddle.

Like that, the Bears’ last mandatory minicamp practice was over.

“They’ve earned it,” Fox said. “I don’t just do that because I feel like it. They worked real hard.”

Summer began early, and will end July 27 when they check into training camp in Bourbonnais.

Here’s what the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley learned during the Bears’ offseason program:

Impressions of the Bears’ offense under Dowell Loggains:

The Bears’ first-year offensive coordinator figures to play more smash-mouth than his predecessor.

He’ll cycle running backs behind an improved offensive line using more zone blocking techniques — and maybe even a fullback. He’ll need the run to set up easier chances for his tight ends; beyond Zach Miller, none are proven weapons.

How does the defense seem different?

You hear Trevathan and Freeman before you see them. They’re quarterbacking the defense with communication not seen last season.

“I’m not saying the other guys didn’t how to communicate, but communication is more fluent,” cornerback Tracy Porter said. “They know when and where to be, they know what to expect. It allows us to play a lot faster.”

How does Kevin White look?

Confident. It wouldn’t have been surprising to see White hesitant to test his shin after August surgery, but the 2015 first-round pick looks, and acts, like he belongs.

If White — who shared a huddle with Jeffery for the first time ever Tuesday — can have success early in the season, his self-assurance will mushroom.

Most buzzworthy newcomer:

Trevathan called defensive end Akiem Hicks — who the Bears signed away from New England despite Bill Belichick’s pleas — a “mountain.” They’re betting Kyle Long will get improve every day, too, by trying to move that mountain.

The investment could pay for itself quickly — he’ll plug a starting need, keep blockers off big-money inside linebackers and make the Bears’ best offensive lineman even better.

The Bears’ most glaring weakness:

Safety. Adrian Amos is returning from shoulder surgery and the Bears will sort through unproven players to start alongside him: undrafted second-year player Harold Jones-Quartey, special teams standouts Chris Prosinski and Omar Bolden, and rookies Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson.

Attitude after minicamp, in one phrase:

Mostly healthy. One year after Kevin White first felt pain during OTAs, the Bears lost no one more significant than their fourth receiver, Marquess Wilson. The next big question: Whether McPhee, recovering from left knee surgery, will be ready for training camp.

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