This mandatory minicamp lacks the drama of the previous two years, when Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett returned to Halas Hall after unsuccessfully seeking new contracts.
The Bears’ three-day minicamp, though, won’t lack for storylines when it starts Tuesday. Here are five worth watching:
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is the Bears’ most compelling player, whether or not he plays this season.
The No. 2 overall pick — who’s expected to back up Mike Glennon — used rookie minicamp and organized team activities to learn what’s expected of him.
“It wasn’t really a surprise, but I would just say the realization of how much time you actually have to put in to be an NFL quarterback, NFL player in general,” he said last week. “Taking care of your body, studying all day, all night, right before you go to bed. It’s all about blocking out distractions and how good you want to be. It’s all about how much time you want to put in.”
Trubisky, who has been running the second team since Mark Sanchez hurt his left knee two weeks ago, said he feels like “every day’s the first day of practice.”
They’ll only get more intense from here.
While Trubisky is still learning the finer points of being a pro, Glennon is entering the season as the unquestioned starter for the first time in his NFL career.
Glennon, who already has impressed teammates with his leadership abilities, keeps repeating the mantra that this is his season.
“There are no guarantees in the NFL,” Glennon said during OTAs. “The majority of guys in the NFL are playing year to year. I’m here to prove to myself that I can be the quarterback this year and going forward. But right now my focus is on winning games this year.”
All eyes will be on the trainers’ room after the Bears finished last season with 19 players on injured reserve.
Thus far, the returns haven’t been particularly encouraging. OTAs claimed two notable players two weeks ago: wide receiver Cam Meredith, who injured his thumb, and Sanchez. Neither will participate this week.
Recovering from surgery on his right ankle, guard Kyle Long first worked on explosive movements last week but isn’t expected to participate until training camp. Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan could miss the start of training camp after rupturing his right patellar tendon in November.
Defensive lineman Jaye Howard has made significant progress in recovering from hip surgery. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and guard Josh Sitton have been among the players to miss at least one practice during OTAs open to the media.
The Bears didn’t truly replace Jeffery but signed notable names to sift through between now and Week 1.
Signed to a two-year contract in March, Markus Wheaton is coming off shoulder surgery. Veteran Victor Cruz says he’s most comfortable in the slot, where he figures to compete with former Titans standout Kendall Wright.
Add them to Meredith and Kevin White — the latter is trying to find consistency and health that eluded him his first two seasons — and it’s fair to wonder if the Bears can keep all five on the roster.
After a paltry 11 takeaways last year, the Bears could feature an all-new secondary. They signed cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper and safety Quintin Demps to start and traded up to draft safety Eddie Jackson in the fourth round.
“I think the biggest problem with that, although it’s our third year here, it’s going to be the first year for a lot of guys, so you don’t have that foundation already built,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month. “A lot of guys, they’re hearing it for the first time.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.