Patrick Finley: Analyzing the Bears’ offseason gains, training-camp expectations

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Bears running back Tarik Cohen scampers away from the Bengals. (AP)

The Bears have started their summer vacation.  Sun-Times expert Patrick Finley breaks down what he learned during the offseason program and what they expect to see at training camp in July:

Matt Nagy has …

Looked like a head coach. The Bears were wise to guarantee stability by hiring a play-caller to run the team. The great unknown was how Nagy would handle the added responsibility that comes with being a head coach, from setting the attitude of the team to earning his players’ respect to dealing with the media. He’s yet to face a three-game losing streak or a catastrophic injury to one of his players, but Nagy looks comfortable in his own skin.

Mitch Trubisky will …

Be the Bears’ second-leading rusher — as long as he learns to slide. In a season measured by Trubisky’s growth, the team can ill-afford to lose him; Chase Daniel has started two games in eight seasons, while third-stringer Tyler Bray has attempted one NFL pass. Once he became the starter last year, Trubisky took every single snap. The Bears’ season might ride on him doing the same.

Keep an eye on …

Allen Robinson’s left knee. The Bears saw no reason to push the receiver’s recovery from a torn ACL during the offseason program. Training camp, even one as long as the Bears’, will be a different story. The Bears have suffered through preseason injury drama at the position before —see Cam Meredith, Alshon Jeffery and White — and know how much practice reps matter leading into the season. The Bears guaranteed Robinson $25.2 million in March. They’ll wait until mid-July to see how he looks practicing alongside the starters.

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Be excited about …

A footrace between receiver Taylor Gabriel, who ran 24 mph in practice, and running back Tarik Cohen. The two have joked about a showdown. What better time than training camp? Beats an Oklahoma drill any day.

Be concerned about …

The offensive line. It looks good on paper but will be impossible to measure until the Bears put pads on. Once they do, will Kyle Long look the same after three offseason injuries? Will rookie James Daniels claim the starting job at left guard? Will the unit pick up the details Harry Hiestand is famous for? The Bears’ biggest question mark is outside linebacker, but offensive line holds more importance — to the health of Trubisky and the success of the offense.

Consider me …

Impressed by the Bears’ offseason, in which they — short of adding an edge rusher — filled every hole in the starting lineup with capable, intriguing players. Bad teams win the offseason all the time, though, and remain in the cellar.


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