The Bears began their offseason program Monday at Halas Hall.
For a change, there aren’t many name tags needed among the players — the Bears didn’t spend the free agency period overhauling their roster.
Some might need directions nonetheless. The Bears officially moved into the remodeled portion of Halas Hall, complete with a new weight room, locker room and virtual reality screen. The facility has doubled in size to more than 300,000 square feet.
Expectations have similarly grown after Matt Nagy’s team went 12-4 in his first season. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, and the team hopes he can grow even more in his second season under the head coach.
“I ended the season with our exit interviews telling them, ‘Now, we’re the hunted … ‘” Nagy said last month. “But that’s pretty cool. That’s what you want. We want to be that team that gets on primetime as much as we can. If you’re doing that, you’re doing something right because people want to see you.
“But within our Halas Hall, our players are going to realize and they’re going to feel it from our staff and from myself that last year is gone. It was the same thing for us last year, I said, I told them, ‘I don’t care anything about what happened in 2017. I don’t care, this is a new year.’
“So, when I stand out there and I hold the trophy and I tell you, this is why we’re here, you’ve got to believe it. Not sure that everybody believed it at the beginning of the season last year. Now when we get in there [Monday], every one of those guys in that building is going to believe it.”
The Bears added three starters, at most, via free agency — safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, nickel cornerback Buster Skrine and running back Mike Davis. They overhauled their defensive coaching staff, hiring Chuck Pagano after coordinator Vic Fangio left to become the Broncos’ head coach. Only one defensive position coach remains in the same spot as last year — defensive line coach Jay Rodgers.
Per CBA rules, the Bears are limited to mostly strength and conditioning work and classroom activities for the first two weeks of their voluntary offseason program. They’ll hold a rookie minicamp the first week of May and organized team activities from mid-May to early-June. They’ll finish their offseason program with a mandatory veteran minicamp.