The rest of the Bears’ preseason work will be at Halas Hall after a few hard-hitting weeks of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. They head north in relatively good health — the most important thing this time of year — and remain in Super-Bowl-or-bust mode.
As the Bears leave Bourbonnais behind, Sun-Times beat writer Jason Lieser analyzes how they look with less than a month until the opener:
The most impressive thing I saw in Bourbonnais was:
Tarik Cohen running wild against the NFL’s best defense. Granted a lot of the Bears’ work was minimal contact, but it was hard for anyone to get a hand on Cohen, who is as fast and agile as the Polaris Slingshot he rolled up in the day they arrived at ONU. He’ll continue to be the most exciting player in the offense this season.
How much stock do you put in Mitch Trubisky’s camp struggles?
Some. The good news for Trubisky is he’s already proven that he’s capable. It’s a big leap from capable to game-changer, though, and little of what he’s shown in training camp points toward him making that kind of move. The Bears are good enough defensively to be in contention even if Trubisky is an average quarterback, but if he plays at a top-10 level, they’ll be the favorite.
Should the Bears trade for a kicker before cut day?
Yes. That might sound crazy considering their 2020 stock of draft picks is depleted by the Khalil Mack trade and they already gave up a ’21 seventh-rounder for Eddy Pineiro, but they need to go all-in on this year. If kicker is the vulnerability that could unravel a championship bid, the Bears should be OK sacrificing another late-round pick to fix it with someone like Carolina’s Joey Slye.
Is Matt Nagy right to dismiss preseason games?
Yes. They’re pointless and boring and everyone knows it.
Believe the hype on this player:
Khalil Mack. The hype is already quite believable for a guy who is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, but he looks even better this summer. After three all-pro selections in his first five seasons, he still isn’t ready to coast. It gnaws at Mack that he’s spent most of his career on losing teams, and he has not let up for a second this summer.
The question the Bears still must answer is:
Do they have a back-up plan for Trey Burton at tight end? The Bears cannot in good conscience go into this season blissfully assuming Burton will be good to go for all 16 games. With him coming off sports hernia surgery and still not 100 percent, they need a contingency other than hoping for Adam Shaheen to break out.
Did camp change your opinion about the Bears’ future?
It reaffirmed what most people think of the Bears, which is that they have as good of a shot as anyone in the NFL at making the Super Bowl. It requires meticulous nitpicking to find their flaws. The defense is great and the offense is good. That’s enough to give them a chance to win it all.