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Mark Potash: Breaking down the Bears’ best, worst of camp, including the offense chasing the defense

Trubisky and the offense are struggling to show progress against Khalil Mack and the Bears’ elite defense.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace talks with coach Matt Nagy during training camp.
Nam Y. Huh/AP

After watching Bears training camp for more than a week, Sun-Times Bears beat writer Mark Potash analyzes the team’s superlatives thus far:

The most memorable part of training camp thus far

Guard Kyle Long playfully but futilely chasing cornerback Kyle Fuller into the end zone after an interception by Prince Amukamara that had been lateraled to Fuller. It was a perfect metaphor for this training camp — the offense trying in vain to keep up with an elite defense under Chuck Pagano that looks like it has picked up where it left off under Vic Fangio last season — and then some.

Mitch Trubisky has looked …

Like he’s been playing the best defense in the NFL — inconsistent and error-prone. Trubisky has yet to show overt signs of progress from last season. The trend in the NFL is for starters to play less and less in the preseason, but Matt Nagy might have to let Trubisky play more than he intended just to see — and show — the progress he insists Trubisky is making.

Is the Bears’ Week 1 kicker on their roster?

Uh … yes? Eddy Piñeiro and Elliott Fry both have looked like NFL kickers so far in camp — Piñeiro is 21-of-25 (.840) with kicks of 63 and 60 yards; Fry is 27-of-31 (.871) with a 60-yarder after hitting 10-of-11 on Friday. They’ve both shown indications of the mental toughness it takes to kick in the NFL — neither has missed two in a row; Fry was solid in rainy conditions. Piñeiro responded to that performance. Then again, they’re kickers — almost always tough to predict.

When preseason games start Thursday, I want to see ...

Mitch Trubisky and the offense show clear signs of the progress that was promised in the offseason. Then again, the NFL preseason is evolving into one big evaluation of the bottom of the roster. So all bets could be off.

He’s been impressive in camp …

Inside linebacker Roquan Smith’s comfort level in this defense in his second season — and first NFL training camp — makes the 2018 first-round draft pick look faster than ever. His improved coverage in pass defense could take him to another level this season.

The Bears should be concerned about …

Whether their kickers’ training camp success will translate to the regular season? Their tight-end depth with Adam Shaheen out with a sore back? Trubisky and the offense looking like they still have training wheels on? Their depth at tackle in case Charles Leno or Bobby Massie get hurt? The Bears are far from perfect, but more so than in recent seasons, it’s going to take preseason games to expose real weaknesses on this team.

Matt Nagy’s biggest challenge in 2019 will be …

Getting his offense to emerge from the shadow of a defense that looks like it’s on another level right now.