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Best and worst of Bears camp: Khalil Mack and Eddy Pineiro (Eddy Pineiro?) are the stars of Bourbonnais

After watching Bears training camp for more than a week, Sun-Times expert Patrick Finley analyzes the team’s superlatives thus far.

Khalil Mack has been the star of Bears training camp.
Nam Y. Huh/AP

After watching Bears training camp for more than a week, Sun-Times expert Patrick Finley analyzes the team’s superlatives thus far:

The most memorable part of training camp thus far …

Eddy Piñeiro having his name chanted by almost 9,000 fans when he made a 63-yard field goal Sunday. Every day, the fans here show the Bears how important finding a kicker is to their psyche.

Mitch Trubisky has looked …

Like a lot of the quarterbacks that faced the Bears’ dominant defense last year —overmatched for long stretches. Coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace talked about the challenges of facing such a unit Thursday, with the coach concluding there isn’t “any other defense in the NFL that I’d rather go against in practice.” The balance, he said, is not to let his offense get too frustrated when they get beat.

Is the Bears’ Week 1 kicker on their roster?

Probably not. Both Piñeiro and Elliott Fry kicked well to start camp, but a lot has to go right for either to win the job. They have to stay hot, and healthy — and, even then, still be more attractive than the best available kicker put on waivers on the NFL’s late-August cut day.

When preseason games start Thursday, I want to see …

David Montgomery with pads on. At Iowa State, he became the only college player in the last five years to break more than 100 tackles in a season, per Pro Football Focus. He did it twice. Running backs in practice are like a puncher being forced to shadow box. Full speed, though, will be fun.

He’s been impressive in camp …

Khalil Mack has been Godzilla-stomping his way through every well-meaning offensive drill. Thursday, the Bears’ edge rusher beat Pro Bowl left tackle Charles Leno around the right end, leapt and batted Mitch Trubisky’s pass into the air with his right arm. He caught the deflection himself for an interception. Watching Mack practice is worth the drive to Bourbonnais. Seeing him every day, though, takes that appreciation into the stratosphere.

The Bears should be concerned about …

Not finding their kicker in time. Every other major concern is about a backup.

Matt Nagy’s biggest challenge in 2019 will be …

Keeping his team as healthy as they were last year. He’ll start by again limiting his starters to only a few snaps in preseason games. If they can stay upright, the Bears have as talented a roster as any of their peers.