Breaking down the Bears as minicamp ends

As the Bears take their summer break, the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley answers their biggest questions.

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields hands the ball off to Ryan Nall during practice Wednesday.

Nam Y. Huh, AP Photos

As the Bears begin their summer break, the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley answers their biggest questions:

How did Andy Dalton look this spring?

Serviceable on the field and like a leader off of it. His mentoring of Fields — Dalton and his wife even took him to dinner — is just as important as Dalton’s performance during spring practices with little defensive resistance. Fields said Dalton “has completely taken me under his wing” and that “any question I have for him, he’s going to answer.”

What surprised me the most about Justin Fields in practice was ...

He’s bigger, broader and faster in person than you’d think he’d be. There were some plays Thursday when that combination made him look like a young Cam Newton. Fields’ deep ball is as advertised, too, and brings an element to the Bears playbook they haven’t had in years.

Matt Nagy’s quarterback plan is ...

What a coach is supposed to say in June. If Fields is clearly better than Dalton in training camp, no one will hold Nagy to the declaration he made two months earlier — not even the coach himself.

The Bears’ defensive starters no-showing OTAs was ....

Acceptable, so long as inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and outside linebacker Robert Quinn don’t replicate their terrible starts to the 2020 season.

What is the Bears’ biggest concern heading into camp?

Getting their players vaccinated. Outside of the obvious health benefits to both the players and their community, there’s a real competitive advantage to the Bears having a strong vaccination rate. Unvaccinated players will have travel restrictions and won’t be able to eat with their teammates indoors. They’ll be tested daily, wear masks and practice physical distancing. If they’re exposed to the virus, they’ll have to quarantine and possibly miss games. Vaccinated players, though, can mostly return to pre-coronavirus life. Football is predicated on getting 53 players to sacrifice for the good of the team; it’s disappointing some players don’t view getting the vaccine as doing precisely that.

Will Allen Robinson get his contract extension by the July 15 deadline?

They’re not close to a deal now. But this is a deadline business, and things can change — and often do — as the date approaches. Both sides will have to budge after a stalemate that has lasted over a year.

Lakefront or Arlington Heights?

Lakefront. It’s the most impressive stadium location in the NFL — and one of the least impressive stadiums. If the Bears can find a way to upgrade Soldier Field and gain control over revenue streams — Better advertising opportunities inside and outside the park? A year-round gift shop? Museum? — staying at the museum campus is the better option for Chicago residents and visiting fans alike. But that’s a gigantic “if.”

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