7 questions for the Bears coming out of minicamp, including what are they doing with Justin Fields?
A look at seven key issues, from quarterback to a possible stadium relocation.
Minicamp is over, and the Bears will be off until late next month when they open training camp and begin urgent preparations for this season. Until then, here are seven big questions they face:
How did Andy Dalton look this spring?
Competent, which is a step up from what the Bears have had at quarterback lately. Dalton looks like he can be the placeholder the team needs until Justin Fields is ready to take over. He’s far from a game-changer, especially at this point in his career, but he can keep things steady. His grasp of the offense and ability to read defenses make him an upgrade over Mitch Trubisky.
What surprised me the most about Justin Fields in practice was ...
How slowly the Bears are taking it with him. It’s important to develop him properly and give him time, but this is over the top. Coach Matt Nagy has been harping on the way he delivered the play call in the huddle and is going to have him send audio recordings to his position coach as he practices it over the summer. This can’t possibly be as big of a problem as Nagy is making it out to be.
Matt Nagy’s quarterback plan is ...
Contradictory. So he locks in Dalton as the starter to protect Fields from having to play before he’s ready, but keeps Fields one injury away from the action as the No. 2 quarterback ahead of Nick Foles? If this was solely about preventing Fields from being rushed, he’d be the third quarterback.
The Bears’ defensive starters no-showing OTAs was ....
Probably pretty annoying to their new coordinator Sean Desai. But those are voluntary and unnecessary practices, and the players had every right to decline them. Desai will have more than enough time to put his defense in place once training camp starts.
What is the Bears’ biggest concern heading into camp?
Their pass rush. The No. 1 reason their defense has slipped from great to good is the decline of their pass rush from third in the NFL in sacks in 2018 to 24th in ’19 and 17th last season. That can’t continue with Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks accounting for $41.3 million in cap space this season. Quinn is the chief concern. He had two sacks after signing a five-year, $70 million deal, he’s 31 and he’s already dealing with a back injury.
Will Allen Robinson get his contract extension by the July 15 deadline?
No, and that’ll be an enormous mistake by the Bears. At 27, he’s in the sweet spot of having experience but still being in peak physical shape. The next several seasons will be the best of his career. It’d be incredibly foolish to let that happen in any other uniform.
Lakefront or Arlington Heights?
It’s hard to stomach the Bears leaving the city, but they’ll never get a state-of-the-art indoor stadium if they stay. Soldier Field is woefully behind the multi-billion-dollar stadiums that have opened in the last several years, and sitting there for 17-degree games in December is only going to get less appealing as the at-home experience keeps getting better.