After a week of training camp, the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley breaks down what he’s seen:
Justin Fields has looked…
Tantalizing. His physical tools — from his arm strength to deep ball to 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed — are unlike that of any quarterback prospect in franchise history. Now he needs to harness them. We’ve seen receivers shake their heads when he rifles a way-too-hot fastball on a short cross. He’ll learn not to do that.
But he’s not ready yet because…
Finley: Dalton has looked like the most consistent quarterback Matt Nagy has ever coached in Chicago. That’s not to say he’s headed for stardom, or even that he’ll even be the starter on Thanksgiving. But he’s brought stability to a franchise that desperately needs it at the position, if only to buy Fields more time to incubate.
What is the best development for the Bears so far?
Their problems are run-of-the-mill compared to the Packers starting camp with Aaron Rodgers’ airing of grievances and the Vikings putting three quarterbacks on the reserve/COVID-19 list while boasting, reportedly, the worst vaccination rate in the NFL.
What’s the worst?
Beside the four players they put on the reserve/COVID-19 test Tuesday? The Bears have five players on their roster who have made the Pro Bowl while wearing the wishbone “C.” Two have yet to practice: running back Tarik Cohen, who’s recovering from knee surgery, and safety Eddie Jackson, who hurt his hamstring training.
Which under-the-radar player has caught your eye?
The last time Damien Williams played in a game, he should have been named Super Bowl MVP. After a year off, he doesn’t seem to have lost a step. With Cohen out, Williams has seized his opportunity to be a mismatch nightmare in the pass game..
What’s the shakiest part of the Bears’ plan for this season?
Trusting that two of the four of Desmond Trufant, Duke Shelley, Thomas Graham and Kindle Vildor can handle cornerback duties opposite Jaylon Johnson and in the slot. Trufant turns 31 next month and has been healthy for 15 of 32 games the last two years. Still, general manager Ryan Pace said he “has the stickiness to play man coverage.” We guess Pace will miss Kyle Fuller soon.
Which newcomer has been the most impressive?
First-year coordinator Sean Desai — who is hardly new to Halas Hall, but we’ll count him anyway — has brought an energy to the defense that it lacked under Chuck Pagano. The “Takeaway Bucket” — a laundry bin into which defenders dunk footballs after fumbles and interceptions — is hokey but sends the right message. After leading the NFL in takeaways in 2018, the Bears have finished in the bottom third the last two years.