A week into training camp, are the Bears off to a good start?
Justin Fields and Andy Dalton look good. The offensive line’s trouble is highly concerning. A look at those issues and others after the first week of camp.
The Bears have packed quite a bit of turbulence into the first week of training camp.
The offense has had terrible days and solid days. There’s been zero clarity on key position battles. Some important players have yet to practice. They’ve already had a coronavirus scare.
After one wild week of camp, here’s a snapshot of how it’s going:
Justin Fields has looked…
Right on schedule. The Bears are taking it painfully and unnecessarily slowly with a quarterback who just got done dominating college football at the highest level. If Andy Dalton wasn’t here and the Bears faced the urgency of getting Fields ready for the season opener, he’d probably handle that pace just fine. He has shown glimpses already of everything the team hoped it was getting when it drafted him. Think about this: When was the last time the Bears had a young quarterback with either phenomenal running or pinpoint precision on deep balls? Right now, they have one with both.
But he’s not ready yet because…
Dalton is here. If the Bears had a meaningful game right now, Dalton would be the correct choice over Fields because he has a mastery of every nuance of the offense, total competency reading a defense and 8,000-plus snaps of NFL experience. Fields will exceed him eventually, but not yet.
What is the best development for the Bears so far?
Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin looks more than ready for his return to the NFL after opting out last season. It is undisputed that he’s the fastest player on the team and he has been consistently problematic for the Bears’ secondary in practice. For $1.2 million, this looks like a really smart signing.
What’s the worst?
Oh, nothing big, just that they don’t have a left tackle. Is that bad? Second-round pick Teven Jenkins has yet to practice because of a back injury he suffered in rookie minicamp. Nagy says it’s not a big deal, but coaches say that a lot. Elijah Wilkinson is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They practiced with fifth-round rookie Larry Borom at left tackle and Lachavious Simmons, a seventh-round pick last year who has yet to make his NFL debut, on the right side Tuesday. You ready to stick Dalton or Fields behind those guys?
Which under-the-radar player has caught your eye?
Sixth-year safety Deon Bush. He played just 6% of the defensive snaps last season and is still a long shot to beat out Tashaun Gipson for a starting job, but he has made some eye-catching plays while filling in for Jackson on the first team.
What’s the shakiest part of the Bears’ plan for this season?
Banking on outside linebacker Robert Quinn is a dicey proposition. He has had some great years. He also gave the Bears just two sacks last season. Nagy said he has looked amazing so far, but he’s already dealing with a back injury. It’s hard to tell if he’s off to a good start.
Which newcomer has been the most impressive?
Dalton. The word that keeps coming to mind is competent, which is far from thrilling but quite a step forward from where Bears quarterbacks have been for the last few decades.