I don’t know about you, but I loathe uncertainty.
Will Justin Fields take the next step this year?
Can any of the Bears’ young DL step forward and save their pass rush?
Chicago will finally beat the Packers on Week 1, right?
Questions like this eat at me whenever I think about the 2023 season, and for good reason — each question’s answer is a massive domino that could swing Chicago’s year.
But as excited as I am that the Bears are back in pads today at Halas Hall, I want to caution everyone from drawing any hard conclusions from these football practices — after all, Training Camp isn’t the indicator we tend to want to make it, for better and for worse.
Us fans, so starved for football after 7 long months of offseason, want to take every video clip and use it as proof of QB progress, the skill of a rookie WR, or even the efficacy of a Defensive Back, but in reality these football practices are so full of chaotic experimentation, new installs of offensive/defensive terminology, coaches pushing boundaries, and rapid chemistry-building on both sides of the ball that mistakes become common (even intended) and lead to sloppy practices like the Bears had just yesterday.
To some, Fields throwing multiple INTs in a practice may seem like cause for alarm. On that note, take a look at early reports from the 2021 Cincinnati Bengals’ first day in pads and see what beat reporters had to say about the soon-to-be AFC Champions:
— charles (“you look good” – andy reid) mcdonald (@FourVerts) August 4, 2021
The Bengals ultimately finished the year Top 10 in every major offensive category, Top 7 in Passing Yards & Passing TDs, and did just fine for themselves overall. They weren’t great because of bad days at camp, but they weren’t bad on account of them either — at the end of the day, their camp days were just days spent at football practice & their magic happened during their seasons.
Personally, I’m very excited about how comfortable the Bears’ offense has seemed to start camp. Usually we hear by now that ‘the Defense is ahead of the Offense’, but instead DJ Moore sounds as if he’s connecting well with Justin Fields, Tyler Scott & Chase Claypool are flashing throughout practices, and the Bears’ social media shows off a new throw down the right sideline every day. It’s great, and hopefully it means bright things for the offense come Week 1!
But just like how a rep without pads doesn’t make Darnell Wright’s first step an issue (he looks like he’s honing his NFL kickstep here) or Braxton Jones’ anchor unimproved….
I know everyone is going on and on being QB gurus about this throw, but what I did notice is..
Braxton Jones is still getting bull rushed. He continues to be the biggest question mark on that line. At the most important position to be fair.pic.twitter.com/VJ79z7MPsP
— D (@druz3310) July 31, 2023
A single sweet throw down the sidelines doesn’t make Jordan Love a consistent QB either.
Jordan Love throws Christian Watson a perfect ball 🤩 pic.twitter.com/oHd1sdTlQS
— Caden Sunila (@CadenSunila) July 31, 2023
All that matters is what happens on Week 1. I can’t wait to find out.
Your Turn: What is your favorite Training Camp storyline or player to follow so far?