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Bears buzz in air as camp set to open

A new coaching staff, a young, potential franchise quarterback, and a trio of free agent offensive playmakers add up to a renewed sense of excitement for the Chicago Bears as the club prepares to open training camp for the 2018 NFL season Thursday in Bourbonnais.

For the first time in recent memory, fans will trek to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University with tangible hope for improvement. As Matt Nagy inherits the head coaching role following the disappointing tenure of John Fox, the offense appears poised to make a major jump in performance.

Nagy’s training under Andy Reid in Kansas City and Philadelphia made him an appealing choice for Bears General Manager Ryan Pace. A former Arena Football League QB, Nagy’s ability to communicate and relate to second-year QB Mitch Trubisky provides the key to Chicago’s fortunes. Trubisky showed promise in his rookie season, demonstrating the poise and athletic ability that triggered the Bears surprise 2017 draft night trade up with San Francisco. READ MORE

Bears set training camp schedule

Under new head coach Matt Nagy, the Chicago Bears return to a morning practice schedule. That was one of the chief takeaways when the Bears announced their 2018 training camp workouts.

With John Fox in command, the club routinely practiced in the afternoon or late morning. However, Nagy’s schedule mirrors former head coach Lovie Smith’s, as the Bears will hit the practice fields early in the morning at 8:15am.

The Bears report to Bourbonnais, IL and Olivet Nazarene University on July 19, two weeks ahead of their appearance in the annual Hall of Fame game on August 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. The club continues workouts until August 11 when they conclude the Bourbonnais portion of training camp with a evening practice.

Admission to camp is free but, once again, the Bears will require fans to request tickets through the team’s website. READ MORE

Bears go defensive on day three of NFL Draft

Bears fourth-round pick, OLB Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky.

Bears fourth-round pick, OLB Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky.

The Chicago Bears went the defensive route Saturday as the NFL Draft concluded. With picks in each round (four through seven), the Bears chose defensive players on three of the four picks.

Surprising many observers, the Bears selected speedy and athletic outside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky with their fourth-round (115th overall) pick. The 6-1, 230 pound Iyiegbuniwe was unheralded throughout the draft process, but ran well at the NFL combine and at his pro day, raising interest from scouts.  His tape confirmed a run and hit prospect who is willing to throw his body around and displays the suddenness to impact at the next level.  Iyiegbuniwe was a tackling machine with the Hilltoppers, collecting 117 overall stops, including 11.5 for loss.

The defensive trend continued in the fifth and sixth-rounds. The Bears chose underrated DT Bilal Nichols from Delaware. Nichols 2017 season wasn’t as impressive as 2016, but the Blue Hens shifted defensive schemes and asked Nichols to occupy blockers in a “read and react” strategy rather than attack.  The 6-4, 300 pound Nichols is at his best where he can utilize his initial get off and quickness to attack upfield. He demonstrated those traits in the post-season, earning favorable reviews at both the Shrine game and Senior Bowl.  He’ll be counted on in Chicago to replace the departed Mitch Unrein, who signed in free agency with Tampa. READ MORE