As the Chicago Bears embark on their 2016 season with the opening of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University, here are five things to watch as a shortened (ten-day) camp run begins:
1. How much is the defense improved? General Manager Ryan Pace, head coach John Fox, and respected defensive coordinator Vic Fangio spent considerable time, resources, and contacts to improve a leaky unit that has allowed too many yards and points. Can free agent additions Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, and Akeem Hicks bolster a front seven that needs increased pressures and more playmakers?
The Bears deep patrol is also a major question mark. Beyond starting CB’s Tracy Porter and Kyle Fuller, the cupboard is bare. Chicago continues to look for another safety to pair with Adrian Amos, last year’s rookie starter who played beyond expectations.
As the Chicago Bears prepare to wrap up their mandatory mini-camp after Wednesday’s practice and embark on a short summer respite, some notes and quotes from Lake Forest:
-WR Marquess Wilson’s broken foot suffered during Tuesday’s workout puts his Bears future in doubt. Already battling for the fourth or fifth spot in the receiver rotation, Wilson will likely miss all of training camp and perhaps the beginning of the regular season. His absence gives additional opportunity to Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, Deonte Thompson, and this year’s seventh-round draft choice, Daniel Braverman.
Bears head coach John Fox reflected on the injury and Wilson’s mindset after suffering the latest in a string of medical setbacks. “Actually his state of mind was pretty good,” Fox said. “I talked to him. He was in a boot when he left yesterday. Had the normal test and whatnot, they did discover that it was re-fractured. But obviously disappointed like anybody who gets injured that has to require surgery. But he was in a good frame of mind.”
With the Chicago Bears rookie mini-camp in the books, training camp can’t be far behind. As a sign that football season never really ends, the Bears released their upcoming training camp schedule.
The shortened camp, beginning with the players reporting date of July 27 and running through August 9, returns to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL for the 15th consecutive year.