By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
The Chicago Bears are in full swing entering training camp as they prepare for the Hall of Fame game against the Baltimore Ravens.
In front of fans and media personnel, the Bears entered into practice with the mindset of stretching the field, working out the receivers, polishing quarterbacks footwork and reads, blocking and tackling skills and perfecting field goals and kickoffs.
The Good: Quarterbacks
With QB Mitchell Trubisky entering his second year, all eyes are on him. Throughout training camp, he has shown a much-improved command of the offense and the entire time. Quarterbacks Coach Dave Ragone and head coach Matt Nagy have helped him polish his footwork and tested his ability to throw long, threading the needle when necessary.
They have even allowed Trubisky to command the no-huddle option and change a play call due to a particular defensive look. Some of those repeated QB rushing plays seemed to be a cloaking disguise since they can’t reveal all of their looks in public practice.
Trubisky looked comfortable, connecting on several long throws and directing his offensive line. He practiced a lot of different looks, including throws that had him on the run. Backup QB Chase Daniels had some decent throws, connecting with the number twos and confirming missed opportunities from Trubisky.
The Bad: Missed throws and opportunities from all three quarterbacks.
Trubisky threw some passes over the receiver and also some throws that were short. At times it seemed as if he was holding the ball longer, but that could be due to certain play calls that Nagy was directing to practice check-downs for the open receiver. Third-string QB Tyler Bray did nothing spectacular, missed a ton of throws and just didn’t seem to connect to any of the receivers. I don’t see him taking up a spot on the roster or practice squad.
The Good: Offensive weapons a thrill to watch.
It’s been a long time since fans have been able to scream and shout at training camp! The long-awaited performance of wide receiver Kevin White has improved greatly from the first two days of camp. He has shown tremendous ball skills, catching a long bomb from Trubisky with room to run.
But the talk of camp is second-round draft pick WR Anthony Miller who has dropped maybe one pass during practice. His athletic skills are off the charts and his hard step separation is just breathtaking! Performances by WR1 Allen Robinson confirm he is ready to go as well as Taylor Gabriel. Dang Gabriel is fast! Turbo!!!
The running backs have not disappointed. Jordan Howard has made it perfectly clear that he can catch the ball and can be that three-down power back the Bears are known to have. Tarik Cohen is going to be fun to watch as he always seems to find a way to be open and his versatility will be utilized in tremendous ways.
As far as the tight ends go, Trey Burton is the leading tight end. He has the stronger blocking skills and caught some beauties from Trubisky in the red zone. Dion Sims has also improved in the red zone as well as Adam Shaheen.
The health of the offensive line looks good with the exception of center Hroniss Grasu. All in all, preseason will test how well the offensive line can protect the QB.
The Bad: Health issues and inconsistencies are a concern.
Grasu missed last season with an injury and seems to be back in the sideline again with injury. This puts a lot of pressure on rookie James Daniels who has been filling in at center when he is supposed to be practicing at left guard.
The Bears might want to get a veteran center just in case. Another concern is Shaheen’s struggle to block. He can catch like nobody’s business and is a great red zone threat, but his blocking abilities need a lot of work as seen in the tweet below.
— Ryan Heckman (@RyanHeckmanFS) July 26, 2018
Hopefully, all the hard work and cobwebs will be washed away next week. Here’s to a healthy Grasu, a confident Shaheen and a strong offensive line who will show the doubters that the Chicago Bears are ready to play football.
Talk Bears with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63