Chicago Sun-Times

Bears' to-do list for training camp

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The Bears look like the third best team in the NFC North heading into training camp, which opens Friday in Bourbonnais. The good news is, in today's NFL, the difference between a division champion and a third-place finisher can be a few injuries and poorly timed turnovers.

With that in mind, here's the Bears' to-do list during their visit to Olivet Nazarene University, the things they absolutely must accomplish to call training camp a success.


1. STAY HEALTHY

I know. I know. It's obvious. It's also absolutely true. The Bears don't have enough top-end talent to overcome injuries to critical players. This is especially true at the all-important quarterback position, where Jerry Angelo took a calculated risk by not signing an experienced backup for Jay Cutler. Not only could it be argued that the Packers and Vikings have an edge at quarterback with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre, but it could be said they have better backups in Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson. A preseason injury to Cutler could scuttle the season. Even him missing a few weeks of training camp with a minor injury could set him back in learning the new offense and could put the team at a disadvantage.

2. CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY, CHEMISTRY

Again, it sounds simplistic but it's especially true for this team this season. Cutler has to develop chemistry within Mike Martz's system, defensive players must develop it with first-time coordinator Rod Marinelli and the offensive line, under the charge of Mike Tice, must be a model of cohesiveness to make the strides required to be successful. Before chemistry can develop between players, they must start with players and coaches. Martz and Tice were brought in to fix what has been broken the past three years. They need to make their presence felt.

3. DEVELOP YOUNG PLAYERS

It's difficult to determine whether the Bears woes are the result of poor drafting or an inability to develop young talent. Either way, the roster is littered with players who have yet to prove they belong, players such as Johan Asiata, Jarron Gilbert, Lance Louis, Henry Melton and Matt Toeaina. The next group, which includes Al Afalava, Josh Beekman, Marcus Harrison, D.J. Moore, Craig Steltz and Garrett Wolfe, need to take the next step and either prove they can be regular contributors or solid starters. It's time for the unproven talent on the roster to be held accountable.

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7 Comments

Neil, nice post.

I agree that simply staying healthy will either make or break the Bears. Players like Tommie Harris, Charles Tillman, and Brian Urlacher need to stay on the field. If Chicago's front 7 can stay healthy, their gonna be hard to handle. You got Julius Peppers, Tommie Harris, Brian Urlacher, and Lance Briggs, all pro-bowl caliber players. This could be one of the leagues better front 7's if they simply stay healthy....heres for hoping.

As far as if Cutler goes down Chicago will be in trouble, thats basically true for any team. Same for Green Bay and Minnesota, I don't think Matt Flynn is any more proven than Caleb Hanie. One of the knocks on Flynn is he doesn't have a very strong arm, so if Rogers goes down, their in trouble in cheese land. And don't get me started on Tavaris Jackson, are you kidding me? His accuracy has improved, and he's probably the most proven #2 in the NFC north, but I doubt he's leading the mighty Vikings to the big dance any time soon.

As far as Chicago's backups, Caleb Hanie is the guy thats gonna be interesting to watch. I wanna see how he is at running Martz's offense. You gotta wonder why Mike Teel was brought in? Is it because Hanie is having a hard time with Martz's scheme? Is it simply for added competition? Is it because Teel is a Ruskell guy? The scouting report on Teel says he's really smart, thats why Seattle brought him in. But they also say he doesn't have a tremendous arm and his accuracy is questionable. Also, Teel isn't the best decision maker. I think he was a product of the personnel he had around him at Rutgers (having a receiver like Kenny Britt and a runner like Ray Rice didn't hurt him), I hope I'm wrong and the guys legit. I still like Caleb Hanie as Chicago's #2, we'll see? GO BEARS!!

I don't know, Neil, I usually like your posts, but this one seems to ultimately say very little. Your points are, as even you recognize, "obvious" and "simplistic." Certainly the points are valid, but such elements are true for any team in football. At least with training campp starting, we'll be able to see how these guys start to look in pads.

Wasn't it Lovie that pointed out that Marinelli, Babich and hiself were all calling plays at some point last year. It's the same defense it has been for a long time and while Rod is the Coordinator in name, I doubt he will be the only one calling plays. The players know him and Lovie and Babich.

Developing young players is pretty much standard practice in the NFL. Your statment of developing young players is more of an indictment of the teams lack of ability to do so. Which would be accurate.

Stay Healthy? Is that really anyones choice in football. How do you work at staying healthy in football? They already have one of the softest training camps. Football=injuries if the Bears have all this great depth that they calim then injuries should not be a problem.

You can't work on chemistry, you either have it or you don't. Are they going to go to a camp to work on group building skills and trust issues. "Ok Jay just close your eyes and fall back, someone will catch you." "Tell us about your childhood." Did you feel loved?"

By Paul Manter on July 28, 2010 4:23 PM
I don't know, Neil, I usually like your posts, but this one seems to ultimately say very little. Your points are, as even you recognize, "obvious" and "simplistic.

By Kevin Armstead on July 28, 2010 2:53 PM
Neil, nice post.

No surprises here.

By Mike on July 28, 2010 5:32 PM

Blah blah blah worried about what other bloggers have to say more than what Neil post.

Yeah, definitely no surprises here either.

Oh well, GO BEARS!!

By Mike on July 28, 2010 5:32 PM

Blah blah blah worried about what other bloggers have to say more than what Neil post in a pathetic attempt to be funny.

Yeah, definitely no surprises here either.

Oh well, GO BEARS!!

I am looking forward to 2012 ... you know, after a 6-10 2010 season and the lockout 2012 season.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on July 28, 2010 10:01 AM.

Grading the Bears heading to camp was the previous entry in this blog.

The 10 Bears with the most to lose heading to camp is the next entry in this blog.

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