It might’ve been more relevant if the Bears entered their six-week summer break in a collectively sour mood, but for a team coming off a 3-13 season, some semblance of positivity is encouraging.
John Fox’s decision, for the second consecutive year, to cancel the final practice of veteran minicamp on Thursday fueled some of the good vibes going around Halas Hall over the last few weeks. But there’s a sort of cautious optimism running through the Bears with an eye on reuniting in Bourbonnais at the end of July.
“(The players) feel it,” Fox said. “I know as a staff, the personnel department, the building here at Halas, we feel it. We’ve got way more competition, guys that were ‘starters’ before. It’s going to be challenging and that’s what you want to build and create. I think we’re the furthest along that we’ve been, at least in our tenure here.”
OTAs and veteran minicamp were the Bears’ first opportunity to see how their offseason additions — of which there were plenty — would compete, even if it was in a non-padded setting.
The wide receiver group was the most competitive, with three free agent additions (Victor Cruz, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton) and a former first-round pick returning from an injury (Kevin White). But every other position — including quarterback, excluding Mike Glennon — had some level of competition in it, too.
“We have a deep group at tight ends, deep group at running backs and then mixing the receivers in,” Glennon said. “We can give a lot of different looks. I think we can create some matchup problems with some of the guys we have.”
This era of good feelings may or may not mean anything for training camp and the 2017 season — getting, and staying, healthy will probably mean the most for this team. But the Bears could use some positivity after last year, and seem to have found it during May and June.
“I’m working with the quote-unquote second and third stringers,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. “It doesn’t matter. We’re in there with everybody just making sure that we’re able to communicate. That everybody sees everything the same. So I mean it’s that working together. We’re getting better everyday.”