Bears

4 Bears players who need to make a bigger impact this week

Bears

The Bears are 20 days away from Week 1 and they still need a starting quarterback, cornerback, and kicker. But things are going well otherwise! If they don't already, the Bears are going to start feeling the clock more and more with each practice as the second week of training camp gets underway on Tuesday. The first week of practice didn't provide much as far as definitive answers go, outside of maybe right guard. This time next week, that'll probably have changed. So who could really benefit from a strong week? 

Mitch Trubisky 

We'll start with the most obvious. It's not even that Trubisky's played poorly – in fact, he's probably been the more consistent of the two QBs, and his pass to Jesper Horsted is the best ball of camp so far. The problem is that Trubisky didn't seize the opportunities that a slightly-underwhelming Nick Foles gave him through the first handful of sessions. Between the two, the first week felt marginally more like Trubisky's – but really it just felt like a push. It's still early; Saturday's scrimmage featured the first 'live' football, and even that just applied to the second team. Nagy even said a QB decision "wasn't going to happen any time soon," and added that, "we're going to take our time with it." Still, Trubisky's job in camp was to win the job, and he didn't make much headway in the first week. 

 

RELATED: Nagy Clarifies What's Going On At Kicker

Eddy Piñeiro 

Piñeiro's maybe the most surprising inclusion on this list, if only because less than a week ago the Bears were cutting his only competition. Then he went all week without attempting a kick, and questions about his health arose. Then the Bears reportedly signed Cairo Santos, and questions about his health really arose. When talking to media over the weekend, Nagy admitted that Piñeiro has a lingering groin issue, and that the Santos signing "goes back to that contingency plan, backup plan that we have ... we need to have another kicker on this roster." The Bears' special teams unit is going to start ramping things up this week, so if Piñeiro is healthy and ready to go, we'll know soon enough. Earlier in camp, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor ended a question about Piñeiro's job security by saying if the team's expectation "doesn’t get satisfied, just as with any other position, you have to do what’s best for the team," which is about as clear as a confusing answer can be. Piñeiro's firmly in the driver's seat here, but it doesn't feel like the Bears are fully sold yet. 

RELATED: Hoge: 10 (Non-QB) Takeaways From Training Camp

Kevin Toliver 

Where did Kevin Toliver go?! With Artie Burns out for the year with a torn ACL and rookie Jaylon Johnson still limited after offseason surgery, all signs pointed to Toliver being the Bears' other outside starting corner, at least until Johnson was ready. Instead, it's been Buster Skrine who's lined up outside with the 1s, with Toliver struggling to find reps. "Physically, all the tools are there," Chuck Pagano said last week. "Now he’s just got to go do it. He’s got to go line up and he’s got to compete and he’s got to make plays.”

The Bears no longer have the depth at corner for Toliver's job to be in jeopardy, but losing reps to the team's nickel corner (even if Skrine has played outside in the past) at a position that he had the inside track on isn't a great look. It's only a matter of time before Johnson becomes the Bears' CB2, and Toliver's a restricted free agent at the end of the year. The first half of the 2020 season may be the best time for Toliver to put starting reps on tape, which is hard to do when you're subbing out with the 2s and 3s. 

Rashaad Coward 

Coward might be the only player on this list who's *actually* fighting for his job this week. Germain Ifedi's basically been the starting right guard from the beginning of camp, and he hasn't looked enough like a liability to think that's going to change before Week 1. Bears' offensive line coach Juan Castillo had a lot of praise for Ifedi's work against Akiem Hicks during camp drills, and pointed to his starting experience in Seattle as a valuable commodity in the competition. This one might already be in the books, but Castillo did say that Coward would get plenty of chances to go up against the first team defense. The Bears would be smart call any and all position battles as soon as they're able to, so Coward may not get too many more chances to draw this thing out; this week may be his last chance to do that.