Chicago Bears 2018 training camp primer

USA Today

Chicago Bears 2018 training camp primer

The Chicago Bears kick off 2018 training camp with veterans reporting to Bourbonnais on Thursday followed by the team's first practice on Friday, July 21. 

It's been an incredible offseason of change for a Bears team that needed it as badly as any franchise in the NFL. From the coaching staff to the skill players on offense, there's a slew of new names that will be trusted to get Chicago back on the winning track.

Recap of key offseason Changes:

Coaching Staff:

Head Coach: Matt Nagy
Offensive coordinator: Mark Helfrich
Running backs: Charles London
Wide receivers: Mike Furrey
Quarterbacks: Dave Ragone
Offensive line: Harry Hiestand
Assistant offensive line: Donovan Raiola
Tight ends: Kevin Gilbride
Offensive quality control: Mike Snyder
Offensive quality control: Brian Ginn
Offensive assistant: Shane Toub

*Defensive coaching staff has remained intact.

Free agency additions:

Allen Robinson (WR, No. 12)
Taylor Gabriel (WR, No. 18)
Trey Burton (TE, No. 88);
Aaron Lynch (OLB, No. 99)
Chase Daniel (QB, No. 4)
Tyler Bray (QB, No. 9)
 Bennie Fowler (WR, No. 13)
Marlon Brown (WR, No. 81)
Cody Parkey (K, No. 1) 

Draft picks:

Round 1: Roquan Smith (LB, No. 58)
Round 2: James Daniels (OC, No. 68)
Round 2: Anthony Miller (WR, No. 17)
Round 4: Joel Iyiegbuniwe (LB, No. 45)
Round 5: Bilal Nichols (DT, No. 98)
Round 6: Kylie Fitts (OLB, No. 49)
Round 7: Javon Wims (WR, RD 7, No. 83)

Undrafted free agent stock watch:

Andrew Trumbetti, DE Notre Dame (No. 48)
Michael Joseph, CB, Dubuque (No. 21)
Nick Orr, DB, TCU (No. 46)
Ryan Winslow, P, Pitt (No. 6)
Kevin Toliver, CB, LSU (No. 33)
Ryan Nall, RB, Oregon State (No. 35)
Dejon Allen, OL, Hawaii (No. 62)
Cavon Walker, DL, Maryland (No. 78)
Bunmi Rotimi, DE, Old Dominion (No. 74)
Rashard Fant, CB, Indiana (No. 29)
Matt Fleming, WR, Benedictine (No. 2)
John Franklin, III, DB, Florida Atlantic (No. 43)

To see the complete Chicago Bears roster, click here.

Training camp battles to watch:

WR: Kevin White vs. Anthony Miller

OLB: Aaron Lynch vs. Kylie Fitts and Sam Acho

TE: Adam Shaheen vs. Dion Sims

DE: Jonathan Bullard vs. Roy Robertson-Harris and Bilal Nichols

ILB: Roquan Smith vs. Nick Kwiatkoski

Training camp schedule:

Attending practice? Here's what you need to know:

  • Gates will open at 7:30am each day, with the exception of the night practice at Ward Field, when gates will open at 6:30 pm.
  • Please make sure you have registered for your FREE ticket before reaching the gates and you have your FREE ticket ready to be scanned upon entry.
  • Campgrounds will remain open with fan and kid-friendly activities until 11:30 am each day, with the exception of the night practice at Ward Field, when activities will conclude at 10:30 pm.
  • The night practice on August 11 will take place at Ward Field.

Bears training camp will take place once again at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. The Bears have held training camp at ONU every year since 2002.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run


Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5


Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense.