The first week of training camp is in the books for coach Matt Nagy and the new-look Chicago Bears. After an offseason full of excitement and praise, the Bears have maintained the positive momentum in practice and have given fans several reasons to feel optimistic heading into the first game week of the preseason.
The Bears will square off against the Ravens in the 2018 Hall of Fame Game on August 2. It'll be the first opportunity for fans to get a feel for Nagy's in-game style and, perhaps, the first look at some of the team's shiny new toys on offense.
Don't be too hopeful for the latter, however. It's highly unlikely Chicago will risk injury to any of its key starters in what amounts to an extra preseason game. Instead, the Hall of Fame game will give guys battling for roster spots an additional week of film for the coaching staff and front office to study.
Regardless of how many reps (if any) starters receive on Thursday night, the game represents an opportunity to build on several positives through camp thus far.
What a breath of fresh air coach Nagy has been for the Bears and the city of Chicago. He's brought personality back to a franchise that's had its fair share of boring coaches over the last several years. Whether it's his youthful approach to the job or just his natural demeanor, it's obvious that players are buying in despite not yet playing a single game. The Bears have the right guy at head coach.
Mitch Trubisky is a leader
Trubisky has a lot to prove before he can be crowned a franchise quarterback in the NFL, but he's already established himself as the leader of the Bears in only his second season. In fact, he's brought a lot of the same qualities to the quarterback position that Nagy's brought as head coach. Guys believe in Trubisky's work ethic and character. He really cares about doing what's necessary to win games and he carries himself the right way. Being the face of one of the biggest sports franchises in the world isn't too big for him, and that's a great sign.
Allen Robinson is healthy
It's not often that a player coming off a torn ACL will sign a three-year, $42 million deal in free agency, but that's what the Bears paid Robinson in an effort to inject life into the team's lifeless receiver corps. But in the days, weeks and months after the contract was signed, questions around his health and whether he'd be full-go for training camp lingered. Then came last Friday when Robinson was medically cleared for practice. He's looked sharp and is making plays. While he may not be 100 percent healthy yet, he's nearly there. Whew.
Robinson isn't the Bears' only playmaker
So, it's great that Robinson is healthy. But even if he wasn't, the first week of training camp has proven that Chicago's offense is light years ahead of last season. Taylor Gabriel has connected with Trubisky on big plays down the sideline, Kevin White is flashing first-round pedigree, Trey Burton has put his athletic ability on display and second-round pick Anthony Miller looks like a future Pro Bowler. The Bears finally appear to have an offense that has enough weapons to actually force a defensive coordinator to earn his paycheck.