BOURBONNAIS, IL - JULY 30: Jay Culter #6 of the Chicago Bears calls the signals before taking the snap during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on July 30, 2010 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jay Cutler
The Bears have continued their player-organized workouts, which can pay off if the lockout ends in the next few weeks. By the time they get to Bourbonnais, working out throughout the lockout may have been the best idea the team has had, if they have done the workouts right. What do the Bears need to get out of these workouts?
A healed, matured Jay Cutler: No matter how you slice it, Cutler had a bad ending to an otherwise successful season. Despite living through 57 sacks, his toughness was questioned when he went down in the NFC Championship game, and he had to endure a media firestorm after that. The man who has emerged from that has rehabbed his knee, gotten engaged, did a ton of charity work and is reportedly one of the organizers of the workouts. This is the man that the Bears need to show up at training camp.
Newbies with familiarity of their teammates and the offensive system: No one expects Nathan Enderle or Andy Fanutz to know Mike Martz's complicated playbook backwards and forwards by the end of the player-led workouts. What would be helpful is for the new guys to feel comfortable enough with their teammates and plays that by the time training camp does roll around, they will be able to transition into the Bears system with ease.
Veterans with a new connection: Why were Cutler and Bennett so effective in the off-season? Because they spent time working together in the off-season. Because of that, Cutler knew where Bennett would be, which meant 46 receptions for Bennett in 46 games. For the Bears to be successful, they need to build on this model, with Knox and Hester creating a similar bond with their QB.
In-shape players: It seems like a no-brainer, but the main thing that the Bears need to take from these workouts is good conditioning. Charles Tillman said that the only thing that can get you into football shape is football, so the team needs well-conditioned athletes more than anything.