BOURBONNAIS, IL - AUGUST 06: A player for the Chicago Bears walks between helmuts during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on August 6, 2011 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The pre-season in football is a lot like a political campaign. Promises are made, and football players train hard to get ready for the spotlight of actually playing. They even both spend time kissing babies and signing autographs.
The latest in promises that have come out of Bourbonnais is that a whole lot of players are going to get the ball. Devin Hester will get the ball more often. Roy Williams will play a prominent role in the offense, possibly pushing Johnny Knox to the side. Dane Sanzenbacher is impressing his coaches.
How is this possible? Even for a great offensive team, there are only so many passes that can be made in a game. The Bears are not a great offensive team. They were in the bottom of the league in 2010 in total offense, first downs, and points per game, and that's total offense, which included the work of Matt Forte, Chester Taylor and Jay Cutler as a runner. Even with an improved offensive line, it will be hard to work in every one of these new offensive threats for the Bears.
And that's not a bad thing. Hester is most dangerous when he has a good balance of offensive catches and kick returns. Knox and Williams can push each other for the sporting job. Sanzenbacher is an untested rookie, so a year on special teams while learning the ins and outs of the Bears offense can make him even more potent in 2012.
So just as when you're watching a campaign speech, take pre-season promises with a shaker's worth of salt. Football players train in poetry, but play in prose.