The Chicago Bears report to training camp on Wednesday, but the season doesn't start until Sept. 8. What will their next six weeks look like?
First, they will have to acclimate to life in Bourbonnais under a new coach. Not only will they have to get used to the usual dorm-life fun of moving into Olivet-Nazarene College for the length of camp, but they will also have to get used to a whole new way of doing camp. Marc Trestman will run practices in the morning, instead of the afternoon or evening like Lovie Smith.
On Saturday, Aug. 3, they will play at Soldier Field for the first time for the Bears' Family Fest. In what has become a tradition in Chicago, they will run a practice at Soldier Field while families who can't get down to Bourbonnais will watch.
The next days circled on the calendar for players are the pre-season games, starting Aug. 9 in Carolina, followed by Aug. 15 against the Raiders and Aug. 23 at Oakland.
Four days after the Oakland game, the roster will be cut down from 90 to 75. The last pre-season game is Aug. 29, and then the roster will be cut down again on Aug. 31 to the final 53. The eight-man practice squad will be put together the next day.
One week later, the Bears will play the Bengals at Soldier Field for the first game of the season. It's a harrowing month for the entire organization, but it's a good sign football is almost here.