Chicago Bears

3 Reasons for Optimism Heading Into Bears Training Camp

3 reasons for optimism before Bears Training Camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

After an offseason of extensive change, Bears Training Camp finally begins on Tuesday. We’ve gotten a taste of what the franchise could look like moving forward through OTAs and minicamps, but when the players report back to Halas Hall, the serious work will begin in earnest. We’ll get to see padded practices for the first time. We’ll see who lines up and where, and we’ll see if they stick in those positions. We’ll finally get a clearer sense of the new-look offense with Justin Fields at the helm, too. There are still lots of question marks, like how the offensive line will fare, and a lot of young and inexperienced players are being asked to take on serious responsibilities. Unsurprisingly, that’s led to general pessimism about the team’s outlook, with many expecting the Bears to be one of the worst teams in the league next season. But there are genuine reasons for optimism as well. Scroll on for three of the biggest reasons why 2022 can be a successful season for Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus and the revamped Bears.


The Bears hired Matt Eberflus because they believed in his HITS philosophy, and trusted him to build a winning culture first and foremost. But along with Eberflus’ new program comes his defense. That defense should be familiar to Bears fans, as it’s similar to what Lovie Smith deployed over his tenure with the team. Eberflus runs an iteration of the Cover 2 that should help the Bears play fast. No longer will defensive linemen have to worry about major assignments, or dropping into pass coverage. Instead, they’ll be asked to pin their ears back and create havoc in the backfield. In the secondary, it will be interesting to see how much man coverage Alan Williams dials up, since he’ll be the man calling the defensive plays. But when the Bears will be in zone, the defensive backs will be able to keep their eyes on the quarterback, helping them to keep plays in front of them, and helping them to create turnovers too. If the Bears can cut down on the mental errors from last year, and gang tackle with authority like coaches preach, there should be a noticeable uptick on defense.


Much has been made about the Bears’ less-than-inspiring wide receivers room. Darnell Mooney will be called upon to lead the group in just his third season, and he’ll have plenty to prove as a WR1. But the Bears have hinted throughout the offseason that Luke Getsy’s offense will feature plenty of carries for the running backs. It’s expected that Getsy will install a zone rushing attack often used in the Shanahan tree. That should not only lessen the load on the wide receiver unit, but should help the offensive line generate momentum by attacking the defensive line, rather than dropping back into pass protection over and over. It also highlights last season’s most effective offensive player: David Montgomery. It became clear early in 2021 that Montgomery was the true identity of the Bears offense, and leaning on him plays to the team’s strengths. Further, it will put Justin Fields in better positions to succeed when he needs to make a play in the passing game.


Like many of his teammates, Fields has a lot to prove this season. He’ll need to take better care of the football, and play more consistently for a full 60 minutes. But one thing Fields has already shown is that he’s got the “it” factor. Moments like the second half against the Steelers, his 4th-and-1 touchdown scramble against the 49ers, or his numerous deep balls to Darnell Mooney illustrate that intangible greatness that Fields possesses. When Fields is humming, he’s the best player on the field and looks every bit the superstar the previous regime envisioned when they drafted him. That quality cannot be taught. You’ve either got it, or you don’t, and Fields has got it. If Luke Getsy and Andrew Janocko can build upon Fields’ foundation this year, he could take a big step in his development as an NFL starter.

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