Bears Training Camp Extravaganza!!!

This year, I'm going to try my best to provide some decent coverage of football, with an obvious focus on the Bears. To that end, I thought it'd be a nice idea to talk about the new Bears this year and how they might fit in. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the premiere source of football analysis, but I'll try my best to make intelligent, rational arguments and hopefully foster some debate and discussion about Chicago football.

New Arrivals

HC Marc Trestman

Honestly, when the Bears were in the hiring process for a new head coach, Trestman really wasn't at the top of my list. He seemed gimmicky, and I knew that he was passed over for Jerry Kill for the Minnesota HC job. In interviews, he came off as not very firm and it seemed hard to envision Marc as a leader of men. However, I've been fairly impressed with what I've heard from him this year. He's much more media-friendly than many in Chicago are used to (Lovie Smith was about as approachable as the dog in To Kill a Mockingbird), but he seems affable but knowledgeable, and hopefully this team listens to him.

OC Aaron Kromer

Kromer didn't exactly have a sterling record as replacement replacement head coach in New Orleans; however, I'm not about to blame him. What Kromer HAS done over the years is preside over a pretty damn good offensive line unit in New Orleans (and we brought in one of his lineman in free agency). Kromer is the first OC in a long time I've been pretty excited about, and I think he's got a chance to really turn around an offensive line that has physical tools but just hasn't been able to actually block anyone.

OT Jermon Bushrod

Jermon Bushrod was the left tackle for some of the most productive seasons of Drew Brees' career. He made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and hasn't missed a game in 4 years. He's a very good, but not great LT who turns 29 this year. He's a definite upgrade at two spots on the line, both because he's much better than J'Marcus Webb, but he also moves Webb over to the RT where he is probably going to win that job. The Bushrod contract is 5 years with 17.7 million guaranteed; it could be worth up to around 36 million if he lasts all 5 years (he almost certainly will not). 

OG Kyle Long

There's a good chance Kyle Long sees some time at RT this year because he's clearly groomed to be the LT of the future. He's got the size and athleticism to be a solid LT (but not a franchise cornerstone); the problem is he hasn't really played competitive football. It's really, really hard to take non-DI lineman seriously because they are knocking around guys that are literally not much bigger than the average high-schooler. In a perfect world, you'd see him at LG for a few years and you'd let Webb have a few cracks at RT, but I wouldn't be surprised if Long "wins" the job out of the preseason. He's a step or two behind most rookies, both because he's been banged up and because Oregon still had classes during mini-camp (so he wasn't allowed to participate). 

MLB Jon Bostic

I haven't been able to see Bostic firsthand, but reports from minicamps have been absolutely glowing. He's going to get the chance to start Day 1 to replace Brian Urlacher, and it'll be interesting to see if he can. Urlacher was such a presence in the middle of the field that teams really didn't have an option to pass inside. I imagine that safety net is going to away and Bostic will be attacked in space repeatedly, or at least until he proves you can't do that. It's more difficult than it seems for rookie MLBs to succeed right away, so don't be discouraged if it takes Bostic a half of a season or more. 

WLB Khaseem Greene

I wouldn't expect Greene to play much this year, both because he is relatively new to weakside linebacker (he played a lot of safety in college) and because he's backing up Lance Briggs. As a 4th rounder, he's a project anyway.

OT Jordan Mills

Mills is an athletic, fairly polished WAC LT. He shouldn't play this year unless something goes really wrong.

DE Cornelius Washington

Washington was drafted out of Georgia, and had the luxury of playing opposite Alec Ogletree as a DE many times during the year. He'll provide depth this year.

WR Marquess Wilson

He's a 7th round WR. Who knows?

DT Sedrick Ellis

Ellis signed a 1-year, $1 million contract this offseason. He should just be a rotational guy, but Ellis has some talent as a plug. He's basically a freeroll.

EDIT: I wrote this on Wednesday. In between my writing this and training camp, Ellis retired. I imagine the Bears will need to find a rotational DT now, because Corvey Irvin and Nate Collins don't inspire too much confidence. 

LG/RT Eben Britton

Britton should just be depth, but might see play at LG should Long prove himself injured or bad. He's not going to get you killed, which is a massive upgrade on this unit.

LG Matt Slauson

Everything I said about Britton? Same with this guy, basically.

TE Martellus Bennett

It's going to be nice having Martellus Bennett on this team. For many years, the Bears just haven't utilized their TE's very well (and they ran Olsen out of town because of crazy Mike Martz). Bennett should provide a safety valve for Cutler, though he's not perfect and will drop balls from time to time. Still, Kellen Davis was without a doubt the worst TE I've seen in probably a decade (I say this with no hyperbole whatsoever. Kellen Davis is the worst TE in a decade), so I'm tickled that we have someone who can at least pretend to play the position.

MLB DJ Williams

Williams was brought in to compete for the MLB spot that Bostic will probably win. He's a serviceable Mike, but he's been suspended both for drugs and alcohol and the over/under for games he's eligible to play in for the Bears this year is set right at 11.5.

WR Devin Aromashodu

Everyone's favorite practice squad-WR is back! After a short jaunt in Minnesota, Aromashodu was brought back into the fold, but I wouldn't get too excited. Devin making the team means that something was went wrong; WR is actually a strength of the Bears at the moment (at least, it's not a weakness).

What to Expect

It'll be an interesting training camp. This is the first time that Marc Trestman really make his presence felt on the roster, though I wouldn't expect him (or any other team, for that matter) to show a whole lot of scheme in training camp. There are a few training camp positional battles; primarily, the fight to replace Urlacher will be interesting. I think the job is Bostic's to lose, if only because there's likely to be some pressure to play some of the recent draft picks that Emery has selected (and Williams will probably find himself arrested somehow). 

If you're thinking about attending training camp. you totally should! I've been (it's at Olivet Nazarene University), and it's pretty fun. There's not a TON to do there, but you get fairly close to the players (Devin Hester was close enough to touch on a play where he caught a ball just out of bounds) and they have a gift shop/tailgaters, that sort of thing. I almost pulled the trigger on some $4 Grossman jerseys, too, so if you want your Kellen Davis jersey it'll be there.

 

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