I was all in favorof Bears GMPhil Emery spreading his wings and interviewing a wide variety of potential head coaches until I heard one name--Mike Singletary.Mike Singletary? Seriously? Singletary? I must have read that report wrong. Mike Singletary? This is giving me doubts. Everyone can't be a candidate, can they? If so, I'm throwing my name in the ring.I have some great playbooks; the Packers offfense from 1992-2000 and my man Mouse Davis' run-and-shoot plays certainly can get first downs, and Jay Cutler can still take his same amount of hits and sacks. I'll even keep the "Tampa 2"scheme and all the current defensive coaches. They want Mike Singletary? I can draw up plays and coverages, and know how to run meetings; something people in the NFL have told me thatSingletary cannot do. If you can't run a meeting or draw up plays, why should you be a head coach? Last year, I spoke with someone that was in the room with Singletaryfor an interview for avacant head coaching job a few years ago. These are interviews that typically take several hours and as most people know by now, are very thorough.10 minutes intothis interview the peopleundergoing the hiring process literallylooked at each other, baffled by what they heard and saw. They knew the man in front of them was far from capable or qualified for the job, andwere unsure how to proceed. He could noteven answer basic questions without referring to a huge binder of information thathe hadbrought with him. In San Francisco, members of his staff talked about how he embarrassed himself when he went to the board and tried to do any real coaching. I was told it became laughable. The stories are countless, so I wonder why is Phil Emery wasting his time? Have I been fooled? Have you? Who is really making the decisions at Halas Hall? Because noonewith any background on Singletary would truly consider him a candidate to be ahead coach. Not even at my beloved Pop Warner team. Mike Singletary?
Bears players and coaches have been preparing for 2016 intermittently for the past several months. That said, the 2016 “season” effectively begins on Thursday with the Bears holding their first practice of training camp, one that will be open to the public even though players will work the first two days without pads.
From now until early next year, the Bears will have no more than one day off at a time, save the off-week leading up to no game on Nov. 6, and other than perhaps a bonus day off here and there, such as after the Thursday, Oct. 20 night game at Green Bay, after which coach John Fox may grant his team a couple added days off, depending on the performance in Green Bay.
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Pads come on for the first time since last Jan. 3 against the Detroit Lions as of Saturday’s practice. Thus begins the ongoing balancing act for coaches to maximize the amount of productive time within the parameters allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, all in the context of heat and conditions of contact.
“You’ve got to get your team ready for battle and you’ve got to make sure you’ve got guys ready to go to battle with,” Fox said. “So it’s a fine line, getting ready for football.”
The Bears already have had offseason injuries to guard Ted Larsen and wide receiver Marquess Wilson, in addition to a strained hamstring for rookie running back Jordan Howard and veterans like Pernell McPhee (knee) coming off surgery.
“It’s a combative game and injuries are part of it,” Fox said. “You’ve got to have some good fortune, and some good practice habits. That way you’re getting better and more physical, yet not to the point where you’re losing guys. Obviously with the reduction of our offseason and the things we used to do as coaches, I don’t think doing less of that is the right idea.”
Training camp this year includes one of the shortest off-site stretches ever, with 10 sessions at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais and one at Soldier Field on Sat. Aug. 6.
Day, Date, Practice Time (CT)
Wednesday, July 27: Report day
Thursday, July 28: 9:35 a.m. practice (no pads)
Friday, July 29: 11:15 a.m. practice (no pads)
Saturday, July 30: 9:35 a.m. practice
Sunday, July 31: 11:15 a.m. practice
Day, Date, Practice Time (CT)
Monday, Aug. 1: 9:35 a.m. practice
Tuesday, Aug. 2: Off day
Wednesday, Aug. 3: 11:15 a.m. practice
Thursday, Aug. 4: 9:35 a.m. practice
Friday, Aug. 5: 11:15 a.m. practice
Saturday, Aug. 6: 12:30 p.m. Meijer Chicago Bears Family Fest (Soldier Field)
Sunday, Aug.7: Off day
Monday, Aug. 8: 11:15 a.m. practice
Tuesday, Aug. 9: 9:35 a.m. practice/final open practice
Wednesday, Aug. 10: Off day
Thursday, Aug. 11: Bears vs. Denver Broncos, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 18: Bears at New England Patriots, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27: Bears vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 12 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1: Bears at Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m.
After covering some 25 Bears training camps spanning both Bourbonnais and Platteville, this CSNChicago.com reporter has gleaned some tips for getting the most out of the fan experience:
Appreciate the effort:
A lot of the young men you’ll be watching are living playing to realize a dream they’ve had since they were as young as some of the youngest fans. They are competing for jobs every day, every snap, and even going against teammates, the effort expended is worthy of the utmost respect. A guarantee: You WILL see something spectacular, whether from a star or some young hopeful who will leave it all and then some on that practice field. Enjoy the moment.
If you want autographs from players, your chances improve with a little courtesy. “Hey, Cutler…” and waving a pen and program at the Bears quarterback does not play nearly as well as “Jay, Jay…” or, if you’re a young fan and really want to stand out, “Mr. Cutler, Mr. Cutler…” Players don’t always get to hear a lot of “polite.” It doesn’t guarantee a signing, but understand that there’s no way players can sign every request and still have fully functioning limbs. And if a player doesn’t stop to sign, it’s not a snub. Most players sign every other day, so this just might be their off day for signing.
Plus, if it’s post-practice, remember that these players have just gone through at least two hours of beyond-max-effort work, wearing equipment that is anything but air-conditioned and weighs as much as a small child, and getting off their feet is a necessary survival skill.
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The folks at Olivet Nazarene University do a truly amazing job of crowd and traffic control, but depending on the size of the crush, particularly on peak days, you may miss some field time getting into the parking lots if you’re getting there close to the start of practice. For another thing, players are typically on the field well ahead of the scheduled start times for practice, so you’ll be seeing players working and getting loosened up if you’re there early.
Understand the cadence and order:
Practices are not continuous scrimmaging and hitting. For one thing, that’s physically not possible, or smart. The Bears have individual sessions, then depending on the day, may come together for a “live” run scrimmage without receivers, followed by a less intense session, maybe some special teams, before or after very live pass-protection and receiver-DB head-to-heads, a break, then finishing with 11-on-11 “team” sessions.
The Atlanta Falcons released kick return specialist Devin Hester on Tuesday after just two seasons with the team.
The former Bear and four-time Pro Bowl selection, who's best known for being one of the NFL's most dangerous return men, is now in the market for a new NFL job.
So that begs the question, should the Bears entertain the idea of bringing Hester back to Chicago in 2016?
Hester, 33, has an NFL-record 20 touchdown returns over his 10 year career. However, he only had one return touchdown during his two years in Atlanta, and collected just two receiving touchdowns and one rushing score.
It's safe to say the Bears aren't interested in Hester as a receiver, and who knows how much gas he has left in the tank, but he has certainly made an impact during his time in the Windy City.