#BearsTalk Pick Six: Results of most important storylines from Bears minicamp

#BearsTalk Pick Six: Results of most important storylines from Bears minicamp

Earlier this week, JJ Stankevitz and Chris Boden picked six things they were interested in keeping their eyes on heading into the Bears' final off-season workouts, a mandatory three-day minicamp. Here's what they found:

1. Roll Call

The good news? It appears the team escaped without any new injuries (though calling off Thursday's final scheduled practice prevented a head count). John Fox provided a little more information than usual in running down where things stand with players who we saw on the field, but were not done yet with rehab and recovery: Danny Trevathan (torn patellar) and Zach Miller (broken foot) are on schedule, but Fox said would be "cutting it close" to be ready for the first training camp practices. He said Kyle Long (ankle surgery) was still “six to seven weeks away" from being able to rejoin his teammates on the field. Wideout Cam Meredith (thumb) and backup quarterback Mark Sanchez (knee) were still expected to be ready on time. No specifics were given about Josh Sitton (chest), but the player seemed positive he'll be ready. No timetables were given for Marcus Cooper (soft tissue) nor Lamarr Houston (unknown), neither of whom were even on the field over the course of the first two days.

— Chris Boden

2. Mike Glennon’s command of the offense

Glennon had a lot thrown at him over the last few weeks, which were his first opportunity to dive into Dowell Loggains’ offense and actually run some of its plays in a practice setting. Glennon exited the offseason program feeling much more comfortable with the Bears’ receivers, and felt confident in the on- and off-the-field chemistry he developed with his teammates. Overall, Glennon feels like he’s on solid footing heading into training camp in late July.

“There's been some good things, there's been some thing we need to work on but just overall getting more comfortable in the offense, getting just every rep counts,” Glennon said. “Every time I'm out there is probably the first time I've run the play in this particular offense, so every time I’m out there it matters, and the more we do that, the more we'll grow as an offense.”

— JJ Stankevitz

3. "Tru” at No. 2

By this set of eyes, I didn't see a whole lot of overall difference between Mitch Trubisky (as he moved up to the "twos" with Mark Sanchez's injury) and Mike Glennon. Neither was head and shoulders above the other as both were victims of their share of drops from the wide receiver corps. What's also hard to equate is the level of talent each had him around him in various drills when the offense went up against the defense, as injuries and competition made personnel on both sides a merry-go-round. Then there's also the original play-calls and defensive looks each respectively was given. Personally, however, at this point on the results I saw, I didn't see Trubisky as being that far behind Glennon. Then again, this is not training camp, the preseason, or the regular season. It's still way too early to fire the flames for a true quarterback competition and reverse the stated intention to bring the rookie along slowly.

— Chris Boden

4. Where does Kevin White fit?

The Bears did plenty of mixing and matching with their receiver group this week with Cam Meredith sidelined. Expect that to continue in training camp as the Bears continue to allow the likes of White, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Victor Cruz, Deonte Thompson to compete against each other with an eye on settling on a top two or three by the end of August. But what’s clear is while the Bears have players who have previously had success in their receiver unit, White is the key to this group — if he can live up to the promise he showed coming out of West Virginia, it’ll open up plenty for the Bears’ offense. But that’s a big if for a guy who’s only played four games in two years.

— JJ Stankevitz

5. The first thing for the secondary

At this stage of the year, the defense is usually ahead of the offense, and the Bears were no different than the NFL norm this week. Developing a ballhawking mentality won’t happen overnight for this secondary, but OTAs and veteran minicamp were important for developing a trust among defensive backs that’ll help this unit mesh better when the pads come on during training camp. Cornerback Marcus Cooper was the most notable absence from this group, and while rookie Eddie Jackson wasn’t able to fully participate, he was praised by coach John Fox this week.

“He’s wired right, he understands the game, in the classroom setting, questions and answers, he gets it,” Fox said. “He’ll get plenty of time in Bourbonnais.”

— JJ Stankevitz

6. The ‘Baby’ Bear

Yes, the only game equipment they were wearing this week were helmets, and these weren't game situations played against angry, opposing defenses. But fourth round draft pick Tarik Cohen showed enough quickness, burst, and evasiveness that could make the 5-foot-6 part of this fall's offensive package. Between Cohen and tight end Adam Shaheen, there's a bit of encouragement that while the wide receiver situation sorts itself out, any immediate contributions from this pair separated by more than a foot in height could add options for a unit desperately seeking players opposing defense's have to account for.

— Chris Boden

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Rookie Deiondre' Hall flashed in the preseason a year ago, leading the Bears coaching staff and fans to believe they found something amidst their trio of 2016 fourth round draft picks. 

He’s hoping to do the same this August after overcoming one physical hurdle, while waiting to see if he can get past a legal hurdle he created for himself.

Let’s start on the field, where, just days after his first NFL interception in the fourth game last season, he sustained an ankle injury in practice, sidelining him for two months. Once his walking boot and scooter were finally put away, he was active for the final four games. But what progress he’d been making on the field was difficult to recapture.

“Just coming off the injury, there was a little rust here and there, but the training staff here’s great and I had to push through it,” Hall said at last week’s minicamp in Lake Forest after he was one of numerous Bears hit by the injury bug, but not one of the 19 who wound up on Injured Reserve. “(I was) getting comfortable with the defense and in myself playing with those guys out there, getting the opportunity in the red zone and making plays. But the injury kinda sucked because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play since Week 5, so I’m not necessarily starting fresh.”

As the offseason unfolded, Hall was informed the coaching staff was going to try him at safety, if not permanently, then as an option for the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Northern Iowa product. 

But Hall’s not totally foreign to the position. He was a free safety his first year in college, then transitioned to outside linebacker/nickel as a sophomore, moved to cornerback as a junior before breaking his hand his senior year, playing through it back where he started at safety. So the decision wasn’t a big deal, especially if it enhances his chances to get on the field. But his preference?

“Defense. Opportunity,” Hall responded. “You get in where you fit in and the more you can do, the better it is for the team. If opportunity presents itself at corner, then I’m at corner. But right now at safety, I’m making strides (there) and keep pushing for that.”

“We’re gonna float him back and forth,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month, after the Bears signed free agent cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the off-season, while Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are expected to battle for slot duty and former first-rounder Kyle Fuller and veterans Johnthan Banks and B.W. Webb hope to impress. “He (Hall) had some experience there in college. When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”

But before Hall gets back to work in Bourbonnais, he’ll find out if he has some other dues to pay. Hall was back at his alma mater’s Cedar Falls campus March 26th when he and a former UNI teammate were arrested outside a bar called Sharky’s. Police had responded to a call, and by the time all was said and done, Hall needed to be tased before being arrested on charges of public intoxication, interference (with an arrest), and disorderly conduct. 

The case was continued late last month and Hall’s jury trial is scheduled for July 11th. Pending the outcome, he could face disciplinary action from the team and the NFL. He’s told his side of the story to Bears management and while expressing remorse for putting himself in the situation, Hall says it wasn’t in character and feels confident in what the outcome will be.

“People make mistakes and the truth always comes out,” the 23-year-old said, adding the situation isn’t weighing on his mind or affected his preparation in off-season workouts. “You gotta let people make their own mistakes. I won’t shed light but the truth always comes out, and (I’ve learned) just don’t take anything for granted.”

“My main focus is football and keep pushing to make strides to become good, and great.”

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule: