CHICAGO BEARS (5-11) OPEN CAMP: July 19, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois
CHICAGO BEARS (5-11)
OPEN CAMP: July 19, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Illinois
LAST YEAR: Bears finished last in NFC North for fourth straight year, then fired coach John Fox after three losing seasons. GM Ryan Pace got contract extension through 2021 and hired Andy Reid protege Matt Nagy as head coach, hoping he gets most out of QB Mitchell Trubisky. Wide receivers were big weakness, with Cameron Meredith (left knee) out for season and Kevin White (shoulder) missing most of it. Chicago's leading receiver was Kendall Wright — now with Minnesota — with 59 receptions for 614 yards. Bears had formidable RB tandem with Jordan Howard (1,122 yards) and Tarik Cohen (370 yards rushing, 353 receiving), though Howard struggled to catch passes. Defense ranked 10th overall despite injuries to several key players, including LB Leonard Floyd.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Matt Nagy, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, WR Allen Robinson, TE Trey Burton, WR Taylor Gabriel, K Cody Parkey, rookie LB Roquan Smith, rookie WR Anthony Miller, rookie G/C James Daniels.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Fox, Meredith, LB Pernell McPhee, LB Willie Young.
CAMP NEEDS: Trubisky needs time to develop rapport with new targets, particularly Robinson, coming back from torn left ACL in last year's opener with Jacksonville. Something else to watch: G Kyle Long's health. Three-time Pro Bowler is working way back from ankle, neck and shoulder surgeries.
EXPECTATIONS: Bears, coming off fourth straight season with 10 or more losses, haven't finished above .500 since 2012. Chicago has one playoff appearance since 2006 Super Bowl appearance. Bears are banking on Trubisky after surrounding him with playmakers and coaches they think will help him reach his potential. Chicago also added possible cornerstone at inside linebacker by drafting Smith, who led Georgia to national championship game last season.