At 11:30 this morning the Chicago Bears started a mandatory three day mini camp and there are some rules the team must follow. Only helmets will be worn and there will be no live contact, so we won't get a true measure on the team's progress, but it's a good start.
Because of the rains in the area, the team will practice in the Walter Payton Center.
Here are a few story lines that we will be following all off season.
Can Brock Vereen win the free safety job?
Rookie Vereen has been receiving some off season reps with the starters with Chris Conte still rehabbing his injury. If he receives the bulk of time with the number ones this week that will speak volumes about how the coaches feel about his chances to start. New Bears safety M.D. Jennings has also spent time with the ones during OTAs, but the position is wide open.
Ryan Mundy seems like the odds on favorite to win the strong safety job. Besides Conte taking time to heal his shoulder, Craig Steltz has been out during OTAs with a leg injury. Steltz is expected back sooner than Conte.
Who will play the Mike and Sam positions?
Lance Briggs has the weak side linebacker spot locked down, but the other two linebacker spots appear to be up for grabs. The Bears brought back D.J. Williams to play in the middle, but second year pro Jon Bostic has split time with the ones at OTAs. If Bostic can win the Mike job, that will clear the way for former #1 draft pick Shea McClellin to win the strong side OLB spot.
McClellin has been getting reps at both the Sam and the Mike, but his transition from defensive end to linebacker would be made easier if he could focus on just one spot.
Khaseem Green has been playing both inside and outside, but he's most likely a back up at this point.
Will Jordan Palmer hold off Jimmy Clausen?
The Bears recently added veteran Jimmy Clausen to the backup quarterback mix, and I thought it was a solid move for the team. Palmer has very limited NFL in-game experience, so adding another vet to the mix was smart. The coaches obviously like Palmer, but they didn't add Clausen to be window dressing. Palmer has been battling a minor injury, but that could be the opening Clausen needs.
These two may be fighting for one job, because the Bears could roll with only 2 QBs on the roster, or go with three and hold that 3rd spot for rookie David Fales.
How will the new faces on the D-Line shape up?
The Bears went hard in free agency on the defensive end position, and added two defensive tackles in the draft. Of the 15 defensive lineman on the current roster, 10 were on other teams last year. GM Phil Emery targeted a problem area on his team, and he attacked it. On paper this group could be a strength, but we obviously have a long way to go before we can determine that.
What are some other stories you'll be following this off season?