It's finally here. All 90 Chicago Bears players are in Bourbonnais for the 1st day of training camp, and all but Johnny Knox, who was put on the PUP list, will be full go for today's 2:30 practice. Here's a link to the entire training camp schedule, and did you realize the preseason opener is in a scant 14 days? Some more goodies after the jump...
We all know that this is the time for optimism, but there are some questions surrounding our Bears during training camp. So let's take a gander at a few preseason questions from a few other sources...
From the 10 Burning questions of the USA Today;
8. Which new teams will vault into the playoff field?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made splashy moves in free agency and the draft. The Eagles, Panthers, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers all have the potential to make big runs assuming they're not again plagued by injury and/or inconsistency.
Yea, no mention of the Bears offensive line!
Chicago has dark horse written all over it this year, but do they have the linemen they need to keep Jay Cutler on his feet this year? The Bears are content to go with J'Marcus Webb on the left side, after he allowed 12 sacks in 2011. A healthy Gabe Carimi is being counted on to shore up the right side.
On a positive note, that's 2 for 2 in thinking the Bears could be a playoff contender, but the Mothership did mention the shaky o-line...
Here's a slide show from FOX Sports;
How quickly can rookie defensive end Shea McClellin make an impact? The Bears entered the offseason wanting to improve their pass rush and lessen the constant double-teaming that Julius Peppers was receiving. To that end, McClellin was chosen with the No. 19 pick in the NFL Draft. Chicago hopes the Boise State product can work his way into the defensive line rotation and share playing time with starter Israel Idonije, who is better against the run than affecting opposing quarterbacks.
My guess is Izzy maintains his hold on the starting left end position, but McClellin will see the field plenty. And what do you know, nary a mention of the the o-line.
NFL.com has some Pressing questions for all 32 teams;
The Bears allowed 49 sacks in 2011. What have they done to improve the offensive line? Chicago averaged just 45 rushes-plus-completions per game, placing them 28th in the NFL. This is the sign of a poor offensive line. Tackle J'Marcus Webb and guard Chris Spencer are both suspect, as is second-year tackle Gabe Carimi.
Matt Bowen via the National Football Post included the Bears in his Ten Training Camp Questions;
7. What does the Bears game plan look like under Mike Tice?
Chicago’s new offensive coordinator will be calling plays for the first time in his coaching career and the Bears have some new talent at the WR position with Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery. Two size/speed players for QB Jay Cutler. But with the same questions along the O-Line, how will Tice will cover up those issues? I would expect Chicago to lead with the run game, stretch the middle of the field using play action (think inside verticals) and utilize the TE. And its on Tice to put his QB in a position to win based on his game plan and call sheet.
You can always count on Bowen for attacking a topic with some Xs and Os.
But now it's your turn. It's fairly obvious the Chicago Bears top question mark is on the five guys up front, so besides the offensive line, what are your questions you hope to see answered in the coming weeks?