Every training camp in the NFL has it's own unique story. Tensions build from intensive heat as players fight for their jobs and livelihood. Camp is when team unity and chemistry is put together, brick by brick. Camp is when roster questions aren't necessarily always answered, but at least sanded over for a temporary reprieve.
This year's upcoming journey to Bourbonnais should be no different for the latest edition of the Chicago Bears. A team looking to finally gain real traction in year three of Ryan Pace's tenure as general manager has a lot to polish up on and answer for. After a long off-season full of tinkering, moves slowly made in secret in the 2017 NFL Draft, and most importantly, rest, camp will be the first obstacle to help take that next hopeful step for these Bears.
While the narrative swirls around what the Bears will need to do stay afloat, how long exactly head coach John Fox is for Chicago, and more, most real matters will be settled on the field - in positional battles.
For a 90-man roster that will dwindle down to the customary 53-man regular season version by the end of August, there will be a lot of heat on many Bears in Bourbonnais. This is where recent undrafted free agents find a way to stick with an NFL team, after all.
However, for the purpose of this exercise, I'm going to focus on the five roster battles that not only will help shape the Bears' camp excursion this year, but the relative success they enjoy in the coming seasons.
Without further ado, up first to no one's surprise: the quarterback competition between rookie No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky and big money free agent signing, Mike Glennon. The future of the Bears, in the short and long-term, in the hands of one of these two aspiring men looking to prove themselves.
Weight: 222 pounds
Weight: 225 pounds
Experience: 5th season (first with Bears)
Most believe it's going to be a tall order for the currently contract-less Trubisky to fully usurp Glennon as a starter in his rookie season. That's especially considered when noting how raw Trubisky is exactly, with just 13 college starts under his belt. The transition one has to make as a professional in a pro offense, learning how to conduct oneself as an NFL player and leader of a locker room, and in some cases, quite literally start from the ground up such as Trubisky is monumental.
Where Trubisky stands is that he has to learn the very basics, like commanding a huddle, learning audibles, and more. A difficult undertaking to happen over the course of a camp or even lone season. Which is why patience will be important in the development of Trubisky over time into the franchise, "championship" (as coined by Pace) quarterback the Bears believe he can be.
However, as many have reported, the gap between Trubisky and his much more experienced counterpart in Glennon is not so sizable. While Glennon may have the benefit of an understanding of what it takes to play in the NFL as a starting quarterback given his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he still has to show it on the field and earn his stature in his "year".
And let's be honest, even the Bears would be completely remiss to wholly rule out Trubisky not playing at all in 2017. While the current likelihood of him starting in Week 1 against the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons looks to be very slim, camp will do a lot of wonders for the Bears to see just how much stress Trubisky can take and when they will likely eventually insert him - because there's no way he sits all 16 games.
There's too much of an investment made into the player Trubisky is to have him sit the entire regular season. Couple that with the potential of the Bears or Glennon occasionally struggling and you have your recipe for a 22-year-old to have his first "welcome to the NFL" moments coming soon.
Yes, Pace, Fox, and the Bears can play all the games they want publicly. That's their prerogative. They believe they have the proper plan in place to bring along their top asset. But that doesn't mean Trubisky will absolutely not appear at some point this season. It doesn't mean he can't beat out Glennon during camp, either.
From Glennon's perspective, he knows he's the starter right now. He knows he's been given the keys to the car (model and make debatable depending on whom you speak to). He also knows he's probably not the long-term guy in Chicago past the duration of his contract should he perform well up to whatever competent standards the Bears expect. It's about driving his own individual value to eventually take over for another team in a trade. Another chance to have someone commit to him.
So, all Glennon has to do is show that the Bears are still his team for now and take control as a leader while the hotshot rookie grooms in the wings. Its cliche, but he has to use the prospect of Trubisky sitting there, waiting for an opportunity, to light a fire for his motivation. Iron sharpens iron in competition and even Glennon has to understand that he wasn't going to be handed the starting quarterback job outright: for both his and Trubisky's benefit.
Should he win the job after the preseason, then all Glennon all has to do is make sure the Bears' ship doesn't crash, doesn't experience any pitfalls, and hums along as young talent such as Cameron Meredith and Jordan Howard flourish on offense. The Bears have far from the most talented attack but they do have enough pieces for Glennon not to lose a grip of his current situation.
The upcoming camp in Bourbonnais will do a lot of wonders for the veteran in Glennon to either clearly separate himself from Trubisky, or for Trubisky to begin making real gains towards taking the starting mantel the Bears will eventually give to him either way. Surely, there will be no drama on hand.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.