It’s my first trip to Bourbonnais. Just after stepping off the bus, I looked up from ordering a car to my hotel and saw the back of a Polaris Slingshot zoom past me. I can’t recall if it was white or cream, and couldn’t really see the head of the driver, which I suspect places him around the 5’6” or lower range. If that wasn’t Tarik Cohen, then I’ll go to my grave believing a lie. Because, obviously, that was Tarik Cohen welcoming me to my Bears Camp weekend of unadulterated ursine joy. But let’s get to today’s practice.
It’s the first day training camp was open to the masses of us hungry fans. Lines wrapped around the parking lot as we waited desperately for a glimpse of actual football with wild hopes of seeing something that might actually change our outlook on the upcoming season or catch a fleeting moment of attention from a roster-bubbler in a Navy uniform. It did not disappoint.
Who looked good?
Aaron Lynch - Aaron Lynch was able to achieve the rare accomplishment of standing out in a group wearing a regimented uniform by perfecting the aggressively high-waisted pant look. Very tasteful and fashion forward. I am a little disappointed that in my best dressed Twitter poll, he is currently pulling last place behind a rando fan wearing a Mack jersey.
Perhaps he wasn’t best dressed, but he unequivocally wore it best.
Mike Furrey - The runaway leader in my best dressed poll is receivers coach Mike Furrey, who sported a grey Bears hoody sweater-vest. It was a bold choice for the mid-80s relentless sunlight but clearly the sacrifice in comfort was worth it.
Body by Sowell - From first impressions, backup offensive lineman turned Tight End has taken the transition seriously. He must be 70 pounds lighter and I need to get on his diet plan ASAP.
For what it’s worth, he looked capable running basic routes and catching low-difficulty passes.
Mister Biscuit - Let’s be clear, there was nothing about Trubisky’s physical appearance or fashion that impressed me: it was only his play on the field. He was decisive and accurate on the majority of his passes. He never botched his mechanics for a maddeningly inaccurate blunderball. He never got the chance to throw a jaw-dropping rainbow either, but I’ll take the consistency over flashes of greatness every time. Some people may gripe about some poorly placed balls. Those people clearly don’t understand he was obviously testing and challenging his receivers with that ball placement. Tricksy Bisky in true form.
Fry guy? Elliot Chi? - If I’m reading the vibe from the crowd right, it’s time for Alligator Rob to go back to Florida because Chicago has a new hero of the moment. Kicker Elliott Frye. Some people have said that he missed his first kick and went 9 of 10. Those people seem credible, but it looked good from my angle and the crowd cheered. So I’m giving him 10 of 10. I will say his last “60 yard” field goal looked more like 59 to my eye. That’s more than enough for a guy whose mini camp reports were that he had accuracy and kicked the ball straight but didn’t have the distance of his top competitor, Eddy Piniero. Presumably that guy is still on the team. I’m not sure why because Chi is definitely ready to ride or die with Fry Guy.
Tarik Cohen – Cohen is a superstar. He put about 30 seconds into milking the crowd at the beginning of camp and we couldn’t get enough of him all day. Neither could Trubisky. If Cohen wasn’t the top target, he was number two. The refs had a terrible time figuring out whether he was getting touched or cleanly dancing around a defender in team drills, and Cohen didn’t help the matter because he always ran an extra 30 yards down field after the whistle blew. That Bear has endless energy and it’s infectious.
Khalil Mack – I didn’t expect to see much from Mack without pads on. I figured he’d only be on the field for a few plays and it wouldn’t be the right environment for him to shine. I was right on the first count. I was a fool on the second. The offense didn’t double team Mack and he darted around tackles so quickly and effortlessly that it almost stopped being fun to watch. Almost.
It was a bit like a big kid showing off when someone’s trying to teach their little brother how to play. OK. We get it. You’re incredible. But people are trying to learn here. Hopefully, we’ll see some double teams tomorrow.
Mike Davis – Mike Davis literally got mixed reviews from me and the people I was sitting with (particularly WCG writers EJ Snyder and Robert Schmitz). It likely has something to do with which plays we paid attention too. I had the privilege of standing right in front of the running backs as they did their ladder drills. Mike Davis came right after Tarik Cohen and I was surprised at how well he kept up. Every team drill I saw him in, he caught the ball easily, including a lightly-covered wheel route with decent air yards. My colleagues thought his feet looked slower than the rest of the RBs and reported that his paws had some snatching issues. Let them drag Davis through the mud. I have a feeling he plays best when things get messy.
Marvin Hall – I was actually expecting Marvin Hall to be a pleasant surprise coming into camp to. He certainly showed speed, but he was well below average when it came to adjusting to poorly (perhaps cleverly) placed passes. Aside from one wide open fly route which he pulled in effortlessly, he didn’t stand out in team drills or do anything to help carve space in the Bears garishly-deep receiver group.
Cordarrelle Patterson – This really isn’t news about Patterson. We know he can run fast in one direction. Stopping and starting have never been his calling card. It was a little strike to see him lose his footing twice while making sharp cuts on routes in receiver drills. He was clearly putting in maximum effort presumably wanting to show the Bears what he can do. Unfortunately, he more showed what he can’t do. It’s okay, though. We already knew that. Nagy will find the right way to make him shine. It won’t be running three-cut routes.
Most impressive moment of the day
I had to go to the restroom at the peak of camp. There were multiple locations of port-a-potties. The location closest to me had literally no line. I’ve never been to an event with thousands of people that was so well prepared in the bathroom department. Only note: “Honey Pot” brand port-a-potties would have been most appropriate for the occasion. It’s a minor gripe in what was otherwise a logistical masterpiece for the Bears’ organization.