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Going on the Offensive - Quick Notes on Day Two of Chicago Bears Training Camp

Like many of us, Optimist Prime wasn’t able to attend what turned into an exciting day at Bears training camp. Still, thanks to the great Blue Bird, he shares his quick thoughts with us here.

NFL: Chicago Bears Training Camp Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

I truly can’t recall a year when the Chicago Bears put on a (good) show from their offense within the first week of camp. What, with all the circuses and shenanigans previously witnessed by the last three regimes. At least.

I look forward to checking out what my comrades — who were actually able to make it and see these performances in person — post here on WCG, and here, and here.

From the distance, and with help from Twitterverse, today seemed to buck that trend. It wasn’t a perfect day by any means — looking at you N’Keal Harry — yet we actually got explosive plays from the starting offense as opposed to the contrary. For once, we’ve got a load of optimistic takes that won’t be hard to describe.

Justin Fields looked like “THE GUY” at QB

NFL: Chicago Bears Training Camp Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

This is by far the biggest takeaway for me today. Yes, this is during the Underwear Olympics phase known as the “workup period” before the pads come on next week. And, to me, that doesn’t matter right now. Time after time today, rep after rep, we saw Justin Fields drop some marvelous dimes into tight coverage. His command of the offense was apparent.

Sadly, the Chicago Bears still have one of the most strict training camp policies in the NFL when it comes to sharing footage. The one play that made the biggest “wow” moment was a 30-yard laser from Justin Fields to TE Cole Kmet. Fortunately for us, we can still see this play. At least until the goons from Halas Hall eventually take this down.

Cole talked about this back shoulder throw after practice today with reporters. Not only did he mention this is something he works with Justin Fields frequently, the following quote stands out as noteworthy.

“Knew exactly where he was gonna throw that and with the leverage I had on the guy, that was really cool to see.” (Cole Kmet)

The chemistry between QB and TE seems to be getting stronger with each rep. For what it’s worth, I felt Fields and Kmet had a good rapport during the midway point of the 2021 season. The schematical changes might be bearing fruit early in training camp as well.

Perhaps the only bond that’s stronger is the one Justin Fields has with WR Darnell Mooney.

Darnell Mooney is Proving Himself as the Alpha

NFL: Chicago Bears Training Camp Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

I still have my reservations with this group overall at receiver. There’s also no denying that Darnell Mooney looks ready to take the role as Chicago’s top threat in the passing game. Both Mooney and Fields have put in extra work throughout the off-season, and it shows. Below is a glowing example of this chemistry in action.

This is at least a 30-yard completion on a deep crosser — a staple of what we’ve seen Green Bay utilize over the years — which Darnell does a Moonwalk and later takes the catch to the house. There’s no way this isn’t an 80-yard touchdown with full gear on. Several other explosive plays today involved Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney teaming up to torch the defense.

I will also give credit where it’s due - the group at receiver as a whole looked better than what’s currently on paper. A few more moments worthy of praise:

  1. Byron Pringle leaving Kindle Vildor in the dust during 1-on-1’s
  2. Velus Jones Jr. abusing DBs for the second practice in a row
  3. Dazz Newsome — the forgotten man of the 2021 draft class — coming back strong towards the ball for a completion against BoPete Keyes

There were also some moments of shame. In particular, newly acquired receiver and former New England Patriots first rounder N’Keal Harry had a moment he’d rather forget quickly.

Immediately when this play made it’s way to the twittersphere, I chimed in that once the ball hits you in the hands, the result of the play is on you. This interception, which was too easy for Eddie Jackson, was on N’Keal Harry. No excuses here for a player I personally want to see turn their career around.

OC Luke Getsy wasn’t too pleased with this moment. Along with what turned into an excessive amount of drops and false starts from his offense.

It’s becoming more obvious that Darnell Mooney will be the most important target for Justin Fields heading into 2022. Now, how about the big nasties entrusted to protect the young face of the franchise?

Teven Jenkins MIA, Rotations Ramp Up in Trenches

NFL: Chicago Bears Minicamp Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The actual big news of today involved the sudden disappearance of second year OT Teven Jenkins from practice. Per Adam Jahns of The Athletic, he was last seen standing outside of Halas Hall moments before practice started. There has been no official word on what is going on with a player who many previously thought would become an integral part of the Bears’ O-line.

Instead, he’s projected to compete with fellow draft classmate Larry Borom at RT for the starting job. A competition that... well, hasn’t gone well for Teven Jenkins. At all. His last reps at practice came as a swing tackle on day one of camp. That’s not a good scene for him.

Meanwhile, the rest of the unit has a few competitions raging on. LT saw reps being shared between rookie Braxton Jones and recently signed vet Riley Reiff. RG had Sam Mustipher and rookie Ja’Tyre Carter battling, at least until Michael Schofield is up to speed with the offense. RT would have featured Larry Borom going against Teven Jenkins... if the later was present. Then some (more) bad news hit the unit.

Early in team sessions starting Center Lucas Patrick left with head athletic trainer Andre Tucker to the facilities. No statement has been provided by the team as of yet, and Luke Getsy declined comment specifying he didn’t have the full details. However, Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting it’s a thumb injury for the chief hog.

In Patrick’s absence rookie Center Doug Kramer took over with the ones. It is unknown how severe the thumb injury is at this time.

Overall, provided Patrick’s injury proves to be minor, here’s how I have the current starting O-line for week one.

  • Riley Reiff
  • Cody Whitehair
  • Lucas Patrick
  • Michael Schofield
  • Larry Borom (although Braxton Jones could be added into the mix)

There is still time between now and the end of camp for a new challenger to rise. These battles are never won in shorts and helmets as well. Once the pads come on, we’ll know who the meanest hogs are. Naturally, that means there’s still time for Teven Jenkins to come back into the fray.

Unless that decision has already been made.