The Chicago Bears are officially on vacation.
The team wrapped up their final day of mandatory minicamp on Thursday giving players roughly six weeks off before they need to report back to Halas Hall in late July for the start of training camp.
That’s right, Bears fans, just 6 more weeks until the team is officially starting preparations for the 2023 season and not just in the offseason program.
But before they all scattered from Halas Hall, they had one final practice with the media present. They did plenty of work in the red zone and Justin Fields looked good from start to finish.
The #Bears did some red zone work and Justin Fields looked sharp.— Nicholas Moreano (@NicholasMoreano) June 15, 2023
Fields started with a completion to Velus Jones Jr. Then, Fields connected with Equanimeous St. Brown in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown.
Fields then completed passes to Khalil Herbert and Cole Kmet.
But Fields wasn’t done there. The theme today seemed to be that Fields continued to throw completions, but when he didn’t, it wasn’t necessarily his fault:
In Fields' 2nd attempt in team, he found Velus Jones Jr. for a short gain.— Nicholas Moreano (@NicholasMoreano) June 15, 2023
Then he threw a pass to Tyler Scott, but the rookie couldn't hang on for the TD.
Fields then connected with Robert Tonyan for a TD. Tonyan stuck his right hand out to make a good catch vs Elijah Hicks.
Fields also had a couple of nice throws to Dante Pettis as well. It seems Fields worked the ball around to the entire offense nicely.
Overall it was a good day for Justin Fields out there. Looked really sharp in team drills including redzone where he had a couple of touchdowns.— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) June 15, 2023
Nice throws to EQ, Tonyan, Kmet.
Ended practice with a scramble TD to Dante Pettis. The WR adjusted nicely and beat Gordon.#Bears
After practice, Fields and Matt Eberflus met the media. The buzz around minicamp has been how noticeable the chemistry between Justin Fields and DJ Moore is already. Fields acknowledged that they are clicking.
"It did come quickly." -- Justin Fields on how fast his chemistry developed with DJ Moore pic.twitter.com/Ts9WsMJ25Q— Nicholas Moreano (@NicholasMoreano) June 15, 2023
The talk wasn’t just about Fields today. Eberflus also noted that Gervon Dexter has had one heck of a minicamp. For a guy that got a lot of grief after being drafted by Chicago, Dexter has been impressive (albeit with the pads off) so far in a Bears’ uniform.
6) In a month-and-a-half as a rookie, Gervon Dexter has taken a Sharpie to the first box of his H.I.T.S. principle growth chart.— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) June 15, 2023
"Man he hustles," Eberflus said. "He’s got his track shoes on and he is running out there. Which is great to see from a guy who is 308, 6-foot-5."
Some other notes from minicamp:
Robert Tonyan has worked through the 1s pretty regularly. He won’t just be a backup to Cole Kmet, I would think we will see the Bears utilize 12 personnel pretty regularly to have both Tonyan and Kmet on the field.
It certainly seems like the starting center job is Cody Whitehair’s but the Bears are regularly working Lucas Patrick in with the 1s as well. Once Nate Davis arrived, the other 4 positions along the offensive line seemed to be pretty much the 4 you’d expect, but Patrick is getting regular work with the 1s as well so it’ll be interesting to see how that develops in training camp.
Tyrique Stevenson is getting a lot of work with the 1s. It would appear the Bears are full-steam ahead with Stevenson starting outside opposite Jaylon Johnson. It doesn’t even appear they are playing the “Kindle Vildor is the veteran so it’s his job to lose” game.
Noah Sewell was getting the reps in base with Jack Sanborn out. That would certainly be indicating that Sewell could be the LB4 this year. Meaning if there’s an injury to Sanborn at SAM, obviously Sewell steps in. But it could also mean that if there is an injury to Tremaine Edmunds or TJ Edwards, that Sanborn would slide over to MIKE or WILL and Sewell would step in at SAM in the Bears’ base defense.
Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus have been aggressively playing the rookies. Dexter has been regularly with the 1s. Zacch Pickens spent time with the DL 1s as well. Stevenson is already with the 1s on defense. Sewell is in for Sanborn. Darnell Wright is starting on the offensive line and Tyler Scott is rotating in with the 1s at wide receiver as well.
One final note, as summer break begins, Justin Fields is headed to France (his first time in Europe) to participate in a football camp.