A press conference signaled the start of NFL training camp for the Chicago Bears. Here are a few takeaways.
Phil Emery fulfilled his vision of roster competition
One of the first things GM Phil Emery said he wanted to build within the Bears roster was a glutton of competition. He wanted good players fighting for spots, driving up the effort and work ethic needed to see the field on Sundays. By the look of things, in his third year Emery has completed another stage of that task.
The Bears have battles set to begin all across the roster, both for starting and even backup jobs. Will Jordan Palmer hold off Jimmy Clausen to backup Jay Cutler? Is rookie safety Brock Vereen good enough to outdistance Chris Conte at free safety before he gets healthy? Will Jon Bostic beat D.J. Williams or Shea McClellin for a linebacker job? These are just a few of the many subplots riddling the Chicago Bears storyline heading into training camp, and for Emery it is a thing of beauty that will only serve to make the team stronger.
Jay Cutler is at least maturing as a leader
The proof, as always, is in the points and the Ws but one thing is becoming clear regarding the development of Jay Cutler. At age 31, he has grown into a legitimate team leader. The 2014 off-season has offered its share of signs from his venture down to Florida to train with teammates to his arrival at Olivet Nazarene University in a “conversion van” carry both teammates and supplies for the coming practices. He seems to have finally embraced his role, whether brought on by the fact he is now a husband and a father of two little boys or otherwise.
Marc Trestman is not playing favorites
Part of being the head coach of a team is making sure that the best players on the roster play. That is how winning is done. George Halas himself expressed the credo more than once. However, it becomes difficult for certain coaches not to have certain preferences for personnel. Just don’t tell that to Chicago Bears head man Marc Trestman. If there is one thing about the second-year coach that has become truth over the past year, it’s he’s a marvel of consistency. He never wavers from what he says. So when he says that no position is decided heading into training camp aside from the obvious ones, best to take him at his word.
Trestman was in total agreement with Phil Emery that a number of spots are wide open and that whomever is penciled in as a starter for camp is by no means a guarantee to be that way come opening day in September. That means if a player wants a job, he’s going to need more than a past reputation or good highlight film to earn it.
Health remains the primary concern looking towards NFL preseason
Fans are understandably revved up for training camp. It’s their first chance to see the Bears in pads since the end of last season and is an opportunity to get a look at new faces. However, no matter who plays well and who doesn’t during the practices, there is one primary goal that overrides everything else looking ahead to the preseason. That is to stay healthy. Injuries crippled Chicago last season, and a number of them were suffered before it even began. Already several other teams have suffered severe setbacks. Nobody can predict when it happens, but that doesn’t mean the Bears can’t take every precaution to minimize the risks.