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Chicago Bears Early August Scouting Report
Richard Fung

Training camp may be underway, but the Bears have mainly been focusing on walkthroughs and conditioning so far. Practices without pads start later this week, and then padded practices will start on Aug. 17th. Some news and notes for you:



Without actual proper practices, there hasn't been a meaningful way to determine who has the advantage in the quarterback competition so far. But as I pointed out last month (and the coaches and media have acknowledged since), QB Mitch Trubisky was the one who was able to work out with his receivers and tight ends during the offseason, not QB Nick Foles. Foles' inability to develop timing with and learn tendencies of his receivers during the offseason puts him at a disadvantage, though that may be somewhat mitigated by his past experience with members of the offensive coaching staff in variants of this offense. This of course doesn't necessarily mean that Trubisky will win the job; all that familiarity with his receivers won't mean much if he doesn't show better footwork in the pocket and an improved ability to read coverages when he starts facing his own defense in practice.



The team waived undrafted rookie RB Napoleon Maxwell last week, leaving four tailbacks on the roster. Undrafted rookie RB Artavis Pierce will battle RB Ryan Nall for the third spot on the depth chart.


Wide receiver

Receivers coach Mike Furrey said last week that WR Anthony Miller has been spending extra time watching film on his tablet and making more of an effort to be detail-oriented in terms of understanding coverages and route-running. The only other real news here is something that hasn't happened yet: an extension for WR Allen Robinson. Financial question marks because of the coronavirus pandemic are one reason why. GM Ryan Pace has a history of getting extensions done right before the regular season starts, so there's still a chance that it could happen, but there hasn't been any movement on that front yet.


Tight end

The tight end room is a little less crowded now as the Bears released TE Ben Braunecker on July 23rd and then traded TE Adam Shaheen to the Dolphins for a conditional seventh-round pick on July 25th. Pace probably had visions of Gronk when he used a second-rounder to draft Shaheen in 2017, but the leap from Division II Ashland to the NFL was just too big for the big tight end. Injuries didn't help matters either. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said that the offensive coaches are happy with rookie TE Cole Kmet's movement skills when he runs drills.


Defense/Special teams

The biggest headline in the three weeks since my last report was DT Eddie Goldman's decision to opt out of the 2020 season in late July. Losing one of the best run-stuffing nose tackles in the league is definitely a big blow to the Bears' run defense. Of course it's disappointing news for the team and the fans, but in these difficult times, health is the number one priority, so you have to respect his decision. DT John Jenkins, DT Bilal Nichols, DE Roy Robertson-Harris, DT Abdullah Anderson, and DE Brent Urban will have to step up to help make up for Goldman's absence. S Jordan Lucas, who was likely to mainly be a special teamer, was the only other Bear to opt out.



Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said that the added muscle PK Eddy Pineiro put on in the offseason has resulted in the ball flying off Pineiro's foot, so there's some exciting kicker news for you. If Pineiro can show more consistency in his accuracy, maybe the coaching staff will let him attempt more long field goals than they did last season.


More to come later in the month!



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