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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
Justin Fields has no lingering effects from a minor groin injury that sidelined him last week. Head coach Matt Nagy reiterated that Andy Dalton would be the Week 1 starter, despite pressures from the fans and media to roll with Justin Fields. An unnamed NFL executive told Matt Lombardo that Fields should be the team’s Week 1 starter but alluded to Nagy’s time in Kansas City, where Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith. Nagy did hint at there being a possible change of guard, saying they would start “whoever is going to be best for the Chicago Bears, and that's going to obviously deal with production and wins." Most beat reporters expect Fields to take the starting job sooner than later. The rookie was an efficient 7-of-10 for 54 yards and a touchdown against the Titans and ran for another 13 yards.
On top of a great running back in David Montgomery, the team has solid depth in Tarik Cohen, Damien Williams, and Khalil Herbert. Montgomery spent the offseason working on his speed and pass-catching, which could help him earn more snaps. Cohen has yet to practice as he recovers from an ACL tear and will start the season on the PUP list. Expect Damien Williams to play a relief role. Herbert looked solid this preseason and earned a spot on the final roster but won’t see any meaningful carries barring injuries higher up the depth chart.
Allen Robinson remains atop a shallow receiver corps. Darnell Mooney has made great strides this offseason and will serve as more than just a downfield threat. Marquise Goodwin has fulfilled his role as a field-stretcher but hasn’t shown much else. The Bears signed Isaiah Coulter, a big and fast receiver that the Houston Texans just cut. With Rodney Adams being the only other receiver to impress much in camp, Coulter seemed to have a decent shot of making the final roster, but he was released along with Riley Ridley in Tuesday’s cuts.
Cole Kmet has dealt with some nagging injuries this summer but should lead the tight end corps. Jimmy Graham hasn’t practiced much throughout the preseason but is securely the No. 2. Jesse James has built a strong rapport with Justin Fields and has likely earned a roster spot. Jesper Horsted had a monster game against Tennessee, hauling in five receptions for 104 yards and three touchdowns, hopefully locking in a roster spot.
A story broke regarding the Raiders inquiring about Khalil Mack in a trade, but the Bears showed no interest in making a deal. The defense is still the team’s best unit and will keep them competitive. Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has prioritized creating turnovers after a disappointing 2020 in that regard. After losing Kyle Fuller this offseason, cornerback will be a significant point of concern. Second-year cornerback Jaylon Johnson had a strong rookie campaign and is ready to take hold of the No. 1 role. Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson Sr are among the best safety duos in the league, and Desai has lined them up all over the field after an underwhelming 2020 campaign. The Bears worked out quite a few tackles this preseason, which is a bit concerning considering the absences of Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman. Still, the defensive tackles are the deepest position on the team. Alec Ogletree has had a phenomenal camp and will take some snaps away from Danny Trevathan. Robert Quinn had a terrific summer, which is great to see after a disappointing 2020.
Dazz Newsome was thought to have sewn up the punt return job, at least until Tarik Cohen gets healthy, but Newsome didn’t make the final roster. Damiere Byrd is also in the mix. Rookie Khalil Herbert probably gets the first crack at kickoffs, but Chris Lacy and Rodney Adams can do the job, too.
Summary from Week 3 of Camp
Coach Matt Nagy said that getting Justin Fields reps with the first team was a "part of the evaluation process" but failed to get him many reps this week. For the third straight week, though, Fields impressed fans and media with his arm talent and ability to extend plays with his legs. ESPN's Next Gen Stats ranked him as the Bears' third-fastest player in the preseason debut. Fields had a down practice last Tuesday but bounced back to finish with a strong week overall. He battled through a slight groin injury and missed one practice, but it appears behind him. Although Fields is breathing down Andy Dalton's neck, the veteran confidently stated that "right now, it's my time."
David Montgomery remains atop the depth chart and should see the lion's share of the carries this season. He left the preseason debut with an injury and was limited in practices but is still the clear favorite. Tarik Cohen still has not practiced and is uncertain for the season opener. Khalil Herbert has drawn a lot of praise, and "he hasn't made many mistakes as a rookie." Until Cohen returns, Herbert could see some touches in the regular season. Damien Williams has played a substantial role as a veteran, and his familiarity with Nagy's offense is helping teammates. Still, Herbert has an extra burst that could be great for the offense. Herbert punched in the lone rushing touchdown in Saturday's preseason game.