We just got done with the 2014 NFL Draft last week. This week some teams had their Rookie Mini Camp, including the Chicago Bears. You can check out clips from the Bears here or find your team’s site via NFL.com.
From the Bears perspective, there will be many epic battles this year at camp. DT, Punter, Special Teams, Linebacker, Safety, WR3 and backup QB should be fun to watch. (yes I said punter and backup QB!)
DT: Returning veterans Jeremiah Ratliff and Nick Collins will have a lot to say, but there are a host of others including ex-and current Bear, Israel Idonije. Izzy will likely play both DE and DT in the D-line rotation. The Bears added two rookies (Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson) in the 2nd and 3rd round who could push for a spot or at least some time in the rotation.
Punter: Yes Punter! The Bears drafted Pat O’Donnell to compete with Tress Way and Drew Butler. Tress Way was in camp last year and gave veteran Adam Podlesh a run for his money. The Bears spent a 6th round pick on O’Donnell, so he has that advantage, if ever so slight.
Linebacker: Shea McClellin moves from DE to Strong Side Linebacker but needs to solidify, if not win the job outright. Some think he also would be good in the “Mike” spot at Middle Linebacker. 2nd year Linebackers Jon Bostic, and Khaseem Greene will also be fighting for a spot. Veterans Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams have the Weakside and Middle locked up, barring injury.
Safety: The Bears caught a lot of flak last year for allowing the most rushing yards–ever. Unfortunately the Safeties became more of a focal point, even though they are the last line of defense. Chris Conte in particular has been singled out, a little unfairly. He will compete with fellow veterans Craig Steltz and M.D. Jennings, along with rookie Brock Vereen.
Special Teams. Coach Joe DeCamillis is happy to have Safety and ace special teamer, Danny McCray, who he said was “his best player” in Dallas. Many players who were starters last year will now compete to make the squad on Special Teams. It will be interesting to see who tries to fill the shoes of possible Hall of Fame returner, Devin Hester. No small task. The “Windy City Flyer” will be missed.
WR3: Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are Pro-Bowl Wide Receivers and solidify the top 2 spots. This leaves and open competition and WR3. 2nd year Wideout Marquess Wilson has the advantage of spending an entire off-season with Marshall and Jefferey down in Florida. Last year Marshall helped Jefferey have a breakout season. Could he do the same for Wilson this year? As a Bear fan, I am hoping so. Veteran WRs Domenik Hixon and Josh Morgan will also push for playing time.
QB2: Veteran Jordan Palmer who helped Bears rookie David Fales train for the combine, will battle it out in camp for the backup QB spot behind Jay Cutler. Palmer who was with the Bears twice last season, has more time in the league and in the Bears current system. They will both probably make the team, unless Fales beats out Palmer and they decide they need a spot for someone else.
This all makes a compelling mini-camp this summer. Competition will be fierce. The battles, epic. Are you pumped for your team’s training camp? Feel free to let me know in the comments down below!