Chicago Bears Training Camp: The only consistency in 2022 is change

Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

More competition and new faces on the Chicago Bears roster

One thing that Poles wanted to change was how much competition there was on the team. He didn’t want to have players to feel too comfortable about their jobs.

About the only player who could feel comfortable is quarterback Justin Fields. Having competition just raises the play of those in battle.

At wide receiver, the Bears let just about everyone go. The only receivers returning are Darnell Mooney and Dazz Newsome.

Poles brought in players like Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Tajae Sharp, Dante Pettis, N’Keal Harry, David Moore, and Chris Finke. He also drafted Velus Jones Jr in the third round.

Aside from Mooney, the jobs along the wide receivers corps are wide open. Pringle had a good season last year considering how stacked the Chiefs were at that position. Now we’ll see how he does when he is more of a target.

The offensive line received an overhaul as well. Poles selected four offensive linemen, Braxton Jones, Zach Thomas, Doug Kramer, and Ja’Tyre Carter, in this year’s draft. In addition, he signed Lucas Patrick, Dakota Dozier (though Dozier is now on injured reserve), Riley Reiff, Michael Schofield, and Julie’n Davenport.

Before training camp, there were three starting jobs open, left and right tackle, and right guard. However, with the signings of Reiff and Schofield right before the start of training camp, things changed. Reiff and Schofield should win the left tackle and right guard jobs, respectively.

With those jobs taken, Larry Borom is the likely winner of the right tackle job.

While the starting jobs are practically set, the other players will battle for backup positions.

There was a lot of change in the secondary as well. Last season there were way too many times when the secondary gave up big plays late in games that resulted in losses. Moreover, the players in the secondary had too many blown coverages and missed tackles.

Poles changed that. He spent both of his second-round picks on the secondary. He selected cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker.

Both are tough, smart, and athletic players. In 18 starts in college, Gordon didn’t allow a touchdown. In his last two seasons, Brisker didn’t commit any penalties. He also selected safety Elijah Hicks in the seventh round.

In addition to the rookies, Poles signed Tavon Young, Greg Stroman, Lamar Jackson (no not that one), and Dane Cruikshank.

There is a different feel to this secondary. Gordon and Brisker will help Jaylon Johnson and Eddie Jackson. Last year, opposing quarterbacks started to go away from Johnson and pick on the other corners. With Gordon, that should change.

Over the past three seasons, Jackson hasn’t had the connection with whoever was playing the strong safety. As a result, he tried to do too much. He wasn’t much of a tackler to begin with, but when he tried to do everything, his tackling skills were on full display.

Now he can just concentrate on going after the ball, a skill that helped him become an All-Pro.

Even the running back spot has new faces and competition. While David Montgomery is the solid RB1, he is playing for a new contract. The Chicago Bears brought in other players who could end up replacing him.

Khalil Herbert was a very good replacement when Montgomery missed a month of games with a knee injury. There are whispers that Herbert could be the heir apparent to Montgomery should he leave next year.

Poles and the Chicago Bears also signed Darrynton Evans and drafted Trestan Ebner. Ebner is a player who could also battle for the main backup job. He has speed and athleticism and has a good burst. Additionally, he is good at making catches out of the backfield.

He could end up taking over the role Tarik Cohen played.

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There is a lot of change in the Chicago Bears roster. We’re seeing things we haven’t seen from the front office and the coaching staff. Seeing how the old ways didn’t work, these changes are a welcome sight.