Yes, you can be certain that what we saw this weekend was comforting in that the players we expected to step up in mini-camp did just that. The players reported on did what they were expected to do in rookie mini-camp and that is a good sign.
However, it’s no more of a positive sign beyond what we already knew about this crop of players. Why?
Hear me out on this one, because it’s going to be very easy to follow.
These rookies did as well, as THEY should have. We can take nothing more away from this camp regarding these prospects than we already know. We knew these kids were good from the start and the three-day camp changes nothing.
This was a camp against their peers, it was rookies on rookies. Essentially it was the same thing we have already seen from these players since the scouting combine began. These players excelled against each other and each one of them is essentially at the same level as their peers.
Those that are a step above, stood out above the pack because they already had, and that is why they were drafted in the slots that they were.
Saying that Juaquin Iglesias could step in and be a starter or compete as a starter is more than a little premature. Because Iglesias dominated a level of competition this weekend that he dominated throughout his college career.
Saying that Henry Melton, Jarron Gilbert, and Iglesias looked the part is no more of a different assessment of them as players as we saw during the scouting combine and pro-day workouts.
The only real difference was the new football helmets atop their heads. The rookies went out and competed against other rookies, rookies most likely that are not going to be on an NFL roster come opening night against Green Bay.
Beating a free-agent signing or a player here strictly on a tryout basis is not something to form a solid opinion on as to who will compete well against the veterans.
These are still the same kids we saw playing and practicing football the last nine months. They are excelling against the same level of competition they did in college. Only in a slightly different setting than what we are used to seeing.
So while yes I am happy to report on the positive things we saw at camp from the top rookies we are all excited to report. I think it’s only fair to keep things in perspective going forward. The perspective is that things will change dramatically between now and the end of training camp.
These players learned this weekend the level of expectations that they face. They learned that the NFL coaches are a lot better at their jobs than college coaches. They soaked in the fact that the play books they face are a lot bigger than what they are used to. The defenses they face are a lot more complicated and intricate.
They learned that football no longer just a hobby and a sport that they play. But it’s also their job, a job that many of us would love to have and earn money doing. However we should all still recognize that and I hope that the rookies recognize is what they are facing is all the more daunting.
I hope that these players can face the reality that IS THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE and that they are prepared to pay the price to succeed in this league, but more importantly as a member of the Chicago Bears.
Training camp will be a whole different ball of wax for these rookies, once they face the talent and experience of the veterans. Put the pads on and face the speed of a level of competition they have never faced before then we will all get a better look at what these players truly are.
The question then will be easier to answer, can these rookies cut it?