Chicago Bears: What We've Learned Through Week 1 of Training Camp
Training camp is the foundation on which a successful season is built. What you find out during this time can go a long way toward establishing what kind of team you will be.
There have already been some interesting developments for the Chicago Bears early on. The defense has an extra pep in its step, but the safety position still remains a huge question mark. Meanwhile, an undrafted rookie is making some noise, and the Bears might look to bring in another veteran quarterback.
Here's what we have learned from the Bears' training camp with one week in the books.
Christian Jones Is Making an Impact
People already knew that undrafted rookie linebacker Christian Jones was going to make some noise in camp. The talented, athletic player out of Florida State is not only making noise, but he seems poised to make this roster.
According to ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright, Jones has put up a strong showing since the offseason. Wright says the team moved Jones to the second-team depth chart in its last minicamp in June.
Wright also says that it will be interesting to see if Jones can keep up this momentum going forward. As of right now, he has to be one of the final linebackers in, with a veteran like Jordan Senn out.
The Defensive Line Is Getting a Hands-On Approach
One of the most under-the-radar moves the Bears made in the offseason was hiring skill developmental coach Joe Kim.
Kim is a taekwondo black belt who runs a martial arts school in Ohio. He's been helping NFL teams for quite some time with their hand placement and has a history with Bears general manager Phil Emery from their days in Kansas City.
The defensive line is learning to use its hands better through Kim's martial arts teachings in an effort to shed blocks cleaner and get after the quarterback.
The teachings of Kim stretch beyond the defensive line. Cornerback Tim Jennings is preparing for more of a blitzing role this season and he tells Wiederer in all his years in the league he's "never had anything like this."
Kim is also working with the offensive line in camp.
Nate Collins Will Be a Valuable Reserve
It's been a strong return for reserve defensive tackle Nate Collins, who has bounced back after tearing his ACL last season.
Collins might get lost in the shuffle with fans who are enticed by the big names along the defensive line and two rookie tackles, but he shouldn't be forgotten.
ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson believes Collins has been one of the more impressive players so far. Dickerson specifically pointed to his display in the pass-rushing drills and wrote that he was the star of the drill.
Collins is an important player for the Bears. He's a veteran who is comfortable coming off the bench and can supply a burst of energy in a short period of time.
Even with veterans Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea paired with rookies Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson, you can never have enough talent up front.
Brandon Marshall Is Still Very Good
Think the new extension and security would change Brandon Marshall on the field? Think again.
The All-Pro receiver has wasted no time showing off his playmaking skills in camp.
According to ChicagoBears.com's Larry Mayer, Marshall has starred in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, making acrobatic catches and making plays even with defenders draped all over him.
Marshall isn't the only receiver showing off in camp. Alshon Jeffery missed some time early due to a minor injury but is back and brought down a nice touchdown pass from Jay Cutler over safeties Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray, according Mayer.
The Team Still Isn't Happy with Its Backup Quarterback Situation
Josh McCown really left a large void on this team when he bolted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears have Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer but don't seem too comfortable with either.
The move makes sense for the Bears. Orton is familiar with Chicago from his days as a Bear from 2005-2008. He also has 70 career starts, which is far more experience than Clausen and Palmer combined. Clausen has 10 career starts, and Palmer has never started a game.
It will all come down to whether Orton wants to play in 2014 or not and whether or not Clausen and Palmer can perform well in the first preseason game.
The Safety Situation Is Still Fluid
It's still very early, but the Bears have no clue who their starting safety combination is. Chris Conte is still nursing his shoulder injury, and the current group in camp has been thoroughly rotated in and out.
ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright reported that the team took the field at its annual Family Fest practice with Danny McCray and Adrian Wilson as the first-team safeties. Brock Vereen and Ryan Mundy ran with the second group.
When camp opened, it was Vereen and Mundy who were running with the first unit, according to Wright's colleague Jeff Dickerson.
The situation remains muddled and will likely get more complicated when Conte returns. There will likely be no decision made until on or after the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
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