Bears ready to rev up in-house competition

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by The Benjamin, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    GM Phil Emery believes roster he has assembled will provide hottest position battles of his 3 training camps

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    By Dan Wiederer, Tribune reporter
    8:18 p.m. CDT, July 23, 2014

    BOURBONNAIS — For Bears general manager Phil Emery, the heaviest lifting for the building of his 2014 roster was done long ago. A frenetic stretch of free agency in March provided the defense with an infusion of new talent, particularly up front. Eight draft picks joined the mix in May.

    And with the roster churn constantly ongoing since last season ended, Emery checked into training camp Wednesday with a group he says includes 43 players who were not with the organization at any point in 2013.
    That's everyone from defensive end Jared Allen, a five-time Pro Bowler and the highest profile acquisition of the offseason, to Jordan Lynch, an undrafted underdog fighting to prove he belongs on the NFL roster in his hometown.

    So now comes the demanding part for Emery, the challenge of taking the current 90-man roster and paring it down to 53 before Week 1.

    With practice beginning Friday at Olivet Nazarene University, the puzzle box has been emptied onto the table. Now it's time for assembly. And entering his third season as GM, Emery is convinced this camp will showcase far more competition than those he presided over in 2013 and 2012.

    "Of the three camps, I would say this camp has the best competitive level among the roster from 1-90," Emery said Wednesday.

    As he did his brief position-by-position rundown, Emery kept coming back to two words: unsettled and competition. Unsettled, as in the depth chart with plenty of defensive starting spots available and other roles in all three phases still to be filled. And competition, as in the means to settling all that over these next three weeks of camp and into the four exhibition games.

    "That's what makes it fun," Emery said. "You have a lot of good tape to watch. Watching higher level performances is a lot more fun than watching not-so-high-level performances."

    As with all NFL teams in late July, the optimism is bubbling in Bourbonnais. Coach Marc Trestman, looks over the roster — at a prolific offense with all 11 starters back and a promising defense with more quality depth — and is pleased with what he sees.

    "We feel better on paper," Trestman said, "just because we have some perspective on what we had and what we have now. … Our talent levels are better. Now we have to turn paper into performance and excellence."

    To do so, Trestman promises a training camp with very little wasted energy and 14 high-speed practices between now and Aug. 12 that should allow every player ample opportunity to prove their worth.

    "We have to make the most of every minute on the field with helping each player get better and master their craft, helping our units come together," Trestman said. "And we have to make the most of every meeting because there's not a lot of time."

    But there is a lot of urgency. Starting opportunities are up for grabs in the secondary, at linebacker and even on the defensive line. The backup quarterback battle also will intensify soon.

    Emery expects the depth chart to be in flux over the next month but calls it "an exciting process."

    He and Trestman also acknowledged the enthusiasm building from the outside as the Bears look to return to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

    "We recognize the excitement around our team … and what I [describe] as the noise that goes on around us," Trestman said. "But in Bourbonnais, we have to stay focused on the process. We have to keep our feet on the ground. We're in an extended process of rebuilding our football team."

    dwiederer@tribune.com
    Twitter @danwiederer

    Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC
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  2. Papa_Bear_7

    Papa_Bear_7 Veteran

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    One friggin' day to go! Woop! I'm going to camp for the first time this year. Going to hit the practices on the 10th and 11th with my brother and nephew. Should be a blast!
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  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Jay shows up with refreshments for the team? Love the I'm a married father of two conversion van. Been there, done that.

    It is exciting and that's easy to see just from the excitement and the optimism around here. I haven't seen this much preseason agreement and communal optimism and kool-aid toasts in 10 years since just after Lovie arrived.

    Yippee ki yay.......mother frockers. :koolaid[1]:

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