7 Bears who impressed during the first week of training camp

·7 min read

The Chicago Bears have wrapped their first week of training camp. It included four practices, which included three in front of fans at Halas Hall. There were no shortage of storylines, including the rookies impressing and shifting along the offensive line.

While the Bears haven’t put on the pads yet — that comes next week — there were some standout performances during the first week of practices. Whether it’s veterans looking to break out or rookies looking to be immediate impact players, there were some encouraging performances on display.

Here’s a look at seven players who impressed during the first week of training camp practices:

CB Kyler Gordon

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After missing some of the spring, rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon has bounced back in a huge way at the start of training camp. Gordon has showcased his versatility, getting looks both on the outside and at nickel back, and he’s impressed in both roles. Gordon has also been a turnover machine, which include some impressive picks off quarterback Justin Fields during the week. It’s becoming clear that Gordon is going to be a huge contributor for the Bears as a rookie, in whichever role that might be.

They Said It: “He is just a freak athlete. Some of the plays he makes, it’s not even his man. He’s coming off his man, making plays on the ball. Just seeing how very instinctive he is. He’s smart. He’s willing to learn. He talks less, takes everything in. When you have a guy like that, you know he’s going to be special.” — Bears safety Eddie Jackson on Gordon

S Jaquan Brisker

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Safety Jaquan Brisker continues to stand out in a huge way, and that was evident throughout the first week of camp. Like fellow rookie Gordon, Brisker has been a takeaway machine since joining Chicago. He just has a knock for the ball, whether it’s coming away with a pass breakup or a takeaway. His best play came during Friday’s practice, where he showcased his instincts in jumping a route and picked off a pass from quarterback Justin Fields intended for tight end Cole Kmet. Brisker is looking like he’s going to be a problem for opposing offenses this season.

They Said It: “Some guys are fast, but they don’t know how to control the body to make the plays. He has that great body control, and you can see that adjusting to the ball in the air to make an interception, adjusting to the alley when the runner changes his angle to slow down, speed up and to maintain the inside-out angle to run the alley and make the hit. So, he’s done a lot of those things. You can see it. It’s evident on tape that he has it.” — Head coach Matt Eberflus on Brisker

QB Justin Fields

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Quarterback Justin Fields is in his first training camp as the undisputed starter, and he’s already made waves during the first week. Fields has impressed with his deep ball, where his connection with wide receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet has been on display. His release and footwork have also been noticeably improved. That’s not to say Fields hasn’t been without his mistakes, but he’s responded well. While Friday’s practice got off to a rough start with two interceptions to rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker, Fields bounced back in a huge way finishing the team period with 10 straight competitions during 7-on-7.

They Said It: “That’s what’s so special about him. Forget the athletic part. That guy, the way he attacks every single day and his approach and leads by example, doesn’t ask anybody to do anything he doesn’t expect of himself. That guy’s a natural born leader-type of guy, so we’re lucky to have a guy like that leading this thing.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy on Fields

WR Velus Jones Jr.

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Outside of Darnell Mooney, the wide receiver room appears up for grabs. So it’s certainly encouraging that rookie wideout Velus Jones Jr. is already impressing in camp. Jones has been showcasing his impressive 4.3 speed and playmaking ability. Jones was one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise unimpressive Saturday for the offense. He caught two deep balls from Fields, including an over-the-shoulder catch from quarterback Justin Fields going against cornerback Kyler Gordon. The Bears haven’t been shy in playing him at multiple positions and trying to get him different opportunities, including on special teams.

They Said It: “They’re moving me from Z, F, X. They want me to know everything, so it’s been really fun getting to work with my QBs and stuff like that. But they know my abilities. They know the reason why they drafted me. I am really good with the ball in my hands. Wherever they need me to be, I’m just going to be there and execute.” — Wide receiver Velus Jones Jr.

WR Darnell Mooney

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We’ve heard about the connection between wide receiver Darnell Mooney and quarterback Justin Fields all offseason, but it was especially evident during the first week of practice. Mooney has been making some impressive catches, including one on Thursday when he went up and hauled in a pass from Fields surrounded by defensive backs. Mooney broke free for what would’ve been a long touchdown. Mooney has been Fields’ top target this summer, and he continues to show why he could be in for a breakout year.

They Said It: “Darnell’s an impressive guy. I love his approach. I love his mindset. I love the way he attacks the classroom, and then on the field, he’s all business, and then he does a good job of leading those guys. He’s not like an outspoken guy by any means, but he does a great job leading by example, and then having those really good conversations on the side with guys and then bringing them along. He’s someone that we’re definitely going to be counting on this year, for sure.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy

TE Cole Kmet

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Tight end Cole Kmet could be in for a big year if these first practices of camp are any indication. While we’ve heard a lot about Justin Fields’ connection with Darnell Mooney, we saw the chemistry between Fields and Kmet this week. There was one play on Friday that really stood out. Fields found Kmet down the seam for a huge gain, where Kmet caught the ball between two defensive backs. It was the day’s best play, and it’s the result of Fields and Kmet continuing to build their rapport this offseason. Kmet has flashed in the passing game, and we’ll see what he can do in run blocking when the pads come on next week.

They Said It: “He can do a lot of different things. The thing I like about football players more than anything is the guys that can do a lot of different things, and that makes them more valuable to the offense and makes it more dangerous to the defense. Cole is one of those guys that has that flexibility.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy on Kmet

WR Equanimeous St. Brown

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Equanimeous St. Brown has been lost in the conversation at wide receiver. But the former Packers wideout made a strong impression in the red zone during the team’s first week of practice. On Friday, St. Brown caught three touchdowns from quarterback Justin Fields, including two during one 11-on-11 red zone drill. One of those came over rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, who’s been impressing this summer. It certainly helps that St. Brown comes to Chicago with an understanding of the offense Luke Getsy is running, but he showed his potential as a big-bodied threat in the red zone.

They Said It: “The way that his training camp went last year, where he didn’t make the team and (a month into the season he was brought back), I just saw a transformation of a guy just turn into a pro, and his mentality, the toughness and the way he attacked every day, I was just super impressed with how he handled that, like, adversity.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy on St. Brown

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire