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The NFL season is inching closer. Through July, Shutdown Corner will examine three big questions for each NFL team as it heads to training camp.
Report date: July 19 for rookies, July 26 for veterans.
Where: Bourbonnais, Ill.
1. Yeah, we all know what the biggest question is.
Chicago has, by far, the most intriguing quarterback training camp battle in the NFL. It’s one of the most unique quarterback training camp battles in recent memory. The Bears signed former Buccaneers backup Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract, a deal that raised plenty of eyebrows. Then they traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky second overall. Even though Glennon has been told, and believes, this is “his year,” Trubisky wasn’t drafted to sit. From 2006 through last year, 25 of 27 quarterbacks picked in the first round started at least one game as a rookie. If Glennon falters at all, even in training camp, the pressure to move on to Trubisky will begin. Of course, Trubisky is going to be watched closely in camp too. He had just one season as a college starter, so inexperience is an issue. Ideally, the Bears probably would rather Trubisky sit and watch for a year. That just rarely happens. The daily camp updates on the quarterbacks will be fascinating.
2. Can Kevin White turn it around before it’s too late?
In 2015, White was the seventh pick of the draft. He was the second receiver taken, after Amari Cooper. The next pick was Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks last season. Three picks after White, 2015 NFL offensive rookie of the year Todd Gurley was selected. White was considered an elite prospect, but you might have forgotten about him by now. NFL teams mentally move on from many players after one lost season to injury, much less two lost seasons. Due to various leg injuries, White has played four NFL games. He has 19 catches for 187 yards and no touchdowns. Chicago would love for White to be healthy and suddenly turn it around, though the history of first-round receivers who have produced as little as White through two seasons is scary. White has a ton to prove in this training camp. First of all, he has to prove he can stay healthy and that the leg injuries haven’t sapped his athleticism. Time is running out.
3. Is this the last stand for Ryan Pace and John Fox?
Because the moves to acquire Glennon and Trubisky attracted such strong criticism, the clock is already ticking for general manager Pace. Fox shouldn’t feel safe either. In Fox’s first two head-coaching jobs, with the Panthers and Broncos, a mediocre first season was followed up by a huge improvement in year two. Fox’s first Bears season produced six wins and then in year two … the Bears won three games. It’s incredibly rare for a coach to survive three straight double-digit loss seasons. Fox’s handling of a tricky quarterback situation, which will start in training camp, is his biggest job. Incorporating some new faces, especially in the secondary, has to come together in camp as well. The Bears better show some improvement this season or there might be a major housecleaning.
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