When will Justin Fields start and other Bears questions before OTAs

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5 biggest questions Bears face before OTAs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Between the NFL Draft, an active free agent period, plus tough cuts made to get under the salary cap, this has been one of the most intriguing Chicago Bears offseasons in recent memory. Things only became more interesting after Justin Fields and the rest of the Bears draft class took the field for rookie minicamp last week, and the team announced it had canceled its first set of planned OTAs. But with all that intrigue come a lot of questions:

When will Justin Fields win the starting QB job?

Easily the biggest question of the year. Fields will be the starter ultimately, the only question is when he’ll replace Andy Dalton. The team says everyone, including Fields himself, will know when it’s time to make the move for the betterment of the entire team. But could that be ahead of Week 1 if Fields lights it up in OTAs?

How many players will show up for OTAs and training camp?

Last month Bears players announced via the NFLPA that a majority of veteran players would stay home for voluntary workouts due to COVID-19 concerns. When asked after rookie minicamp, Matt Nagy said he didn’t know how many players would show. He also said that OTAs wouldn’t be high impact, and that decision was not made to encourage more players to participate. The very next day the team announced the first round of OTAs had been canceled. Can the team and the players compromise to boost participation numbers?

How will the players who opted out in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns look?

By my count the Bears have three players on their roster who opted out last season: Eddie Goldman, Marquise Goodwin and Damien Williams. Will they have extra juice from taking a year off from punishing hits? Or will they take a little extra time to get into game shape?

How will Teven Jenkins look at left tackle?

Both Jenkins and the Bears are confident that he can play left tackle, after primarily playing on the right in college. He did play a couple of games on the left side in 2019, and Pace said the tape from those two games was enough to convince the Bears that he’ll be ok blocking on the blind side. But that was a couple of years ago, so the team is hoping that switching from right to left is like riding a bike for Jenkins.

Who will win the Bears’ slot corner starting job?

With Kyle Fuller out, it seems like newcomer Desmond Trufant and the re-signed Artie Burns will compete for the second outside corner job opposite Jaylon Johnson. But the slot corner, or nickel corner position has become more important in the NFL in recent years. When Buster Skrine got hurt last year, Duke Shelley replaced him, so he might get the first crack in 2021. Secondary coach Deshea Townsend also spoke highly of Kindle Vildor’s play when he saw the field in the last four games of the season. Finally, Matt Nagy mentioned nickel corner as an opportunity for sixth-round pick Thomas Graham Jr. to make an impact in his rookie year, too. No position group is more up in the air.

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