You can go back in time and see how often I’ve bemoaned the middles and ends of seasons in the past decade, but I’m usually pretty optimistic going into training camp. This year is no different. Of course, I’m excited about the high-upside rookie QB, but I’m also excited about the way Andy Dalton has added a different kind of presence at that position. This is a guy who is still competitive (looks great in practice so far), was a high draft pick that started right away, and has seen some stuff. Plus, he talks like Nagy talks in press conferences and interviews: calm, positive, and seemingly prepared.
Even more exciting is the thought of Darnell Mooney taking his next step. He was impressive last year, and already looks like he’s set to break out and make a name for himself. There’s been lots of focus on the QB position over the years, but the Bears have also had shaky luck at WR. We’ve had first string WRs that wouldn’t be backups on other teams, and injuries, prison sentences, and a whole lot of head cases in the past. This year, we have rock-solid Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney to hold it down, but there are 2 or 3 new faces that could also be serviceable, if not really good.
Tight end has been a position of question since Greg Olsen. Even with a few good ones sprinkled in, they either had a terrible line or inconsistent QB play (or both). Now, the Bears have a high pick in his second year and a veteran that I never liked until last year, when he did and said all the right things. (Some of those TD catches – *chef’s kiss*)
The Chicago Bears now have the 3 most important offensive positions stocked with young/veteran pairs, and all six players appear to be really good. Then there’s David Montgomery and the RB room, which was also upgraded in the off-season. The running game could finally be deep enough to launch the passing game, legitimately.
However, it’s also time to remember that they’re still the Chicago Bears, and no preseason would be complete without some doubt. The offensive line was seemingly upgraded in the draft, but Jenkins hasn’t practiced yet with some undisclosed, mystery issue. That’s rough. Worse, though, is that they released Leno Jr. to make room. Now, with multiple tackles out, it’s a little scary to not have the left side sealed off, even with a mediocre player.
Okay, enough pessimism. This is the best chance to be wide-eyed and excited for the 21/22 season. This guy gets it: