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    Nam Huh/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bears gave fans a glimpse of the future recently at Soldier Field, a culmination of a training-camp period that cast a bright light on what’s to come for the franchise. 

    It’s an overly positive time of season, sure, but it’s hard not to like the rumblings coming out of camp. Players pegged as big parts of potential future successes looked good while going through the paces, and new faces after an active offseason are easing the concerns surrounding yet another major overturning of the roster. 

    Granted, the Bears are far from done with what is sure to be a brutal summer overall, featuring camp battles and tense cut days. And the better things look, the tougher decisions like cuts will be on the coaching staff and front office. 

    But that’s thinking ahead. For now, let’s take a look at some of the most important lessons offered up from training camp so far.

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    Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White runs on the field during an NFL football training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., Thursday, July 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Nam Huh/Associated Press

    Kevin White can’t seem to keep his name out of headlines. 

    A former top-10 pick who has struggled to get going over the course of his first two years in the league will, of course, have this dilemma. This is a critical summer for White given the circumstances, especially after the front office added new names such as Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz. 

    White popped up over the past week in headlines because wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni mentioned they had the former West Virginia star watch collegiate film.

    According to ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson, White was “tense” when asked about the situation: “We just wanted to watch each other’s college film, just reminiscing. Nothing [to it].”

    At the end of the day, the who, what and why of watching college film isn’t a big deal. The fact White is in the film room with a veteran such as Cruz and hadaccording to Dickersonhis “best day” recently, it’s hard to shake the feeling he’s starting to have momentum roll in the proper direction. 

    If he can snowball it from here, the Bears will have a good problem on their hands if it’s hard to cut down the depth chart later.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    It’s easy to forget that at one point Kyle Fuller truly looked like a defensive back drafted in the top 15 in 2014.

    More recently, the 25-year-old missed all of 2016 thanks to injuries and the team wound up declining his option, all after an up-and-down campaign in 2015.

    Now, though, it sounds like Fuller is back to full health and turning some heads, with Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writing that he has “stood out” so far. Head coach John Fox hasn’t withheld some measure of praise, either:

    “I think he’s healthier now. He’s done some exercises to help strengthen it. He’s getting back into it. I like the way he’s looked. It hasn’t been bothersome. He wasn’t able string too many days of practice together this time a year ago, whereas this year he’s able to.”

    The normally secretive Fox saying this is a good sign for Fuller, who doesn’t have the easiest task of sticking high in the rotation at his position after the team added Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper this offseason.

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    Nam Huh/Associated Press

    For some, Leonard Floyd probably couldn’t live up to the hype this summer. 

    After all, he exceeded expectations as a rookie, tallying seven sacks over 12 games on a defense assaulted by injuries. If he came in heavier this summer and could keep his speed, hype of a double-digit sack tally as a sophomore and a monster overall season seemed fair.

    And Floyd might exceed expectations again after his early camp performances and the reactions to them.

    The biggest praise came from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune:

    “The biggest wow factor has been second-year outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He has packed on about 15 pounds and is listed at 251. He glides off the edge and looks ready for a much more productive Year 2. Don’t put a ceiling on what he can do.”

    Combine what Floyd flashed year with more strength and he’s going to be a nightmare for offensive lines and smaller players asked to help contain him on the edge or elsewhere.

    If added bulk and refined tackling form enters the equation too, as it has so far, the 24-year-old might avoid the injury issues that hampered his rookie year.

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    Chicago Bears defensive back Eddie Jackson catches a ball during NFL football practice Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Lake Forest, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Eddie Jackson was only going to fly under the radar for so long this summer.

    Chicago’s fourth-round pick fell during the draft in large part thanks to his injury history. Otherwise, his impressive range, which allows him to play deep center and roam, helped him cause plenty of turnovers in college and could make his transition to the pros easier than most defensive backs.

    Fox would seem to agree.

    “He’s a very sharp guy, a very aware player, especially for a young guy,” Fox said, per Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Kids who come out of Alabama get pretty much a good taste of pro defense, particularly from a coverage standpoint—Nick [Saban] having been a secondary coach in the NFL for a long time. So they’re well-schooled.”

    Jackson has been back on returns for special teams and showing the range well in practice, which makes it likely he’ll push for a solid snap count next to veteran Quintin Demps on the back end of the defense.

    Chicago has brought Jackson along at a measured pace and it is paying off well so far.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    It was hard to know how the Cruz signing would work out for the Bears. 

    Adding a veteran such as the 30-year-old on a one-year-deal seems to have a wide range of possible outcomes. He could end up stealing a starting spot or perhaps ending up cut outright. 

    From the sounds of a report by CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma, Cruz is starting to lean toward the former. 

    “He had the biggest highlight of Saturday’s showcase scrimmage with a 50-yard touchdown reception from backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, one that saw him evade defenders over the middle and break for the end zone,” Emma wrote. 

    As mentioned, the Bears did a rebuild of sorts at wideout behind Cameron Meredith. If White flashes, great. But Cruz will have to compete with guys such as Wheaton and Wright for playing time, not to mention a roster spot outright. 

    So far, it’s looking like Cruz might gift the Bears another great problem to have.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    One of the better surprises of Chicago’s offseason was the drafting of Tarik Cohen in the fourth round. 

    The move caught most off guard and the initial gut reaction probably wasn’t great for some fans—drafting a 5’6″ running back out of North Carolina A&T might have seemed strange. 

    But Cohen is an elusive, explosive player and an ideal complement to Jordan Howard in Chicago’s offense. Emma wrote about this after witnessing it recently:

    “On Saturday, rookie running back Tarik Cohen took a handoff and found no space between the tackles, so he made a quick cut to the right side and beat defenders to the edge for nine yards. The next play, he won the edge again and earned seven yards.”

    Cohen doing this in a scrimmage is good news, as it silences some of the doubters who didn’t care if he looked fast while practicing in shorts. 

    This sort of explosiveness isn’t something the Bears can afford to keep off the field. Meaning, if Cohen keeps this up through the exhibitions and into his debut season, he’s going to make it hard for guys such as Jeremy Langford, Benny Cunningham and Ka’Deem Carey to stick on the roster.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Though it’s not necessarily what fans might want to hear, the plan all along in Chicago has been to draft a rookie such as Mitchell Trubisky and sit him behind a veteran like Mike Glennon.

    The approach will vary by front office—general manager Ryan Pace and the Bears fall under the umbrella of wanting to let a rookie sit and learn as opposed to throwing him into the fire.

    Such has been the approach so far this summer with Trubisky, with a small note by Biggs saying it all: “The Bears have made it clear he’s the future, not the present.”

    And Trubisky hasn’t done enough to change the minds of an organization set on this approach in the first place. He looks like the best quarterback in camp from a physical standpoint and based on his ability to stretch the ball down the field, but he also struggled with something inexcusable such as snap issues. 

    None of this means Trubisky won’t take the field at all as a rookie, and his performance in preseason games will have a much bigger influence on the situation than anything else. 

    But so far? Camp has shown fans the original process seems like the best course of action unless something dramatic changes the outlook. 


    All contract information courtesy of Spotrac unless otherwise specified. Stats courtesy of NFL.com. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus.


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