Camp Notes: Brisker Misses Reporting Date, Bears Unveil Orange Helmets, Lightfoot to Offer Soldier Field Options to Keep Team in Chicago
The Chicago Bears open training camp this week, and the rookies reported on Saturday, though one is a holdout. Here are your training camp bullets for Monday morning.
- Jaquan Brisker has yet to sign his contract and did not report to Halas Hall. Barring significant developments in the coming days, according to sources, Brisker’s holdout could extend past the entire team’s reporting date next week and potentially last into August. The issue is guaranteed money in year three of Brisker’s four-year rookie deal. Rookie holdouts are rare, and the Bears haven’t had a holdout since Roquan Smith in 2018. Brisker is projected to be a starter at strong safety this year opposite Eddie Jackson.
- Brisker’s issue is justifiable. Commanders defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis, who was taken in the pick ahead of the rookie safety, was guaranteed over $110,000 in year three. In fact, every player drafted ahead of Brisker was given guaranteed money in his third year.
- The Bears really need to find a way to get Brisker into camp. Fan Nation dropped their preseason all-NFC North defense and only three Bears were named: Smith, defensive end Robert Quinn, and cornerback Jaylon Johnson. The Packers placed six players on the squad. Nobody knows if Quinn will report to camp when the veterans arrive and Johnson worked with the second team at Chicago’s mandatory minicamp last month.
- Courtney Cronin of ESPN posited a few questions in her pre-camp analysis of the Bears. Aside from wondering whether Quinn will report or not, she covered the expected progress of second-year quarterback Justin Fields. Most notably, did GM Ryan Poles do enough over the spring and summer to provide the signal-caller with much-needed weapons? Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, and rookie Velus Jones Jr. will be the team’s top three wide receivers. Fields has a new center in Lucas Patrick, too.
- Cronin mentioned that the biggest camp battle will be between Teven Jenkins, Larry Borom, and rookie Braxton Jones for the two tackle positions.
- Jones is the favorite to start at left tackle right now.
- The Bears unveiled new orange helmets that they will wear in two games this season. The team will debut the new look on October 13 against the Commanders in a nationally televised Thursday night tilt.
- Smith modeled the new digs over the weekend.
oh nice helmet color. where'd you get that idea? 🤔 https://t.co/YflwVnQkQl
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 24, 2022
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will present a few new ideas this afternoon intended to keep the Bears in Chicago. One proposed idea includes putting a dome on Soldier Field and replacing Burnham Harbor with floating pavilions to increase seating capacity. Unless the city is willing to actually turn Soldier Field over to the McCaskey family, it seems like an impossible task to keep the team from moving to Arlington Park.
- I don’t know if Lightfoot will actually meet with Bears president Ted Phillips. The two haven’t conducted any negotiations since last year, and at that time, discussions didn’t go anywhere.
And owners around the league are encouraging the Arlington Heights move. It won’t just increase the value of the Bears by nearly a $1B, it’ll probably increase every other franchise’s value by a 1/4 billion.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) July 23, 2022
- One undrafted free agent who should make the final 53-man roster is linebacker Jack Sanborn of Wisconsin. His only competition as the starting SAM linebacker is Matthew Adams.
- In fact, Smith, Sanborn, and Nicholas Morrow might be the on-field leaders of Chicago’s new 4-3 defense.
- The Bears brought veteran guard Michael Schofield in for a tryout. The seven-year vet can play anywhere on the line but has mostly played right guard in his career. As of now, Willie Wright is listed as the starter with the injured Dakota Dozier as his backup.
- Wright was the first player that Poles signed after taking over the team at the end of January.
- Dozier recently underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Saturday.
- Poles enters this season with visions of a championship and Grant Park rally on his mind. Not this year, but eventually. “I close my eyes sometimes,” he said, “and I just imagine what that will look like in Chicago.”
- Along with Fields, familiar faces Mooney, David Montgomery, and Cole Kmet will grab the bulk of summer headlines. The Bears cannot afford for any of those players to get injured.
- Pringle, Jones Jr., and a slew of wide receivers will replace Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen. Believe it or not, the Bears are vastly improved at the position. N’Keal Harry was a late addition and could be a steal for Chicago.
- The offense and defense are going through dramatic scheme changes. Luke Getsy will lead the offense and Alan Williams takes the reigns as Chicago’s new defensive coordinator.
- Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, and Eddie Goldman are gone.
- It’s not certain if Quinn will report to camp. The franchise single-season sack leader missed OTAs and may not play for the Bears.
- “There are so many things [Brisker] has to experience and go through to get the knowledge and learn and put it in his files and in his Rolodex there so he can come back to it like, ‘I’ve seen that, I’ve done that before.’ We’re just trying to put him in as many experiences as we can. He’s going to fail some and he’s going to succeed a lot. But sometimes that failure teaches you a lot more than all the successes he’s going to have.” – Matt Eberflus
- “Everybody thinks about the last few years and that push we made in Kansas City. But even fans and family members and friends forget there was a long journey before things really exploded. There was gradual push and gradual improvement. We brought the right types of players in. It required a blend of the (right) skill sets, a blend of the culture. I reflect on that a lot with what we’re now doing here.” – Poles