Camp Notes: Up & Down Day for Fields, Moore Amazes Again, Ngakoue Elevates Defense, Rookies Continue to Stand Out

The Bears will play the Colts in their second exhibition game, and the team traveled to Westfield, IN to practice with their upcoming opponent. Here are your Camp Notes for Thursday, August 17.

Five Things

  1. Fields has been impressive in 7-on-7 drills, but he needs to translate that success into game action. If he has improved at reading defenses and checking down, as the coaches insist, he should have a breakout year. His connection with D.J. Moore has been nothing short of electric, as evidenced in Saturday’s win over the Titans. The Bears had one of the better NFL offenses when Fields was healthy last year. If the improved defense can stop opponents, Chicago has to be considered a contender for the NFC North title. The Bears will be fun to watch, nonetheless.
  2. Ngakoue is on a ramp-up plan after signing with the Bears on Aug. 3. The 28-year-old has taken just a handful of reps during team drills in practice, but he has been on the sidelines giving advice and pointers to the likes of Gervon Dexter, Rasheem Green, Justin Jones, and Terrell Lewis. The coaching staff is doing the right thing here. As a veteran of eight seasons, Ngakoue knows how to prepare to be ready for the season. The Packers used to handle Reggie White and Tim Harris similarly. Ngakoue will have fresh legs once the season starts, and nothing is wrong with that.
  3. The Colts will be the fifth former team Ngakoue has faced in the last three seasons, and it seems to bring out his best. He had two sacks in a victory over the Jaguars with the Ravens in 2020, five tackles and a quarterback hit in a victory over the Ravens with the Raiders in 2021, a half-sack in a victory over the Raiders with the Colts in Week 10 last season, and one sack in an unlikely loss to the Vikings with the Colts in Week 15 last season. Indianapolis blew a 33-0 third-quarter lead over Minnesota only to lose 39-36.
  4. Johnson had 12 carries for 44 yards (3.67 YPC) in the preseason opener against the Titans on Saturday, including a 24-yard run. The Bears have a deep running backs room that includes Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Travis Homer, and Trestan Ebner. All are talented, but there isn’t room on the 53-man for all of them, especially because Chicago also deploys fullback Khari Blasingame. Make no mistake, however. Johnson represents the future at the position, and he should be a good one.
  5. Wright still has a long way to go and a lot to prove. But the Bears proved last year with Braxton Jones that they’re not afraid to let a rookie work in the trenches. Most of Chicago’s rookies saw significant playing time in 2023. This year’s roster is much better, but the first-year players will still get plenty of snaps. GM Ryan Poles believes the foundation for a consistent winning team starts with the team’s draft picks. Mistakes will be made, but Poles’ only concern is the destination, no matter how bumpy the journey may be at the onset. If Wright continues to play at this level (while continuing to improve), then there’s a decent chance he’ll be a Pro Bowler during his career. Thrusting those expectations on a rookie seems a little preposterous, but who knows?

Camp Quotes

  • “Things can get a little dull once you get two, almost three weeks into camp and you’re doing the same thing over and over again. This schedule change was nice. I had fun coming out here at night. You kind of treat it like a night game. And it rejuvenates you a little bit. We’re definitely looking forward to tomorrow. It’s just a lot of fun to be able to come out here and practice against another team. Things get a little chippy, a little chirpy at times. But we all like that. We’ll definitely take full advantage this week.” – Kmet
  • “Just being on someone else’s home turf and getting that feeling and not being comfortable in your own spot. [It’s about] getting comfortable being uncomfortable and learning how to respond and having self-control. Guys want to come out here and be physical and fiery. But it’s also being able to have poise.”Kyler Gordon
  • “The atmosphere was great. I think Indy brought a nice little fan base and there was some great energy between us and their team and their fans. There was definitely some juices flowing.” – R. Johnson
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