First & Long: Rookies Report to Camp Saturday, Eberflus Wants Players to Report in Shape, Kyler Murray Gets Paid, Deebo Might Be Next

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!

Yes, Bears’ rookies will report to training camp in two days. The first phase of Chicago’s top-to-bottom overhaul is complete, and it’s time for the players to strap on the pads and start knocking the snot out of each other. New head coach Matt Eberflus asked his players to report to camp “lean, fit, and strong” and we’ll know as soon as he makes his first cuts who paid attention and who did not.

“Training camp’s not to get in shape,” Eberflus said. “You should already be in shape. You should be ready to go for training camp because we are blowing and going from day one.”

I don’t necessarily like the phrasing but that attitude has been missing at Halas Hall for quite some time. Let’s face it, the Bears coasted under Matt Nagy, especially the veterans, and Eberflus will have none of it. If I could make a small suggestion, however, I’d sit with former Cubs manager Joe Maddon if I were Eberflus so that I can be schooled on sports idioms and turn of phrase eloquence.

“The summer for these guys is going to be important,” Eberflus continued, “and the message I said after practice to them was come back lean, fit, and strong. I left them with, ‘get your track shoes on,’ like I started my first press conference because we’re going to be running once we get to training camp.”

I can neither confirm nor deny that DE Robert Quinn is on board with that plan, but all eyes will be on the 11-year veteran because he completely recused himself from Chicago’s OTA practices and its mandatory minicamp. Veterans do not have to arrive until July 26, so don’t expect Quinn to get there any earlier. That’s if he shows up at all.

Speaking of holdouts, safety Jaquan Brisker remains unsigned though there has been no word that he will bypass the mandatory reporting date. There will undoubtedly be reports over the next 48 hours with regard to his current status, but for now, it would be unfair to make any assumptions.

The biggest story of camp will be the continued development of quarterback Justin Fields. According to pass-catchers Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet, Fields has already taken his game to the next level. That sounds wonderful, but I’m sure offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will be more concerned with the second-year starter’s footwork and his propensity to turn the ball over. It will be fun watching Fields throw the deep ball to speedy wide receiver Velus Joines Jr. all summer.

Stick with us at Bears Insider for all the training camp news and notes. We’ll have daily reports and lots of player features starting this weekend.

Bears News & Notes

There’s a Flag…On the Play

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray signed a franchise-record $230.5 million extension earlier today.

Northern Exposure

Green Bay: The Packers have a lot of new faces in camp this season, especially at wide receiver. It’s fair to ask if their offense will regress this year. As great as he is, Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger.

Detroit: The pundits are giving the Lions a lot of love this offseason and some have said they might shock the world with a postseason berth. Statistical analysis disagrees with that assumption. Unit positional ratings reveal Detroit is somewhat overrated.

Minnesota: The Vikings playmakers were rated among the best group in the NFL. That says an awful lot about the greatness of WR Justin Jefferson and RB Dalvin Cook.

NFL News & Notes

Colin Cowherd thinks Jimmy Garappolo is the league’s most underrated player.

In their search for a replacement for Deshaun Watson, the Browns have worked out quarterbacks Josh Rosen and A.J. McCarron but are reportedly not interested in trading for Garappolo.

Sean Payton admitted to Good Morning Football that he’ll probably return to coaching in the future.

Deebo Samuel and the 49ers have had continued talks to keep the star receiver in San Francisco but nothing is imminent. Samuel is in the final year of his rookie deal and has requested a trade.

The Bills have drawn 19 bets to finish the season undefeated. That’s more than all of the other teams combined.

Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust

  1. Murray is the only player in NFL history with 70 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons, yet Arizona fans are questioning his extension.
  2. The average number of fantasy football leagues per individual is 6.29, but when respondents who played in more than six leagues were polled that number jumped to a whopping 16.6.
  3. Retired Patriots and Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel was quite the goal-line offensive weapon. He caught 12 of 16 career targets for 17 total yards and scored a touchdown on every single one of those catches.

From the Podium

  • “There’s going to be adversities for the season, and then how you’re going to respond to that as a head football coach and as a football team. So, get your mind prepared for that. Take the notes that you have, that you’re going through, and that’s what I will be doing here, and then I will come back a week or so early to get set up for the camp, make sure schedules are all squared away.” – Eberflus
  • “The team coming together, I feel most comfortable with that. We’re able to look each other in the eye and tell the truth, and it’s OK. It’s OK to be wrong. It’s OK to be right. It’s just honest communication. Man-to-man, face-to-face, no problems. And that’s encouraging because you have to have that as a team because you have to be close that way, because you’re going to have adversity and you’ve got to be honest with each other.” – Eberflus
  • “Looking for an up [and] coming offensive line, good team — or a playoff team. Either/or is good for me because I can pass my torch on to some guys who are trying to get better, the younger guys, the new generation. Or if I get on a team with some vets, they already know how I rock, and we can just go into the playoffs and make a run and try to win another ring.” – Peters

Running Out the Clock

Gimme a shot of swagger with a side of the need to smash things.

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