Camp battles are one of the more underappreciated aspects of the offseason. There are a variety of players trying to prove themselves to earn a spot not only on the roster but also on the team. The Bears have a lot of battles to go through during camp that can dictate starters and backups at a variety of positions. Here are the early 2020 Chicago Bears’ offensive camp battles.
Chicago Bears’ Offensive Camp Battles
After a rough 2019 season on the offensive side of the ball, general manager Ryan Pace retooled a lot of positions in order to create some battles and even new starters. He retooled these positions in both free agency and the NFL Draft.
The biggest camp battle to watch is quarterback. This should be the most discussed one and probably has been since the Nick Foles trade. This battle will determine the season, and the ball is in young Mitchell Trubisky‘s court. He will take the first snap of camp. Can he step up to the fight? Or will the journeyman Foles win the job in hopes of leading another team to the playoffs?
Running Back: Backup Options
David Montgomery is slated to be the starter after being the main workhorse last season. At this point, it is a toss-up to who will take over for Montgomery if he were to go down. Tarik Cohen is very unlikely to take a full workload if he goes down because he is just a gadget-running back. The job right now is a battle between practice squad running back and fan-favorite Ryan Nall and two newly signed undrafted free agents, Artavis Pierce, out of Oregon State, and Napoleon Maxwell out of Florida International. They could add another veteran from the players still available like Devonta Freeman prior to camp. For now, this is all they have. Cordarrelle Patterson is another possibility as the main backup.
Wide Receiver 3, 4, 5, and 6
After Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller is a tossup of wide receivers. This should be the next most interesting battle for the Bears as they have a variety of experiences. The Bears added long-time veteran Ted Ginn Jr., who is the only receiver with true experience, to battle for these jobs. He will be fighting for the starting ‘X’ job to replace Taylor Gabriel with newly drafted rookie Darnell Mooney. Javon Wims, Trevor Davis, Riley Ridley, Thomas Ives, Alex Wesley, and UDFA Ahmad Wagner are the six guys likely fighting for the sixth wide receiver spot if Cordarrelle Patterson is listed as a wide receiver, and there isn’t a likely scenario that the Bears carry seven wide receivers unless Patterson is considered a running back. This will be an interesting battle as both Wims and Ridley have experience with the team.
All of the Offensive Line
The offensive line could be completely shuffled this offseason due to all the new additions and the addition of new offensive line coach Juan Castillo. The Bears have all five “starters” returning in Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Charles Leno, Bobby Massie, and Rashaad Coward, but some of their jobs aren’t safe.
For starters, Germain Ifedi was brought in to compete with Coward for the starting right guard job. Another guy that could compete here is 2019 UDFA Alex Bars who was hurt most of 2019. Other guys are seventh-round picks Lachavious Simmons and Arlington Hambright.
A likely camp battle that most people are forgetting is between Bobby Massie and Jason Spriggs. Obviously, Massie has the upper hand, but after last season, the Bears brought in former second-round pick Spriggs after he was cut by Green Bay. The Bears were very high on Spriggs in 2016 before passing on him to draft Cody Whitehair. After a rough 2019 season for Massie, Spriggs could see himself fighting for the starting job.
Charles Leno’s job isn’t exactly safe either after a weak 2019 season filled with penalties, bad blocks, and free sacks. A guy that could compete with him is also Spriggs or Bars. Bars can truly play all five positions along the line, but truly, it will depend on where Chicago needs him the most.
The final, and arguably most frustrating, camp battle for the 2020 season is between the tight ends. It’s expected that three tight ends will for sure be the starters/backups. Jimmy Graham should be the starting ‘U.’ Graham brings a variety of experience to the table. Rookie Cole Kmet and veteran Demetrius Harris should be the starting and backup ‘Y’ tight ends. After that, it is a complete toss-up. Those toss-up guys are Ben Braunecker, Darion Clark, J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horsted, Eric Saubert, and Adam Shaheen. Honestly, there isn’t one person who has the potential “lead” to a job on the roster. Holtz is the only guy I could think of that could since he was very solid blocking as a fullback and tight end. Horsted could compete for the ‘Y’ as he looked okay in a limited role last season as a UDFA rookie. It truly is a toss-up.
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