The Chicago Bears will hold their annual RC Cola training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Boubonnais, Il for the the 12th consecutive year. The team will report to camp on July 25 and then hold its first practice on July 26. This will run through Aug. 14 (Aug. 13 for open practices).
Fans will again have the opportunity to watch practices for free and the team has a few special events planned during this time.
While it will be business as usual for the Bears at their same camp, the biggest change this year is coach Lovie Smith is gone after nine seasons; new coach Marc Trestman taking over the reins in his first NFL head coaching gig. Most recently with the Montreal Alouettes as their head coach, Trestman has previous league experience as an offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders.
Training Camp Schedule
July 26-29: 9:00-11:30 a.m.
July 31, Aug. 1-2: 9:00-11:30 a.m.
August 5: 3:15-5:00 p.m.
August 6-7: 9:00-11:30 a.m.
August 11: 3:15-5:00 p.m.
August 12-13: 9:00-11:30 a.m.
Here’s the team’s special events.
July 27: Vamos Bears Dia traido a usted por Xfinity which includes a live radio remote from La Ley (107.9 FM), kids’ activities, giveaways as well as a live Latin-music themed concert.
July 31: Ladies Day will include arts and crafts, an on-site salon with spa services, summer hair styling and special giveaways.
August 2: Bears BBQ Bash will offer additional food and beverages for purchase. Fans will also have the opportunity to get autographs from former Bears players. A live cover band will provide music.
August 3: 6:45-8:45 p.m. Family Fest at Soldier Field with tickets required, ranging from $8-12 for this event.
August 5: Armed Forces Day offers special reserved bleacher seating for service people in their uniforms. After practice, there will be a concert by a U.S. Navy cover band.
August 7: Walgreens Youth Football Day urges attending youth football organizations and cheerleaders to wear their team uniforms/jerseys. They’ll have opportunities to win prizes such as Bears autographed memorabilia and Bears wear.
August 11: Eighth Annual Run with Staley is a one-mile run around the campus for children 14-and-under as led by the Bears’ official mascot, Staley Da Bear. For kids five and younger there’s mini-dash prior to the mile run.
August 9 – At Carolina Panthers 7:00 p.m. CDT
August 15 – San Diego Chargers 7:00 p.m. CDT
August 23 – At Oakland Raiders 9:00 p.m. CDT
August 29 – Cleveland Browns 7:00 p.m. CDT
Training Camp Storylines
Along with Trestman, the team will have a new offensive coordinator, Aaron Kromer and a new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
What hasn’t changed is the team will again build around its quarterback Jay Cutler. It’s a contract year for him and while he’s once again playing under a new offensive coordinator, Cutler will need to produce this year.
The team made much-needed offseason changes to its challenged offensive line by signing former New Orleans Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod, former New Jets left guard Matt Slauson and former New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett. Cutler has been beaten up every season from his O-line and these three veterans should provide some immediate help after tackle J’Marcus Webb and guard Chilo Rachal didn’t fare too well last season.
Expectations are also high for the Bears’ first-round pick, right guard Kyle Long. He’s long on athleticism and potential but short on experience. Will he be in over his head?
Can Cutler build trust and chemistry with these new players?
He’ll be playing under a West Coast-style offense that will let him do his desired passing game. Bennett should provide help in this arena and mix things up a bit. Running back Matt Forte will play under some new schemes this season and could have opportunities for receptions.
One offensive player question mark is return specialist Devin Hester. How will he fit into this new offense? Are his best seasons behind him?
Rumors are swirling that the record-setting player may not even make the final roster or he’ll only be a special teams player. He could face competition from fellow special teamer Eric Weems, but this player could see time as a wide receiver.
Over on the defensive side, the face of the Bears, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is gone. His leadership will be missed and his fellow linebacker Lance Briggs will step up. He’s no Urlacher and you have to ask if his teammates will respond to him as a leader.
In the offseason, the Bears picked up the Denver Broncos disappointing linebacker DJ Williams and then drafted Jon Bostic. Look for a battle between those two for a starting role.
Should the rookie win, Williams may then battle with James Anderson for the starting strong-side linebacker gig.