On Tuesday, the Chicago Bears officially began their full squad minicamp that will run through June 7. After that they'll have a month to relax before training camp opens in mid-July.
The Bears will now go full throttle as they continue to put the pieces together in the hopes being a winning team in 2018. While there is still no equipment being worn or contact going on, the Bears will kick it up a notch to get themselves ready for game speed later this summer. Here are five storylines to pay attention to over these next couple of days.
1. Injured players are slowly returning to action
Wide receiver Allen Robinson (ACL), offensive lineman Kyle Long (neck/shoulder/ankle), and rookie receiver Anthony Miller (nagging foot injury from college) are almost fully recovered from their 2017 injuries. As the Bears wrapped up their final OTA session in May, Robinson (above, right) and Long were being eased back into workouts as part of their recovery while Miller was slightly limited. While they probably won't go full speed for the minicamp, expect them to have a bigger presence this time around.
2. Zach Miller will be in attendance
The Bears re-signed Miller to a one-year deal on Monday. This comes just eight months after the tight end suffered a gruesome leg injury in New Orleans. There was concern that the injury was career-threatening, which makes his recovery that much more impressive. While he probably won't play this year --if he ever plays again -- he can still contribute to the team. He can give pointers to the other tight ends on the roster, mentor the younger players and be a veteran presence in the locker room and on the field.
3. The rookies continue their acclimation to the NFL
With this minicamp the new guys will start to learn more of the plays and coverages that the Bears will be running this year. They'll also become more familiar with their responsibilities on the field and they'll continue to bond with their veteran teammates.
4. We'll get a clearer picture of Matt Nagy's offense
With training camp fast approaching, head coach Matt Nagy will start adding more to his bag of tricks. The plan is to make sure that the players have a full grasp of the playbook by the time they get to Bourbonnais, Illinois, next month. The biggest concerns for this side of the ball right now are the growth of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, refining running back Jordan Howard's receiving skills, and what the offensive line will look like in August.
5. We're almost at the point where jobs are on the line
For the players at the bottom of the depth chart, the grace period is almost over. Right now the roster is at 90 players, that number will be cut to 53 by September. So that means 37 players will be given pink slips before the season begins. So for those considered long shots to make the team, the time is now to take their game to the next level if they want a roster spot. The evaluations will become more detailed over the next couple of months and the initial process of those evaluations will begin at the conclusion of this minicamp.
-- Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Photos courtesy of @ChicagoBears)