The Bears rookies begin their acclimation to the NFL
The Chicago Bears have moved onto the next phase of their offseason program as they held their annual rookie minicamp at Halas Hall this past weekend. And aside from the drafted rookies and undrafted free agents, the Bears also brought in numerous players on a tryout basis. Some of those players could get a contract offer heading into the next level of offseason workouts, but many of them will leave without a deal. The important thing, however, is getting these players prepared for careers in the National Football League. So here are four observations from this past weekend's workouts.
Adjusting to NFL life
In the end, this is the most important aspect of these minicamps. Not only are the coaches teaching the players the differences between college and the pros, but they're also helping them to adjust to the changes in fundamentals, terminology, and the nuances of the NFL in general. They'll also learn new techniques, new methods of training, and new ways to prepare for games.
Players who are standing out
There have been some pretty good reviews about the Bears' final draft pick of 2019, cornerback Stephen Denmark from Valdosta State. Some feel that he's a long shot to make the roster due to his inexperience at the position as he's a converted wide receiver. But Denmark has been shining during the minicamp due to his speed, size (6-3, 220), and instincts. What helps his case even more is his understanding of how receivers like to operate. Notre Dame offensive linemen Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher also were impressive.
The kicking game is still working itself out
The Bears hosted eight placekickers this weekend and things got interesting. On the first day of minicamp head coach Matt Nagy had all eight men attempt a 43-yard field goal, the same distance that Cody Parkey missed from in the one-point playoff loss to Philadephia. Only two were able to convert their attempts, and perhaps that may help the Bears trim down their list of kickers as the offseason workouts progress.
The next steps
With rookie minicamp concluded, the next step is to integrate these rookies with the veterans. And that will be done over the course of the next couple of months with the team workouts, minicamps, and OTAs that lie ahead. Before we know it training camp and the preseason will be here.
— 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.
(Top photo courtesy of @ChicagoBears)