Previewing the Chicago Bears’ 2014 Training Camp

Previewing the Chicago Bears' 2014 Training Camp

Chicago Bears-Jon Bostic and Kyle Long minicamp
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With training camp less than two weeks away, the Chicago Bears are faced with an unusual scenario. Their offense now seems to be their strength, while their disappointing defense and consistent special teams unit will go into the 2014 season with virtually a brand-new look. Many position battles will headline this year’s training camp, which should spark a great season for the Bears.

Schedule

Chicago Bears-Marc Trestman camp
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Schedule

Chicago Bears-Marc Trestman camp
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The Bears will report to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois on Thursday July 24, and will have their first practice on Friday July 25 at 9 a.m. in no pads.

Quarterbacks

Chicago Bears-Jay Cutler4
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Quarterbacks

Chicago Bears-Jay Cutler4
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There’s no question that Jay Cutler will be Chicago’s starter under center. What’s uncertain is who will back up the nine-year veteran. Jordan Palmer seemed destined to own the No. 2 QB spot until the Bears signed Jimmy Clausen last month. The Palmer-Clausen battle will be one of the most important competitions in camp, considering the fact that Cutler hasn’t played a full season since 2009.

Running Backs/Fullbacks

Chicago Bears-Matt Forte4
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Running Backs/Fullbacks

Chicago Bears-Matt Forte4
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Michael Ford and rookie Ka’Deem Carey will show who’s more worthy of backing up Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte in camp. Carey just may be the favorite to be the second-stringer, giving Ford more time to focus on capturing the kick return duties. As for fullback, Tony Fiammetta will have no problem securing that spot.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Chicago Bears-Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery2
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Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Chicago Bears-Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery2
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Receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett will continue to be Cutler’s prime targets in the passing game. The No. 3 receiver spot is Marquess Wilson's to lose, leaving Josh Morgan, Eric Weems, Terrence Toliver and a slew of other unproven pass catchers to earn a spot in the corps of receivers. Dante Rosario, Zach Miller, Jeron Mastrud and Matthew Mulligan will have to fight for the two other TE spots.

Offensive Linemen

Chicago Bears-Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson
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Offensive Linemen

Chicago Bears-Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson
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With the success of the offensive line last season, there should be no changes with the starting five of left tackle Jermon Bushrod, left guard Matt Slauson, center Matt Garza, right guard Kyle Long and right tackle Jordan Mills. The only lineman who has a shot at shaking things up along the starting offensive front is center Brian de la Puente, who could possibly uproot Garza.

Defensive Linemen

Minnesota Vikings-Jared Allen vs Packers
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Defensive Linemen

Minnesota Vikings-Jared Allen vs Packers
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The Bears’ two free-agent signees, Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, will enter camp as the starting defensive ends, while Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff will more than likely start at both defensive tackle spots. Rookie DTs Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton will have to outplay veteran Nate Collins for playing time. DE Willie Young should also be a shoo-in for time in the D-line rotation.

Linebackers

Chicago Bears-Lance Briggs2
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Linebackers

Chicago Bears-Lance Briggs2
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Lance Briggs is the only player cemented in the starting linebacking corps. The same can almost be said for D.J. Williams. However, the big question is where Jon Bostic will play. The second-year linebacker could possibly replace Williams in the middle, but will more than likely end up competing against former defensive end Shea McClellin for the strongside position.

Defensive Backs

Chicago Bears-Charles Tillman3
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Defensive Backs

Chicago Bears-Charles Tillman3
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Chicago used their 14th overall pick on cornerback Kyle Fuller, who should see a lot of time on the field with fellow cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings in nickel packages. However, the safety positon isn’t as strong. Chris Conte, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings, Adrian Wilson and rookie Brock Vereen all will be battling for both safety spots, in hopes to improve the Bears’ weakest position from last season.

Special Teams

Chicago Bears-Robbie Gould
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Special Teams

Chicago Bears-Robbie Gould
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Kicker Robbie Gould will be the only familiar face on the special teams unit. Either Tress Way or rookie Pat O’Donnell will be Chicago’s new punter in 2014, while Ford, Weems, Armanti Edwards and Michael Spurlock will look to replace the departed Devin Hester. And as for long-snapper, Brandon Hartson or rookie Chad Rempel will be filling the shoes of the retired Patrick Mannelly.

Biggest Camp Battle

Chicago Bears-Chris Conte vs Lions
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Biggest Camp Battle

Chicago Bears-Chris Conte vs Lions
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The competition at both safety positions are the most important. The back-end of the secondary has the biggest question mark looming over it. As of now, Mundy and Vereen are penciled in as the starters at strong and free safety. However, Conte and Jennings could give Vereen a run for his money, and Wilson could be a candidate for either position. It’s hard to guess before camp, but a healthy Wilson and Conte could be the starters in Week 1.


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