If you gave every Chicago Bears fan one wish, there’s a good chance they would wish Week 1 of the NFL season was tomorrow. After an offseason of excitement and a fresh class of rookies, fans and media alike are ready to see what the 2021 Bears have.
Unfortunately, we have some pitstops to make until then. That doesn’t mean there will be any shortage of excitement, however. Let’s take a look at everything leading up to Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams on September 12.
Rookies/Veterans Report For Camp: July 24/July 27
As in any other year, rookies will report to Halas Hall three days before the rest of the team, which will be July 24. The early arrival gives the young players a chance to acclimate themselves to the facility and understand expectations. Veterans will report a few days later on July 27.
While rookies reporting is usually a normal, uneventful occurrence, this will be the first chance fans will see who is reporting on time. In the past, unsigned rookies and holdouts have refused to report on these dates, which always makes for an interesting storyline throughout camp.
Training Camp Begins: July 28
Easily one of the most important dates of the season: training camp. This will be the first time fans and media alike will see who is taking first-team, second-team and third-team reps. This usually goes a long way in telling what the potential death chart can look like at the beginning of the season.
Most important of all may be the position battles. Most notably, the quarterback, wide receiver, and cornerback battles. Players such as Justin Fields, Anthony Miller, and Kindle Vildor will be pushing for playing time, which always produces some great competition.
Family Fest: August 3
One of the more popular fan experiences of training camp, Family Fest gives players the chance of testing out their abilities at Soldier Field. This is a fun, cost-effective experience for families to see the team play an intersquad scrimmage.
This is usually popular with seeing new players make spectacular plays in their new home. A classic example is when fans got to see Jay Cutler hit Devin Hester in stride for a few touchdowns before the quarterback’s first season with the team.
Joint Practices: August 11/12
Prior to the Bears preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins, the two teams will hold two joint practices. For many young players on the roster, this will be their first chance to practice against another professional team.
Anybody who has ever played or coached at any level understands to importance of a good scrimmage. This will be a great opportunity for both the Bears offense and defense to get an honest look from the unit lined up across from them.
Preseason: August 14
The preseason might be the best example of a love/hate relationship. While fans love the idea of seeing their favorite team in action against another team, it should be seen as more of a ‘preview’ than a main attraction. Scratching an itch, but not losing it.
It’s hard to know how much action starters will see this preseason. Head coach Matt Nagy has been notoriously low key when it comes to how many reps players get before the real deal. However, with the NFL cutting the preseason to three games, one could expect to see the most of their starters during the second game.
In that contest, the Bears will meet the Buffalo Bills and former starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will make his return to Soldier Field. The preseason wraps up when the Bears visit the Tennessee Titans on August 28.