Here are things on Chicago's to-do list:
- Improve timing in the passing game. New receivers, a young quarterback and a new, completely foreign-style offense will take time for all the parties to mesh. The timing factor between quarterback and wide receivers or tight ends has to be there, and it has to become second nature.
- Develop Mitchell Trubisky. What did Trubisky learn from 12 games last year when he wasn't even supposed to play? It's certain he learned the ways of the NFL, but what good did it do him playing without a legitimate NFL wide receiver in an offense lacking much imagination? The run-pass option in this offense places a huge burden on the quarterback. Considering Trubisky has had 25 starts since high school, his development will have to continue right along with an improved team-wide understanding of the offense.
- Locate an outside pass rush. Leonard Floyd flashes brilliance, followed by time off for injuries. Without the veterans who comprised their outside pass rush for three years, the Bears must have Floyd step up and participate in a higher percentage of plays, but they also must find pass rushers from among free-agent acquisition Aaron Lynch, veteran reserve Sam Acho, sixth-round draft pick Kylie Fitts and former practice squad player Isaiah Irving. It's certain general manager Ryan Pace will be scouring cuts throughout training camp and preseason and just before the start of the season for potential additions. The Bears secondary made a huge improvement last year in man-to-man coverage, but was helped by a pass rush ranked seventh in the league with 42 sacks. With so much uncertainty about the pass rush, it's possible it could also have a carryover effect to the rest of the defense.
Top summer battle:
--Wide receiver. The camp battle between Kevin White, Taylor Gabriel, Bennie Fowler and confident rookie Anthony Miller will establish a pecking order, although Gabriel definitely figures as a slot receiver when they go to a three-receiver set.
The Bears may not be in as many three- and four-receivers-wide sets because of head coach Matt Nagy's appreciation for using tight end Trey Burton as well as tight ends Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen. Also, they will be expected to put running back Tarik Cohen outside at times, as well. So any rep and any catch made by the four receivers who rank below Allen Robinson will be critical to setting up the role they will fill. It's possible the odd man out in the battle could be off the roster entirely.