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As I slowly increase the frequency of my Bears Things newsletter, I’m happy to address topics that come from Diehards via the CHGO Discord Lounge. Last week, moore2score asked about my offseason process and what I focus on during these slower summer weeks.
To be honest, the most important thing I focus on is recharging my batteries. From the first day of training camp in late July until the NFL Draft in late April, it’s a grind. It’s an incredibly fun grind, but exhausting nonetheless. The five weeks between veteran minicamp and training camp are very special days for me. My wife and kids sacrifice a lot during the football season so it’s time I can give back to them and enjoy these beautiful summer days in Chicago.
But before we get there, OTAs and minicamp can be very valuable if you focus on the right things. OTAs are the first time we get to see all the old and new players on the field at the same time together. While the pads aren’t on, there are plenty of clues to uncover for the upcoming season. The first thing I focus on is the depth chart — which defensive coordinator Alan Williams wisely called the “rep chart” last week. I take a ton of notes on the reps because you can get an early idea of where players — especially rookies — stand going into training camp.
The same can be said about scheme. If you pay close attention, you can spot new concepts to file away for September.
Due to the reporting guidelines we agree to in order to be permitted to watch practices, many of these details cannot be shared this time of year. It can be tricky, but as I enter my 13th season on the Bears beat, I’ve definitely learned to be more patient. When you’re a young reporter, you want to blurt out every piece of information the moment you get it. I’ve learned to accumulate more intel over the years to build deeper stories and share more informed opinions. Almost everything you hear me say or write on CHGO comes with the background of some conversation or intel I’ve gathered.
The summer is a great time to build a library of information for the upcoming season. In addition to the six offseason practices we get to watch, I’ll also find time to watch tape from last season and have as many conversations with people around the league before things get crazy during training camp.
And yes, I’ll also mix in plenty of time on a body of water with a Goose Island in my hand.
Up Next: Wednesday’s OTA practice is open to the media and we’ll break it all down on our recap show at 4 p.m. CT. We also have a new edition of Bears After Dark tonight at 8 p.m. CT. If you’d like to submit a question for a future Bears Things newsletter, hit me up on on the CHGO Discord Lounge!
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