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Hoge's Bears Things: Top takeaways as we head into next week's minicamp

Adam Hoge Avatar
June 8, 2023

With three weeks of OTAs in the books, here are my three biggest takeaways from what we’ve seen and heard:

The Justin Fields-D.J. Moore chemistry is real. There’s a world in which Fields could still be struggling, with Moore slowly working his way into a new offense on a new team. That’s not the world we’ve witnessed the last three weeks. Fields has consistently hit his new No. 1 wide receiver early and often — frankly, in ways we haven’t seen since Jay Cutler favored Brandon Marshall. 

The reviews inside Halas Hall are strong:

“They got that chemistry going very fast. Earlier than I expected. They look like they’re best friends. Justin is definitely throwing him the ball. No. 2 is getting the ball for sure, no doubt.” — Safety Jaquan Brisker

“Justin has the confidence in (Moore) to get open and he’ll find him. (Moore) has made some plays for us this spring. Quite a bit of plays for us this spring.” — Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert

“You see what (Moore) does just on the field in routes versus air, and just how he moves, that he’s going to be a big impact player for us. For the tight end room, it’s big. You’ve got a guy that can threaten vertically and can do those things and open up zones and holes for us.” — Cole Kmet

We’re a long way away from Week 1, but my biggest conclusion on Fields through OTAs is this: When I see Fields look Moore’s way, I see a quarterback throwing timing routes on time and on the money. When he targets other options (and keep in mind that Darnell Mooney is still not practicing), it’s a little more inconsistent.

Tremaine Edmunds is worth getting excited about. He looks like a defensive lineman with running back speed playing linebacker. It stands out every single practice and fans will get to see it for themselves when training camp starts.

Trust me, the impact on the players around Edmunds will be noticeable. 

“With that much speed … we can let him do everything underneath and we’ve got everything over the top,” Brisker said. “So it makes us play deeper and sit back there and let him roam around … It just makes it easier for us to get our eyes back on the quarterback and just go get the ball.”

Plenty of boxes were checked the last few weeks. Jaylon Johnson is back in the building. Eddie Jackson is back on the practice field. And Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that Darnell Mooney should be ready for training camp. Other than the pass rush, what’s there to be worried about? This is the time of year when you’re just trying to check boxes and avoid any unnecessary drama. The Bears seem to be accomplishing that. 

Can the roster still be upgraded in certain areas? Sure. And I suspect it will be. Remarkably, the Bears still have the most cap space available in the NFL. And it won’t shock me if someone like Yannick Ngakoue is rolling into Halas Hall come August. 

Up Next: Mandatory veteran minicamp kicks off on Tuesday and we’ll have you covered with recap shows all next week. In the meantime, we have plenty left over from Wednesday’s OTA practice to discuss on today’s CHGO Bears Podcast at Noon CT. Looking forward to talking to you all then. 

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