2021 Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp Recap

The Bears sparked a lot of buzz in April when they traded up to take quarterback Justin Fields in the draft. The team hasn’t had a first first-round pick since 2018 as a result of the Khalil Mack trade. Fields appears to be adjusting well in to being Chicago.

“I would say it’s probably the same,” said Fields comparing his college strategy to the pros. “I think the only different thing about our offense is that at Ohio State, we did signals from the sidelines. So actually getting in a huddle and calling the play out is the only different thing. Everything else is pretty much the same when it comes to concepts and stuff like that.”

“I’m very comfortable. I think it’s very important for the players to trust the coaches and the coaches to trust the players.  Whatever coach Nagy has planned for me, it’s what I’m going to do and what I’m going to follow.”

-Justin Fields

“The first day, I was impressed with not just Justin, but everybody. It was sharp.” said Matt Nagy. The head coach went on to elaborate on his feelings towards the rookie quarterback. “I thought it was speed when we were in our team periods, the speed on tape didn’t look too fast. A lot of times the quarterback can go to the wrong read. A lot of times the quarterback’s thinking about how to take a snap, and get the snap and ‘where do I step at the clock at four o’clock or six o’clock before I fake the play action. Where do I snap my head’, like all that stuff that we teach him, he did the first day fairly easily. That’s what we look for is, are you coming back to the coach every three plays, asking him to repeat the play call, because you forgot what the play call was, or is practice going pretty rhythmically, because you’re going in and out on every play, he was. That’s a win.”

And it’s not just him [Fields] it’s really everybody that’s done a great job.”

Matt Nagy
Matt Nagy

“Of course I’m going to do everything that I can to get that starting job,” Fields went on to say. “It’s not up to me. Coach Nagy has a set plan on my development., and stuff like that. But I’m just gonna work hard and keep my head down and just keep grinding it out every day.”

Fields isn’t the only rookie fighting for a roster spot. Offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, whom Chicago also traded up to get, is expected to be a starter throughout the season. The Bears cut starting left tackle Charles Leno, just three days after Jenkins was drafted, but there is still no official word if Jenkins will be named the starter. The first depth chart will be released during training camp, which starts for the Bears on June 29th.

I like to say of myself, yes.

Teven Jenkins when asked if he was a quick learner
Teven Jenkins

“You know right now I’m not even worried about that,” Jenkins said regarding the starting situation. “I’m worried about actually getting in knowing my plays, knowing players, getting to know my teammates, getting my feet wet in the scheme. Doing all the techniques and everything. That’s in the back of my head right now, for me, is to develop and progress. And if it comes to that, you know that’s what happens. That’s what I’m here to do. But at the end of the day, I’m just right now trying to learn everything I can and just absorb all the information.”

Jenkins spent his four seasons at Oklahoma State alternating between left and right tackle, usually depending on the injury report of the rest of the offensive line. “I was a right side tackle all my life, even through peewee football. I was right guard, right tackle, right defensive end,  but going into college that’s where I made that jump where I need to be more flexible, being able to let my coach put the best five on the field,” Jenkins said.

“I think everybody on our team should be striving for a starting job. And if you’re not, then there’s no reason for you to be here.

-Justin Fields

Jenkins may be expected to start primarily due to a dimmer lack of competition. But Fields has to compete with two other experienced and respectable quarterbacks; Andy Dalton, who started almost every game in his nine seasons with the Bengals, and Nick Foles, who’s won a super bowl and tied the NFL record record with seven touchdown passes in one game. Nagy has told everyone in the locker room that Dalton will be the week one starter. Fields may be the future, but whether he will start as a rookie or stay on the bench and develop remains to be seen.

Justin Fields

“He’s [Dalton] essentially like a rookie as well. So he’s gonna get a good amount of reps on the front end,” said Nagy regarding the quarterback controversy. “And then with Justin and Nick, we’re gonna work through that whole process and discuss it with those guys and really just let those guys, I think the way you all can look at this for us, moving forward here the next several weeks, is there’s going to be a lot of class on the grass and mental for these guys. So we’ll try to do some breaking the huddle,  learning some different tempos that we have. And the mechanics of that without doing a whole lot physically, so that the next several weeks will be very mental and reps will be included there so we’re going to put that all together here tonight and make sure we’re ready to rock and roll tomorrow.”