Chicago Bears

6 storylines to monitor during Chicago Bears OTAs

Chicago Bears offseason team activities kicked off this week, and now that the team is back on the field (sort of), 2023 storylines are coming into focus.

General Manager Ryan Poles has significantly improved the Bears’ roster this offseason. He made calculated decisions in free agency and stuck to his principles in the 2023 NFL Draft. And while some position groups still need an overhaul, Poles has done as much as he can over the last few months to make this team competitive.

Here are the biggest storylines worth monitoring as the Chicago Bears kick off OTAs.

Chicago Bears

How has Justin Fields progressed?

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: no one should overreact to Fields’ passes during offseason workouts. Whether they’re pinpoint accurate or sailing over his receivers’ heads, the result of a throw isn’t nearly as important as the overall process.

Have his mechanics improved? Does he look more confident in Year 2 of Luke Getsy’s system? Has his leadership style changed at all?

Even his body composition is worth studying. Does he have more body armor this year? Has he spent time over the offseason to prepare for a critical 2023 season?

Call it a hunch, but I think these questions will be answered positively over the coming days and weeks. But you’ve been warned: plenty of sour Bears reporters will focus on the negative. Ignore them.

Chicago Bears

How does the Chicago Bears’ revamped wide receiver group look?

No position group on the Bears will have as much attention this year as the wide receivers. DJ Moore is the headliner, but Chase Claypool needs to prove he was a worthy trade target last year. With an entire offseason in Chicago, Claypool won’t have any excuses if he underwhelms.

Darnell Mooney’s role remains somewhat unsettled. He’s on the road to recovery from a fractured ankle suffered late last season, and the Bears are optimistic he’ll be 100% for training camp. But I doubt that’ll be the case in offseason workouts. His absence will be notable because it will create an opportunity for reps for rookie Tyler Scott.

Scott won’t be a threat to Mooney in 2023. But if he flashes must-play upside during his rookie season, his presence could lead to Mooney’s departure in free agency next year.

It’s a good problem for the Chicago Bears to have at wide receiver. This team has far too often fielded a misfit group of fringe-NFL wideouts. Being at least four deep with playmakers at the position is a breath of fresh air.

Chicago Bears

Are the Bears set with starters along the offensive line?

The selection of Darnell Wright in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft seemed to close the door on any training camp battles along the offensive line. The starting five appears set with Wright (RT), Nate Davis (RG), Cody Whitehair (C), Teven Jenkins (LG), and Braxton Jones (LT).

Where we could see some rep-sharing is at center. Whitehair is the clubhouse favorite, but Lucas Patrick has become a forgotten name on the Bears’ roster. He was signed in 2022 to be the starting center, but injuries derailed that plan. He’s healthy now, and perhaps Chicago still views him as a viable option.

The Chicago Bears’ offense will only go as far as the offensive line takes it. And while Jones, Jenkins, and Whitehair were starters in 2022, Jenkins and Whitehair are playing new positions in 2023, essentially giving Chicago four new starters this year.

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