The Chicago Bears have an important training camp ahead of them in preparation for the 2021 season, after a pivotal offseason. When does it start, where will it be held, and are fans allowed to attend?
With phase 3 of the 2021 NFL offseason set to wrap up on June 18th, teams are already looking forward to training camp. It is by far the most grueling and pivotal part of a team’s preparations.
Training camps often include busy days for players and coaches, sometimes with 2 practices a day, weight training, team meetings, and film sessions.
Per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), no contact is permitted during the first 3 days of camp. Days 4 and 5 will see players at full speed in light equipment called “spiders and shells”, day 6 is a mandatory day off, and finally fully-padded practices start on the 7th day.
Along with the strenuous schedule, full-speed practices mean that both contact and non-contact injuries are very common. Regardless, training camp is mandatory for all players unlike OTAs which are voluntary. If a player doesn’t show up, they risk getting cut by their team.
When Does Training Camp Start for the Chicago Bears?
For the first time in NFL history, there will be a unified start for training camp. 29 franchises, including the Bears, will kickoff their training camps on Tuesday, July 27th.
The Cowboys and Steelers, who will play in the preseason Hall of Fame game, are allowed to begin training camp as early as July 21st. The Buccaneers will also be allowed to start training camp 3 days earlier on the 24th, as they play the season opener against Dallas on a Thursday night.
For the first time, the NFL will have a unified start to training camp, with 29 teams set to report Tuesday, July 27 — 47 days before the Sunday of Week 1, as allowed by the CBA — and plans for league-wide practices and fan events Saturday, July 31.
Midsummer Madness, anyone?
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 25, 2021
The #Cowboys and #Steelers can report as early as July 21 because of the hall of fame game. The #Bucs can report July 24 because of a Thursday opener. Players from the other 29 teams are required to report July 27, per the CBA.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 25, 2021
Where is the Chicago Bears Camp Being Held?
Normally, NFL teams are permitted to hold training camp at outside facilities to improve accessibility for fans, However last year, due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, teams were instructed to conduct camp at their own training facilities.
With the situation looking a little more optimistic, the league has informed teams they can return to outside facilities, should they choose to do so.
After an offseason that saw an incredible amount of change for the Bears, one thing will stay the same. The Bears will be back at Halas Hall in Lake Forest for training camp after shifting there a year ago.
Following a series of renovations, the Bears moved away Bourbonnais last year to utilize the new state of the art facility at Halas Hall and will do so again.
Chicago Bears Training Camp Roster: Key Position Battles to Watch
As usual, teams will start camp with 90-man rosters. They must cut down to 85 players by August 17th and to 80 by August 24th, before settling on a final 53-man roster by August 31st.
The Bears offseason was largely defined by their decision to trade up in the draft to pick up Justin Fields. After a disappointing stint with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, the Bears knew they needed an upgrade at quarterback.
They signed Andy Dalton, but there was no way they did that with the intention of making him their franchise quarterback. So, when they had the opportunity to land Justin Fields, Chicago jumped on. Now, the biggest position battle during training camp will be at the game’s most important position.
Head Coach Matt Nagy has reiterated that Andy Dalton will be starting on day one, but a strong showing Training Camp could shift the needle towards Fields. After all, he will take over at some point during the season inevitably. How soon he does is completely dependent on his play in training camp.
Another interesting position battle to look out for is in the receiver slot. The Bears signed speedsters Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin while drafting Dazz Newsome too. Don’t forget that Anthony Miller still occupies a roster spot too. So, which one or two of these four receivers will be starting come gameday? It’s anyone’s guess right now.
The Bears also have to figure out the offensive line and running back room. The offensive line is going through serious overhaul with several draft picks in the mix for the starting role. Meanwhile, while David Montgomery is set to be the lead back, who’s running behind him?
Tarik Cohen is back, but the Bears also added Damien Williams in free agency and the electric Kahlil Herbert in the draft. There are a lot of carries to go around between these three.
Finally, the Bears will also need to address several questions at cornerback. Following Kyle Fuller’s departure, there is no clear cut starting cornerback. Second year player Jaylon Johnson had an up and down year last season. He defended an incredible 15 passes. However, he also gave up a passer rating of 107.5
The Bears added Desmond Trufant and have Duke Shelley and Artie Burns too. However, none of them played particularly well last season. The Bears did pick up Thomas Graham Jr. in the draft too. Overall, this group of corners is very volatile.
There’s no clear CB1 to lockdown opposing receivers. Thus, all of them are set to compete for a starting roster spot come July.
Will Fans Be Allowed to Attend Vikings Training Camp?
The NFL is planning to have fans at all training camps, with fan events scheduled to start on July 31st. The Bears are also set to host fans for training camp, but it is unclear how many.
While the shift from Olivet Nazarene University at Bourbonnais was good for the team in terms of training facilities, it was worse from a fan perspective. Halas Hall is a much smaller venue when it comes to accommodating fans, and so it’s definitely set to be more to difficult to watch Training Camp than it has been in the past for Bears fans.
Chicago still hasn’t made their official policy on fan attendance clear, so there is a chance they could only allow season ticket holders to attend or perhaps they expand parking altogether and find a way to fit as many people as they were used to doing. This policy should become much clearer in the upcoming month as training camp approaches.