Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy spoke to the media after practice Friday at Halas Hall. Here are three things we learned from the session:
(1) Getsy feels that third-year tight end Cole Kmet is "on the brink right now of taking his game to another level."
Kmet, a 2020 second-round draft pick from Notre Dame, appears to be primed to build on last season, when he more than doubled his rookie year output with 60 receptions for 612 yards.
“I’m hopeful that by the time we get through this camp, he’s ready to be a rock star for us because we’re going to need him to be.” Bears OC Luke Getsy on TE Cole Kmet
"Cole is still young in his career and he has a lot of really cool tools," Getsy said. "I think he's starting to learn how to use them.
"You talk about a guy that we hope can do a lot of different things. We've lined him up wide. We've let him do some routes outside. We've brought him in tight. We've put him in-line and made him block the big boys up front, too, and I think the cool part about him is that he can do all of that stuff really well.
"He's got to get better at just about everything because I think he's on the brink right now of taking his game to another level. So I'm hopeful that by the time we get through this camp, he's ready to be a rock star for us because we're going to need him to be."
(2) Getsy is pleased with how Bears receivers are approaching what may be the most open competition at any position.
So far in training camp, a fierce battle for spots on the depth chart behind third-year pro Darnell Mooney has brought out the best in Bears receivers. The group includes veterans Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle and N'Keal Harry, and rookie third-round pick Velus Jones Jr., among others.
"These guys have bought into the right mindset, and the competition brings out the best in all those guys," Getsy said. "You've seen these guys working their butts off and pushing themselves and buying into the philosophy of the style of play that we're going to play. That mindset and getting nasty and getting physical is a big part of it. I've been very impressed with these guys getting after it that way. The competition part of it, I love every bit of it because it makes all of us better."
Bears receivers have taken turns stepping up.
"Everyone's kind of had a day here and there," Getsy said. "It's been fun. Velus the other day did a lot of cool things for us. 'EQ' has been doing a really nice job. Byron, all the guys. I've been really impressed with the way these guys have attacked the day. We're not good enough at any of those positions, including Mooney, so we've got a lot of work to do there. But I've been really impressed with their approach.
"We put a lot on these guys. N'Keal's come in here and he's done a great job of us being able to move him in different positions and put him in different spots. And so now with the pads on, they've got to go in and get dirty. It's part of our offense that receivers have got to get dirty. These guys have shown they're willing to do it."
The evaluation of the receivers will continue through training camp and the preseason.
"We're trying to get everybody better, and finding out what everybody does really well and then sharpening those tools as much as we can," Getsy said. "Mooney's been here the longest, so he's the easiest for everyone in this building to dial in on. But these guys have a lot of special tools and we're just trying to tap into what makes sense with what our O-line can do, what Justin [Fields] can do, all that stuff that's going to play into all that."
(3) Getsy revealed that the Bears aren't close to settling on their starting offensive line and will continue to experiment at the position.
On the No. 1 offense this week in practice, they've split time between Doug Kramer and Sam Mustipher at center, Ja'Tyre Carter and Michael Schofield at right guard and Riley Reiff and Larry Borom at right tackle.
"We're still a ways away for a lot of positions, to be honest with you, and that's one of them," Getsy said. "We've flipped guys from right to left up front and we're trying to see whatever combination makes the most sense and which guys are the most flexible for us. So we've got a lot of information still to find out.
"This has been a really good week for us, though. You talk about some guys that have stepped up and [we wonderered] how are they going to react when there are pads in the run game. That's the biggest part. I think they've done a lot of really good things."
Getsy liked how the linemen responded Friday during what many players said was the most grueling training camp practice this year.
"This was a great practice for us, too, because this was the first time we challenged them conditioning-wise," Getsy said. "We really went at it today, and I thought that was a really good thing. As we watch the film, that will be something I'm going to pay attention to to see who lost their focus and who lost their discipline and stuff when they got challenged."