After completing acclimation and gradual ramp-up periods earlier this month, the Bears practiced in pads Monday for the first time since the end of last season. Here are five things we learned from the 90-minute session at Halas Hall:
(1) Decision-making will be one of the key criteria in determining the winner of the quarterback competition, and coach Matt Nagy was pleased with how both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles handled that aspect of the game Monday.
"We really look right now for the decision-making," Nagy said. "We're trying to test some things in regards to where those guys are at. I thought the decisions were good."
Neither Trubisky nor Foles threw an interception in Monday's workout.
The Bears are permitted to conduct a maximum of 14 padded practices through Sept. 6. With the entire preseason slate cancelled due to COVID-19, Nagy is in no hurry to anoint a winner of the quarterback battle.
"We are going to stretch that out as far as we possibly can," Nagy said. "There's limited reps, limited time, so we're going to maximize those numbers that we have and literally take it as far as we need to go. Both of these guys have experience in this game, and I think that's only what's fair."
(2) All-Pro kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson continues to be listed as a receiver on the roster, but the versatile playmaker practiced with the running backs Monday.
"I'm excited to see what he can do there," Nagy said. "We want to be able to get the most out of him. He's a very talented guy as you guys have seen in the past last year. We just feel like when you have weapons like that, you want to find ways to get him the ball."
Throughout the offseason, general manager Ryan Pace, Nagy and assistant coaches discussed the need to expand Patterson's role on offense this season. Last year he played just 18.9 percent of the Bears' offensive snaps, catching 11 passes for 83 yards and rushing for 103 yards on 17 carries, with a long of 46 yards.
In 2018 with the Patriots, Patterson caught 21 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 228 yards and one TD on 42 carries. He started back-to-back games at running back in place of the injured Sony Michel, rushing for 38 yards on 10 carries in a 25-6 win over the Bills and 61 yards and one TD on 11 attempts in a 31-17 victory over the Packers.
(3) Free-agent acquisition Artie Burns worked with the No. 1 defense at cornerback opposite Kyle Fuller. But that doesn't necessarily mean Burns is the favorite in a competition with Kevin Toliver and rookie second-round pick Jaylon Johnson.
"I think every day might be a little bit different as we play more and more and they start to get guys in there to get a feel for what they can do well and what they can't do well," Nagy said. "That's a very important position that we need to get right and only time will tell with reps."
Burns signed with the Bears in March after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Steelers. Selected by Pittsburgh with the 25th pick in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Miami, he appeared in 58 games with 32 starts and recorded 149 tackles, four interceptions and 27 pass breakups.
"Artie is a first-round pick and has been in this league," Nagy said. "He has experience. So just naturally for him to be able to come in here [and work with the No. 1 defense], I think that that's normal. You'll probably end up seeing more and more reps as the days and weeks go on with Jaylon because we need to evaluate."
(4) After rookie tight end Cole Kmet committed a false-start penalty, Nagy expressed confidence that the second-round pick from Notre Dame will learn from his mistake.
"You could hear everybody on the sideline razzing him a little bit," Nagy said. "That's what practice is all about. Cole's not going to be fazed by it. He'll tell you, 'Hey, I made a mistake, next time I won't jump offsides or I won't false start.' As a coach, one of the things we like to look for is not making the same mistake twice and being able to re-focus your attention to making a good play. I know that he'll do that."
(5) Veteran outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who signed with the Bears in March as a free agent, did not participate in team drills.
Nagy revealed that will Quinn will be eased back into action after having to contend with a personal issue.
"He dealt with that and now we're kind of back to physically just making sure we're smart in regards to how we handle him as a vet," Nagy said.
Quinn has recorded 80.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons, including a team-leading 11.5 sacks last year with the Cowboys.
"He's been playing this game for a long time and we want to just make sure that we do it the right way," Nagy said. "That's just kind of the plan that we're on right now. It's nothing for us that's concerning. We just want to take our time with it."
Safety and special-teams standout Sherrick McManis also didn't participate in team drills due to a minor shoulder injury.