As he has for the past several seasons, Bears chairman George H. McCaskey joined Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer in the radio booth for the fourth quarter of the team's final preseason game to wrap up the preseason and look ahead to the regular season.
McCaskey, who took over the role of chairman from his brother Michael McCaskey in 2011, noted that overall he's happy with how the preseason went, emphasizing that avoiding injuries was the chief concern.
"[We wanted to] stay healthy, get the work in, get ready to roll on Sept. 9 when the regular season starts and make sure that the players are buying into the system, both from a philosophy standpoint and an execution standpoint," McCaskey said.
As chairman, McCaskey has always maintained a close relationship with the fan base and appreciates how devoted fans have been over the past few seasons.
Asked about the mentality of the fan base going into the season, McCaskey shot straight.
"I would say cautious optimism," McCaskey said. "Let's face it, we've struggled the last three, four years, and we've really tested the patience of our fans, but they've stuck with us. I think they see that we're on the rise now. … And we're looking for big things from the Bears in 2018."
Building was the theme for the Bears preseason. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is looking to build on his promising showing in his rookie campaign from last season, and first-year coach Matt Nagy is looking to begin to build his resume as a head coach in the league.
McCaskey is impressed by both of those building blocks.
"[Nagy] is relentlessly enthusiastic," McCaskey said. "His mantra is, 'Obsess to be the best,' and he's really carried that message forward to the players."
McCaskey had similar praise for the team's quarterback.
"Mitch has been a gym rat," he said. "In the building all day, every day, the entire offseason. And being a real leader showing that work ethic."
Meanwhile, at Halas Hall, there is building going on all around, too. The organization is in the midst of a major renovation to its Lake Forest practice facility, including a new building for football operations and two new practice fields.
"I think it's important to show your commitment to winning," McCaskey said. "We want to provide the best resources possible so that our guys can play at top performance."
The project is expected to be finished by next spring. As for this fall, the team's chairman believes that fans will begin to get a glimpse of the finished project constructed by all the building blocks.