The Bears concluded their three-day minicamp and nine-week offseason program Thursday and will now have six weeks off before training camp begins July 19.
“They’ve done a great job,” said coach Matt Nagy. “We had a good team meeting this morning to let them know how well they did. Throughout this time they grew, we grew in all three phases. Now we get to get to the fun part of training camp and grow even more as a team.”
The offseason program began April 3 and consisted of three phases. It included strength and conditioning work, classroom sessions, 10 OTA practices and three-day minicamps for veterans in April, rookies in May and the entire team this week.
“It’s been great,” Nagy said. “That’s been the message. There really wasn’t a day where you look back and say, ‘Man, that was pretty bad.’ There were some days that weren’t great, not perfect, but that’s expected for the most part.”
The offseason program ended Thursday with an abbreviated practice.
“Today was a mental day,” Nagy said. “We didn’t do a whole lot in regards to physical stuff, but that was the purpose. We hit a little red-zone and now the guys are off.”
Before the players departed Halas Hall, Nagy urged them to build on the hard work they did the past nine weeks, likening the team’s growth to an addition that’s being constructed at Halas Hall.
“Really the biggest message for them was that they’ve invested a lot of time and energy into getting to this point,” he said. “I keep referring back to this building that’s going up here to the right of me and how each and every day this building keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s growing more and more. There’s a foundation.
“That’s what we’re doing as a team. We’re now through the foundation part. They’re seeing now all that’s invested. So don’t waste it now over the next five weeks. You’ve been working out, you’ve been doing a great job in the weight room of getting stronger, faster, putting on muscle. Don’t lose that now by being lazy in these next five or six weeks. Come back here stronger than ever so that you can maintain that and get it going in training camp.”
Nagy plans on taking some time off before training camp, but football will never be too far from the first-year head coach’s mind.
“I’ll continue to work,” he said. “There’s a little bit of a break just because you’re not around the guys and the players in the building all the time, so there will be a little bit of that. But I think that’s only natural to have that. If you don’t clear yourself in your mind and you don’t get away from it for a little bit, you’ll be drained by the time they need you most. I’ll go back and have some personal time, but every day, trust me, I’ll be focused on the task at hand.
Nagy learned a lot during the offseason program, with nothing more important than what he gleaned from working closely with promising second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
“You understand the plays that he does well and the plays that he’s not comfortable with,” Nagy said. “The ones that he doesn’t feel as comfortable with or maybe has struggled with, we’ll re-evaluate and try to figure out—is it a coverage, is it a certain route that someone’s not running the right way—and then we’ll try to piece that together once the season comes.
“The beauty of training camp is you’re back at the lab. You can go back and see what works, what doesn’t work. The pace is a little faster because of the rules. Then we’ll test it in the preseason, too, and see what sticks.”
Prime Photos: 2018 Offseason
Bears photographer Jacob Funk selected his best pictures from throughout the 2018 offseason practices at Halas Hall.
Chicago Bears players and coaches on the field for Day 1 of Voluntary Vet Mini Camp at Halas Hall, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Lake Forest, Illinois.
The Bears on Thursday signed linebackers Josh Woods and Kasim Edebali and waived receiver Shaq Roland and defensive back Tyrin Holloway.
Woods played safety at Maryland, appearing in 10 games with nine starts last season and recording 62 tackles, two interceptions, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and four pass breakups.
Edebali played in all 16 games with the Saints for three straight seasons from 2014-16 before appearing in nine contests with the Broncos and four games with the Lions last year. He has registered 55 tackles and eight sacks.