By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — No one will be welcoming Friday’s first training camp practice more than Marc Trestman and Phil Emery.
When a kicker currently on the final year of a six-year, $15 million contract is talking about playing to feed his family, it’s time to get on the field and start working toward “growing our football”, as Trestman would say.
Robbie Gould’s comments the last few days have been surprising only because he said them. He knows there is no money and he’s smart enough to realize that if Emery were to push the cap number even further right before the start of training camp by renegotiating with a current player, the kicker wouldn’t be the top priority. Maybe Gould feels like he is standing up on behalf of all 43 players who are entering the final year of their respective contracts, but it just seems a little pointless because Emery has made it very clear that nothing is going to change.
To be honest, Gould should probably be careful. The Bears can’t be happy with his comments the last couple of days and this comes less than a year after the kicker had to issue a statement to apologize for criticizing the Soldier Field playing turf. He’s coming off a significant injury and they brought in competition at the position with Austin Signor. If Signor proves to be good enough to kick on Sundays things could get interesting.
Do you know one way Emery could gain some cap space? By cutting the kicker who will be making close to $3 million this year if his roster bonus kicks in.
Overall, there just seems to be a little more nervousness around Bourbonnais this year and it’s understandable with a new coach. Players fell into a comfortable routine with Lovie Smith, but you can argue that they maybe got too comfortable and that contributed to the organization going in a different direction.
Safety Chris Conte talked the other day about Trestman bringing a needed new mentality to the offense. On that side the ball, it seems like most of the players are buying in, but they didn’t really have a choice considering their struggles last year. What’s interesting is that Jay Cutler admitted Wednesday that not all the players have bought in to the new coaching staff. Again, this is only surprising because he said it. Anyone thinking every single player on the team would arrive to training camp completely sold on Trestman is very naive.
But while no one on the defense will admit it, it’s pretty obvious that the players who have not bought in are living on that side of the football. Down the road — and maybe it has started already — that could lead to a schism between the offense and defense. If that’s the case, we’ll see it manifest itself on the practice field pretty quickly, especially when the pads come on.
Keep your seatbelt fastened, Bears fans.
Asking For Extensions
While Gould reached out to the Bears about an extension two weeks ago, cornerback Tim Jennings did not. I asked Jennings if he talked to the Bears in the offseason about an extension and he simply said, “No. Not my style.”
– Here’s more on what Robbie Gould said Thursday about his current contract situation.
– Devin Hester said he was “cheetah fast” during Thursday’s conditioning test. The reports back from the players were inconsistent, but word is that no one significant failed the test.
– Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis did not report to camp and instead was placed on the reserve/retired list. The Bears wasted no time filling the roster spot, signing defensive end Jamaal Anderson later in the day. This is a significant blow to the depth on the inside of the line though. Ellis appeared to be a great fit with the Bears at a position where they needed some depth. Anderson was a beast at Arkansas in college, but has never played at that level in the NFL.
The Bears hit the practice field at Olivet Nazarene University for the first time at 9 a.m. Practice is open to the public. If you are planning on attending, you can arrive by 9:20 and not miss anything significant. It is overcast this morning in Bourbonnais and there is rain in the area so plan accordingly.
After practice, the team will break for lunch and then go through meetings for the rest of the day.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.