The last five weeks of the preseason were focused on establishing a standard based on coach Matt Eberflus' HITS principle, which stands for hustle, intensity, takeaways and (playing) smart. "I didn't buy in right away," cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. "It was just something that I wasn't familiar with, something I wasn't used to doing. ... I'm definitely used to it now. It's natural. It's what the expectation is."
As the Bears began a culture shift during training camp with a new front office, new coaching staff and a host of new personnel, the team found itself having to sort out issues with players from the previous regime. Veteran pass-rusher Robert Quinn said he expects to remain with the Bears after skipping the entire offseason program. Second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins went from the subject of trade talks to projected opening day starter at right guard. And after failing to agree on a new deal and demanding a trade, linebacker Roquan Smith decided to play out the final year of his contract.
Those are among the storylines as Chicago tries to figure out how to build the best roster around 23-year-old quarterback Justin Fields.
The roster will be cut to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Here is a projection.
Chicago's new offense aims to play to Fields' strengths by implementing a heavy dose of play-action and designed rollouts while trying to capitalize on his arm strength, but the second-year QB will have to work through the growing pains that come with learning a new scheme. And if he's going to make that second-year jump, it will be without significant additions to the skill players around him. Fields struggled as a rookie as the Bears finished 6-11.