We’re still a couple of weeks away from the official start of Bears training camp, but on Wednesday the team shared an official schedule, including the time for the next press conference with GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus. From there, the pace of the NFL calendar will pick up and before you know it, the regular season will be here.
Here’s what the summer has in store before Week 1. Note, NFL calendars are fluid, so some of these dates may change.
JULY 25: TRAINING CAMP REPORT DATE
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This is when all the players return to Halas Hall and get settled in before the real work begins. This is also when we’ll hear from Poles and Eberflus together for the first time since the NFL draft.
JULY 26 - AUG. 31: TRAINING CAMP
This is the meat of a team’s summer program. Players grind it out for nearly a month to earn a spot on the 53-man roster and practice intensity ramps up steadily. Between these practices and performances in the preseason games, this is where jobs will be won and jobs will be lost.
AUG. 3 - 6: HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
The league’s celebration of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees begins with a special preseason game. This year the Jets and Browns will play each other in Canton at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Thursday. There’s plenty of fanfare throughout the weekend, like a parade and a concert. Saturday’s enshrinement is the main event, of course. The Bears don’t have anyone headed to the Hall this year, but Devin Hester was a finalist for the second year in a row.
AUG. 6: BEARS FAMILY FEST
Family Fest is a yearly tradition that allows fans to watch the Bears practice at Soldier Field. In addition there are plenty of activities to enjoy, including interactive games, autograph sessions, face painting, balloon artists and inflatables for kids and adults alike. Further, there will be non-contact football drills for kids aged 7-12 to try.
AUG. 12: FIRST PRESEASON GAME VS. TITANS
This is the first measuring stick against an opponent for the Bears. The majority of play will go to the depth players to see who may emerge as a contributor, but the starters will see the field a bit, too. Last year the 1s played about 20 snaps in the preseason opener.
AUG. 16, 17: JOINT PRACTICES WITH COLTS
Players and coaches alike typically love joint practices with another team. For one, players get to line up and compete against somebody new, and somebody who isn’t a teammate. It can also answer some questions about how various position groups are really faring. For instance, if the Bears DBs are shutting down the Bears WRs in the couple weeks leading up to Indy, then the WRs go off against the Colts and the DBs continue their dominance, then the team can feel really good about their secondary and a little better about their pass catchers.
AUG. 19: SECOND PRESEASON GAME AT COLTS
This game is a big one for players trying to move up the depth chart and earn roster spots. Last season the Bears top starters played fewer than 10 snaps. To give you an idea of how these preseason games can help players, this is when Jack Sanborn started to really show what he can do. He proved his first preseason game performance with two takeaways wasn’t a fluke, by putting together a seven-tackle game, including two impressive special teams stops.
AUG. 26: THIRD PRESEASON GAME VS. BILLS
The final tune up is also likely to be the “dress rehearsal” for the Bears. In 2022, Justin Fields and the starting offensive line got 30 snaps together. The team will still likely use vanilla concepts so that the Packers don’t get a glimpse at any complex schemes the team may deploy in Week 1, but this will be the last chance for many of the starters to acclimate to game speed with live tackling.
SEPT. 7: REGULAR SEASON KICKOFF
It seems so far away now, but Week 1 always arrives in the blink of an eye. This year the Chiefs and Lions start things off in the first game of the year. The Bears begin their season a few days later against the Packers at Soldier Field.