There's something fitting about having to dig out a sweater for the Chicago Bears first padded practice of Training Camp.
Sure, it's supposed to be the dead of summer and a long sleeve shirt and a sweater should be a heat stroke waiting to happen, but if the sounds and sights are what we've become accustomed to seeing in the fall, it's alright that the weather matches.
The offseasons seem to get lengthier and lengthier as we long for football more and more, so to be transported straight to fall and football in July is a welcomed retreat. In terms of what we actually saw, it's all rather inconsequential.
At this stage of camp, there's not a lot to "see" in reality. Because it's still technically football, we ooh and we ahh as pads pop and as the balls drop, but really we're just here to set the mood. It's an appetizer to Sunday afternoons and evenings (bonus points for Monday nights) in the fall and winter.
For Chicago Bears fans and any fans of any other team with a new coaching staff, I suppose it's not entirely meaningless. We're all getting an opportunity to start shaping a perception of Marc Trestman that we'll all most likely take to our graves. Slowly but surely, folks are lining up on either side of an imaginary line that separates genius and nonsense spewing football nerd.
We paid special attention to the tempo of practice because everyone told us to, and as everything in the world speeds up, our football is speeding up, too. We want fast, we expect fast, we've been told to expect fast and now we're getting fast.
Whether or not we're getting good is still weeks and months from being determined.
Individually, we single out players who are already stars and people who we think could eventually be stars. We try as quickly as we can to identify those who are overrated and those who are underrated ... those who will battle for a roster spot and those who are simply cannon fodder.
The reality of the situation is that we aren't even close to being able to form a reasonable opinion on anyone who truly lies on the fringe of that argument. We'll get a better idea over the course of training camp, and there's certainly value in that, but, for now, the sample size is simply too small.
I don't mean that as if to say that we're all wasting our time by paying attention to training camp, because we're not. It's a ton of fun, it's free and it sets the tone for a game and a team that we all hold dear to our hearts.
Over the course of the next few weeks, it'll provide us with storylines that begin to bring the team itself to life, and by the time the ball leaves the tee signaling the start of a game that matters, the 2013 Chicago Bears will already be a living, breathing thing with its own weight among millions of Bears fan in Chicago and around the world.
Right now, however, it's important not to put too much stock into who has a bad day and who has a great one. J'Marcus Webb is no more terrible today for getting beaten on by Corey Wootton than he was yesterday. Marquess Wilson is no more of a star.
Today was more a state of mind than anything.
It was a cool breeze, a sweater to keep warm and the cracks and pangs of football. It was a summer day that desperately wanted to be fall.
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Filed under: Training Camp