6 things we want to see on ‘Hard Knocks’ with the Chicago Bears

On Thursday, the NFL announced that for the first time in the team’s storied history, the Chicago Bears will be featured on the upcoming season of “Hard Knocks.” The popular HBO series that has taken teams inside NFL training camps for almost 20 seasons will now come to Chicago, as the Bears begin a new era with Caleb Williams.

Obviously Williams will be a focal point, and we will get to that in a moment, but the news got us thinking: What are the storylines we are most interested in seeing this summer on “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Chicago Bears”?

Here is what we came up with.

The rookie talent show

Some of the best moments on “Hard Knocks” over the years have been the annual “rookie talent shows” that are a feature of NFL training camp. We’ve seen this from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Baltimore Ravens, and who can forget this moment from the Detroit Lions, with Aidan Hutchinson doing his own version of “Billie Jean:”

Ok Bears rookies, you’re going to be up soon.

D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, and Rome Odunze

Earlier this offseason the Bears upgraded their wide receiver room by adding veteran Keenan Allen.

They then drafted Rome Odunze out of Washington with the ninth-overall selection.

Those two additions join D.J. Moore in what looks to be, on paper, a very talented wide receiver trio. How do those three players mesh? Do Moore and Allen take the rookie under their wing? Does Allen provide some more incredible content, as he did a few seasons ago when he poked fun at Russell Wilson’s “Let’s Ride” video?

Cameras will obviously be trained on Williams — again, we will get to that in a moment — but hopefully HBO has a few cameras following these receivers around.

Position battles

While the Bears did a fantastic job at adding talent this offseason, that has created a few position battles worth watching on “Hard Knocks.” We can start on the defensive side of the ball, where one such battle is on the edge opposite Montez Sweat. Chicago added rookie Austin Booker out of Kansas in the fifth round, and he will likely be fighting for time against veteran DeMarcus Walker.

On the offensive side of the ball there are a few intriguing camp battles to monitor. Williams is slotted in as the starting quarterback, but who wins the QB2 battle among Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien, and Austin Reed? What about left tackle, where incumbent starter Braxton Jones could face a challenge from rookie third-round pick Kiran Amegadjie? And who will be snapping the ball to Williams, as the Bears added two new centers in Ryan Bates and Coleman Shelton?

Finally there is depth behind the above WR trio. Tyler Scott, Dante Pettis, and Velus Jones Jr. will all be battling for playing time, and perhaps roster spots.

Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus

In the minds of many, General Manager Ryan Poles did a fantastic job adding talent to the roster.

Now it is up to Matt Eberflus to get the most out of that roster.

Eberflus begins the year on the hot seat, as many believed his 10-24 record over the past two years in Chicago was not good enough to earn a third season in the Windy City. But Eberflus is back, albeit likely with the seat rather warm under him as the year begins. We might get our first looks at just how warm that seat is this summer on “Hard Knocks.”

The Hall of Fame Game

The Chicago Bears will head to Canton later this summer to take on the Houston Texans in the Hall of Fame Game, the annual start to the preseason slate.

A few days later three beloved members of their organization — Devin Hester, Steve McMichael, and Julius Peppers — will be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That should make for some incredible television.

The Caleb Williams Show

Let’s face it.

Quarterbacks move the needle.

Especially when they were the first-overall selection.

This will be the first time that “Hard Knocks” follows a rookie QB picked first overall since 2018, when the HBO series followed Baker Mayfield as he entered the league with the Cleveland Browns. However, the Browns were coming off an 0-16 season, and expectations were extremely low heading into the year.

As for the Bears, they finished 7-10 a season ago and with Williams — along with all the other additions — there are some who believe Chicago could make a playoff push.

Seeing the rookie acclimate to life in the NFL, and handle those expectations, will be fascinating to watch.

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