7 Bears who impressed in the first week of training camp

The Chicago Bears have completed their first week of training camp. It featured four practices, including three in front of fans at Halas Hall. There was no shortage of stories, including rookies impressing and moving along the offensive line.

While the Bears haven’t put on the pads yet — that comes next week — there were some standout performances during the first week of practice. Whether it’s veterans looking to break out or rookies looking to make an immediate impact, there have been some encouraging performances.

Here’s a look at seven players who impressed during the first week of camp practices:

CB Kyler Gordon

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After missing a bit of the spring, rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon bounced back in a big way at the start of training camp. Gordon has shown his versatility, getting both outside and nickel looks, and has impressed in both roles. Gordon has also been a turnover machine, which includes some impressive picks from quarterback Justin Fields during the week. It’s becoming clear that Gordon will be a huge contributor for the Bears as a rookie, in whatever role that is.

They said it: “He’s just a horrible athlete. Some of the projects he does, he’s not even his man. He leaves his man, makes plays with the ball. Just seeing how very instinctive he is. Is smart. He is willing to learn. He talks less, takes everything. When you have a man like that, you know he’s going to be special.” — Secures Eddie Jackson to Gordon

S Jaquan Brisker

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Safety Jaquan Brisker continues to stand out in a huge way, and it showed during the first week of camp. Like fellow rookie Gordon, Brisker has been a package machine since joining Chicago. He just has a knack for the ball, whether it’s going for a break pass or a takeaway. His best play came during Friday’s practice, where he showed his instincts to jump a route and pick off a pass from quarterback Justin Fields that was intended for Cole Kmet. Brisker looks like he will be a problem for opposing offenses this season.

They said it: “Some guys are fast, but they don’t know how to control their bodies to make the plays. He has this great body control and you can see him adjust to the ball in the air to make a cut, adjust to the alley when the runner changes angle to slow down, speed up and maintain the inside-out angle to run the alley and make the hit. So, he has done many of these things. You can see it. It’s obvious on the tape that he has it.” — Coach Matt Eberfluss to Brisker

QB Justin Fields

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Quarterback Justin Fields is in his first training camp as the undisputed starter, and he’s already hit the ground running in Week 1. Fields impressed with his deep ball, where he connected with wide receiver Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. His release and footwork have also improved noticeably. That’s not to say Fields wasn’t without his faults, but he responded well. While Friday’s practice got off to a rough start with two cuts to rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker, Fields bounced back in a big way by finishing the team season with a 10-game hitting streak during 7-on-7.

They said it: “That’s what’s special about him. Forget the sports part. This guy, the way he attacks every day and his approach and leads by example, he doesn’t ask anyone to do anything he doesn’t expect of himself. This guy is a natural type of leader, so we’re lucky to have someone like him leading this thing.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy on Fields

WR Velus Jones Jr.

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Outside of Darnell Mooney, the big receiver is up for grabs. So it’s certainly encouraging that rookie Velous Jones Jr. is already impressing in camp. Jones has shown off his impressive 4.3 speed and playmaking ability. Jones was one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise unimpressive Saturday for the offense. He caught two deep balls from Fields, including an over-the-shoulder catch from quarterback Justin Fields against cornerback Kyler Gordon. The Bears haven’t been shy about playing him in multiple positions and trying to get him different opportunities, including on special teams.

They said it: “They move me from Z, F, X. They want me to know everything, so it’s been a lot of fun working with my QBs and stuff. But they know my abilities. They know the reason they drafted me. I’m very good with the ball in my hands. Wherever they want me to be, I’ll be there and execute.” — Wide receiver Velus Jones Jr.

WR Darnell Mooney

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We’ve heard about the connection between wide receiver Darnell Mooney and quarterback Justin Fields all season, but it was especially evident during the first week of practice. Mooney has made some impressive catches, including one Thursday when he went up and caught a pass from Fields surrounded by defensive backs. Mooney broke free for what would have been a long touchdown. Mooney was Fields’ top target this summer and continues to show why he could be in for a year.

They said it: “Darnell is an impressive guy. I love his approach. I love his attitude. I love the way he attacks in the classroom, and then on the field, he’s all business, and then he does a good job of leading these guys. He’s not like an honest guy by any means, but he does a great job of leading by example, and then he has these really good conversations with the kids and then he brings them along. He is someone we will definitely rely on this year.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy

TE Cole Kmet

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Cole Kmet could be in for a big year if these early camp practices are any indication. While we’ve heard a lot about Justin Fields’ connection with Darnell Mooney, we saw the chemistry between Fields and Kmet this week. There was one game on Friday that really stood out. Fields found Kmet down the seam for a huge gain where Kmet caught the ball between two defensive backs. It was the best play of the day and is the result of Fields and Kmet continuing to build their relationship this offseason. Kmet has been flashing in the passing game and we’ll see what he can do in run blocking when the pads come on next week.

They said it: “He can do a lot of different things. What I like about footballers more than anything else is guys who can do a lot of different things and that makes them more valuable in attack and more dangerous in defence. Cole is one of those guys who has that versatility.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy at Kmet

WR Equanimeous St. Brown

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Equanimeous St. Brown has been lost in the conversation at wide receiver. But the former Packers wideout made a strong impression in the red zone during the team’s first week of practice. On Friday, St. Brown caught three touchdowns from quarterback Justin Fields, including two during an 11-on-11 red zone drill. One of those came over rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, who has been impressing this summer. It certainly helps that St. Brown comes to Chicago with an understanding of the offense Luke Getchi runs, but he has shown his potential as a big-time threat in the red zone.

They said it: “The way he went in training camp last year, where he didn’t make the team and (a month into the season he came back), I just saw a transformation of a guy just turning into a pro and his mentality, his toughness and the way who attacked every day, I was very impressed with how he handled that adversity.” — Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy at St. Brown

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This story originally appeared on Bears Wire

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