While just preseason, Bears enter first game week

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Bears running back Ka'Deem Carey tries to break free of a tackle during the Bears' Family Fest practice at Soldier Field on August 8th.

CHICAGO – He didn’t say that he was playing some Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah while making the drive, but it would have been appropriate.

For the first time John Fox made the journey via car towards Chicago’s football stadium. At some point he made his way down Lake Shore Drive-hence the song reference-and then inside Soldier Field.

“It was interesting,” said Fox who made the journey from Bourbonnais for the first time since become the head coach of the Bears. “Getting to the stadium today, driving my own car. Not on a bus.”

It was basically like a gameday-sorta.

This was the Bears’ Family Fest taking place on a Saturday morning and afternoon. There was no three-and-a-half hour game like Fox will be more accustomed to when he arrives at Soldier Field in the future.

It was a 36-play look at what his first Bears team looks like at the moment.

“It was a good trial run for everybody,” said Fox of the practice session. “For some new players as well as the coaches.”

In a few days, it gets a little better. Fox along with the rest of the team will head back north from Bourbonnais on Thursday to take part in a game against another team for four 15-minute quarters.

It’s a real game. We’ll sorta.

The opening preseason game against the Dolphins will only feature the starters for a handful of series at most and be more of a showcase for the backups to try to win one of the few spots at the back of the roster.

But nonetheless it’s a bit of a game week that greets the team for the first time in 2015. The team has a pair of practices on Monday and Tuesday before doing their usual game prep on Wednesday before the preseason opener Thursday.

In many ways that contest will be like the one held at Soldier Field in the context of evaluation. Thursday just give him and the coaching staff a better chance to sort out their roster before game day.

“This was a 36-play scrimmage so we’ve got four preseason games to get a chance to look,” said Fox. “Evaluate and make a 53-man decisions and hopefully getting better in all three phases.”

Each one of them needs help if you look back a year ago. How will Jay Cutler and the offense do in Adam Gase’s system? Can the 3-4 be the trick for the defense-especially as a number of defensive ends turn into linebackers?

No better time to find out than under the lights of Soldier Field. It’s a place Fox has seen on gameday a few times in his career but it’s different now that he comes in as the home coach.

“We’ve got great fans and it’s a great stadium,” said Fox. “It’s a smaller venue, the people are right on you, so I’m really excited about it.”

Thursday is his first chance to do so with the lights on and a real game being played.


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