Just as quickly as they arrived, the Chicago Bears have packed their bags and retreated to their northerly quarters with another training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in the books.
On Saturday, during the final public practice of camp, the Bears saw 9,141 fans come to practice — the most since 2007, their camp after reaching the Super Bowl. The number eclipsed the 8,000-plus fans who showed up for the first day of camp this summer.
“I want to personally thank all the fans for coming out here,” Nagy said after Saturday’s practice. “The first day we were out here and now the last day, it’s surreal, and we appreciate that.”
Saturday was also the first practice after Thursday’s preseason opener, a 23-13 home loss to the Carolina Panthers. While the final score is not the highest priority in preseason games, Nagy did find a number that was a bit troubling to — penalties.
The Bears had eight penalties for 58 yards, and the Panthers lost just 31 yards on four penalties.
“Too many penalties, but that’s the preseason normally,” Nagy said. “The biggest thing is taking what we did wrong in the first game and try to make sure we don’t have the same mistakes in the second game.”
One positive that stood out from a team perspective for Nagy and his staff was the Bears’ physicality and tackling. Although they went light on going full-speed during camp, many defenders displayed the ability to bring players down in the open field.
“I thought we tackled well, all things considered,” Nagy said. “We didn’t do a whole bunch of live [action] this camp, but the times we were out there, guys in one-on-one tackles in open space did very well.”
While Saturday’s practice gave fans plenty of thrills and excitement, Sunday’s closed practice featured some of the highest intensity levels seen at a training camp under Nagy in his second camp with the Bears.
But for Nagy, on the last day of a grueling three-week schedule, a little bit of that is to be expected, and he was glad to see nothing escalate too much.
“We got a little testy there today, but if the guys aren’t getting testy after banging heads every play, all the time, it’s inevitable,” Nagy said. “They’re competitive players that want to do well, so when you have that, there’s usually some stuff going on.
“We didn’t have that, so that’s a credit to our high-character guys.”
And that intense feeling around camp Sunday wasn’t limited to the players. Coaches, including Nagy himself, found it necessary to raise their voice levels and up the intensity with the team.
But again, Nagy doesn’t see much of an issue with that.
“When you have a bunch of high-character people, they can handle that,” Nagy said. “If you have a bunch of bad people, or turds, you don’t.
“We don’t have turds on this team.”
The Bears leave Bourbonnais to return to their Halas Hall headquarters, a facility that received upgrades and expansion while the team was away.
“Going back to a new facility, there’s parts we haven’t even seen yet, so that will be good,” Nagy said. “Just being at home and knowing where we’re at, I think getting back in a normal routine will be good.”
New safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who is to the Bears secondary what the expansion is to Halas Hall, can’t wait to make the new parts of the building look like the old parts.
“I’m excited about it,” Clinton-Dix said of the return north. “They have a new facility over there that’s brand-spanking new, and I’m excited to get out and tear it up a little bit.”