Last week, the NFL selected the Chicago Bears to serve as this year’s team on Hard Knocks.

Hard Knocks is a television series produced by NFL Films and HBO that began airing in 2001. The series typically follows an NFL team through its training camp. The show offers personal and professional insight into the lives of players, coaches, and staff, including their families, position battles, and jokes and pranks.

Specifically, the show focuses on rookies‘ adjustments to playing in the NFL, usually emphasizing the team’s most recent top pick. Also, it usually chooses to focus on undrafted and journeyman players who are attempting to make the team.


This will be the Bears’ first appearance on the show, which is set to premiere on August 6th.

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Camera Ready

The Bears should be ready for the cameras. Caleb Williams has been in the limelight since he was 18. Being a Heisman winner and the face of college football, Williams is definitely prepared for more camera time. 

Rome Odunze has played on the biggest stages. His ability to handle the pressure and have a national championship performance like he had is remarkable. 

Keenan Allen is coming from Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world. Allen is a Hard Knocks veteran now after he appeared in the 2020 edition with the Chargers.

Fans worried about how a player may come off on camera should be fine this season, knowing our leaders have what it takes to keep everyone focused on the bigger picture.


Storylines

There will undoubtedly be plenty of storylines to follow along this preseason, most notably, the new offense. The Bears will rely upon new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to lead this stacked offense consisting of Williams, D.J. Moore, Allen, Odunze, D’Andre Swift, and Cole Kmet and see how the offense gels may be the most important team-oriented storyline. Some personal storylines we should have access to include Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze’s transition to the NFL. 

It would be surprising if Keenan Allen’s contract was not mentioned. He has already been fielding questions about his expiring deal from Chicago media, however he claims to be “not sweating it.” If an extension occurs this preseason, Hard Knocks will definitely highlight it.

One of the more fascinating parts of Hard Knocks is the UDFAs the characters follow as they try to make the NFL roster. 

One name to watch should be receiver John Jackson III. Jackson played with Williams at USC before transferring to Nevada. It has been noted that Jackson and Williams are very good friends, and it appears that he has had a great off-season so far. Originally, Jackson was offered a minicamp invite where he showed out and eventually earned a spot on the team for this training camp. If he continues to impress, it would not be shocking if he makes the active roster.


Similar Hard Knocks Seasons

Looking back at its history, the two most comparable situations in which the Bears appeared on Hard Knocks were the Cleveland Browns (2018) and the Los Angeles Rams (2016). 

The biggest similarity between the Browns team and the current Bears is they both showcase #1 overall pick rookie quarterbacks. In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma. Similar to Williams, Mayfield was an elite prospect courtesy of Lincoln Riley. Coming out of college, Mayfield was just as if not more polarizing than Williams. Everyone had an opinion on Mayfield, and the NFL capitalized on that by making him the star of Hard Knocks that season. Mayfield turned around the Browns, winning 7 games as a rookie. This may not be notable until you realize he entered an organization that was coming off a 0-16 season. Some other notable players from this season included Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Myles Garrett.

The other team drawing comparisons to this Bears squad is the 2016 Rams. The most significant similarity here is, again, a #1 overall rookie quarterback. Jared Goff entered the NFL with much less hype and anticipation than normal top picks, but he was #1 for a reason. On Hard Knocks, we witnessed Goff beat out veteran Nick Foles for the quarterback role. Also, the team’s move from St. Louis to Los Angeles was heavily featured this season. Unfortunately, Goff’s rookie season saw the Rams disappoint with a 4-12 record despite a solid roster. There was no shortage of star power on a squad that included the likes of Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald.  


After appearing on Hard Knocks, only 7 of the 21 total teams have gone on to make the playoffs.


Last season, the Jets appeared on Hard Knocks with high hopes for the season. Those dreams were dashed in week one as Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles. Statistically, you could say being on Hard Knocks is a bad omen. Knock on wood that the Bears can be the 8th Hard Knocks team to make the playoffs.


As the anticipation grows for this season, Chicago fans will be treated to this sneak peek inside their new squad. Caleb Williams’s transition to the NFL will be fascinating.
The preseason Hall of Game should be featured as Bears legends Devin Hester, Steve McMichael, and Julius Peppers are being inducted.
Whether the Bears want to be featured or not, there is no doubt the amount of eyeballs on the squad will only increase with this attention.

PHOTO: Sports Mockery

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