Attention: Kickers still needed as Chicago Bears open camp

Eddy Pineiro will be perhaps the most scrutinized player in training camp. Patrick Gorsk/USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears open training camp on July 26 at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:

Are the Bears any closer to finding a kicker?

Umm ... no. The Bears held kicker auditions throughout the entire offseason program -- at one point hosting nine kickers during rookie minicamp. After the dust settled, the Bears had two kickers under contract at the end of June: Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry. But neither Pineiro nor Fry is assured of anything. The Bears could attempt to trade and sign a veteran, or scan the waiver wire for kicker help when cuts are made. Who ever thought replacing Cody Parkey (eight misses last year) would be so difficult?

Is Mitchell Trubisky a legitimate MVP candidate?

Let’s slow down here. Trubisky’s odds to win the MVP improved dramatically this month in Vegas, but that seems unrealistic. Trubisky had a good year under Matt Nagy in 2018. The former second overall pick is a tremendous athlete with a good enough arm to make all the throws. But Trubisky still has areas to improve -- specifically seeing the entire field. Nagy is an excellent asset for Trubisky, who from an intangibles standpoint, is better positioned to be a playoff-caliber NFL starting quarterback than Jay Cutler ever was. But putting Trubisky on the same playing field as say Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees seems awfully premature.

Will the defense regress under Chuck Pagano?

The Bears' defense under Vic Fangio played at a historic level last season. Chicago ranked No. 1 in total takeaways (36), interceptions (27), interception returns for touchdowns (five), lowest passer rating (72.9), fewest rushing touchdowns (five), fewest rushing yards allowed per game (80.0) and fewest first downs allowed (278). Can it play better? Pagano is a respected former head coach, but Fangio pushed all the right buttons. Fangio will be missed.