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It’s early but Bears coach Lovie Smith likes his team

Updated: June 15, 2012 12:51PM

The offseason had ended, at least as far as Bears players and coaches working out together is concerned. The next time we’ll see these Bears is during training camp in Bourbonnais.

“We have seen some good football teams around here,” coach Lovie Smith said. “Last year’s team was pretty good when we were 7-3 before the injuries hit us. We have added some more good football players to that core, so we’re feeling pretty good about our group. I can’t wait to get down to training camp.”

Not only have the Bears added more front-line weapons such as receiver Brandon Marshall and running back Michael Bush, but they appear deeper than ever.

“I’d say we’re a better football team, I’m talking about the 53-man roster; even the 61-man roster with the practice squad,” Smith said. “We have some pretty good training camp battles, too, going on. I feel like we have an idea of what direction we’re going in.”

It’s impossible to evaluate offensive linemen during the offseason. That will be the most critical position to watch when players report to training camp.

“To be quite frank with you, you’re not going to tell anything about your offensive line until they put pads on,” offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. “To sit there and say, ‘Oh, yeah, this guy, he’s going to be the answer to the problems,’ that would be silly. So we just want to make sure that they’re assignment-sound, technique-sound, working their hands.

“One of the areas that we wanted to improve across the board was our hands, using our hands better, keeping the players away from us. We know we have guys that can run, so that’s going to help our running game. That’s really all we can look at right now.”

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