What are the top 5 ‘Hard Knocks’ storylines with the Bears?

When the New York Giants were chosen for the debut version of a new “Hard Knocks” offseason show, the only question remaining was which NFL team would be chosen for HBO’s traditional training camp series.

Surprise, surprise … it’s the Bears.

Whether management likes it or not, the premiere episode will air Aug. 6 and focus on the exploits of the franchise through its preseason games. But what exactly will the focus entail?

This week’s High Five looks at the top potential “Hard Knocks” storylines.

5. The Defense

Low-hanging fruit is the specialty of the HBO series, so expect a lot of time spent on the defense and the unit’s tradition as Monsters of the Midway.

You’ll see old footage of former greats Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Brian Urlacher and probably comparisons between Hall of Fame defensive lineman Richard Dent and current Bears sack master Montez Sweat.

The defense — including cornerback Jaylon Johnson on the heels of his contract extension — deserves the attention after the way it stepped up in the second half of the 2023 season.

4. Simone Biles

The legendary gymnast will be busy prepping for Paris and the 2024 Olympics, but the folks at HBO won’t let her leave the continent without having her presence felt on “Hard Knocks.”

Biles is married to safety Jonathan Owens, who signed a two-year contract with the Bears in March. Biles has been a steadfast supporter of Owens, especially after he faced criticism for saying he didn’t know who Biles was at the start of their relationship.

While the Owens-Biles duo isn’t as hot as Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, HBO will surely build it up.

3. Deep dish

Again, HBO loves the low-hanging fruit.

Covering the Bears means you’ll see plenty of shots of Cloud Gate (aka The Bean), Navy Pier, skyscrapers and, of course, the food.

Expect to see Bears players eating at deep dish pizza joints and grabbing hot dogs. Watch them taking their families to the Art Institute and Grant Park.

HBO will fill us with brilliant images of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

While most of the action takes place at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, the cameras will be fixated on the landmarks in the heart of the city.

2. History

This is where Bears management will hold sway over the show.

George Halas is known as a founder of the NFL, and the Bears will want a positive light shining on him and his family. His daughter, Virginia McCaskey, is 101 years old and the matriarch of the franchise. She may not be interviewed by HBO, but she’ll be a major presence.

The entire McCaskey family will be highlighted in some way, which will give Bears’ ownership a perfect chance to pitch its new stadium plans. That’s where you’ll see team president Kevin Warren offer himself as spokesperson for the family, praising them for their dedication to bringing a world-class facility to the lakefront.

1. The rookie

When the Bears selected quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, the decision to have the Bears on “Hard Knocks” was pretty much secured.

“Hard Knocks” always focuses on the starting quarterback, and having a high-profile rookie is the ideal scenario for HBO. They’ll no doubt dredge up the long list of Bears quarterbacks since Jim McMahon, poking at the desire for the fan base to finally have their franchise guy.

While quarterback obsession is normal for the show, so are rookies. In addition to Williams, you’ll see fellow first-round pick Rome Odunze in addition to newcomers whose roster spots aren’t secure.

Making the roster or being cut, after all, is the pinnacle moment of every “Hard Knocks” season.

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