Minicamps in the NFL are an extension of spring organized team activities with similar practice scripts, tempo and competitive periods that are tough to evaluate without the players finishing through in pads.
However, from the perspective of the Bears, each practice session last week at Halas Hall during the club's mandatory three-day camp provided an opportunity for coordinator Mel Tucker's defense to drill technique, work their core schemes and install pressure packages versus Jay Cutler and the No. 1 offense.
With newly-acquired veteran personnel expected to play key roles this season, and some rookies getting quality reps with the starters, the Bears continued to build their playbook on the defensive side of the ball.
But did the Bears minicamp provide any insight as the team now closes the doors for a quick summer break until training camp practices begin July 25?
Here's what I saw on the field with a focus on defensive personnel:
•During competitive team periods, the Bears did show their standard double A gap look (two linebackers aligned in the gaps next to the center) out of their nickel sub-package that allows Tucker's defense to bring interior pressure or drop into a two-deep shell.
After watching Shea McClellin's pre-snap movement in practice, I expect the Bears to utilize the former defensive end in a variety of pressure schemes.
As an off-the-ball linebacker, McClellin can add to the blitz front (both zone and man stunts) or display his athletic ability from multiple alignments on the field as an underneath defender.
I'm curious to see if McClellin has improved his overall technique at the point of attack as a pass rusher in a key area that must improve.
•Free safety Brock Vereen ran with the first unit and I liked the rookie's footwork and balance in the middle of the field.
The fourth-round pick out of Minnesota has 4.4 speed, but I was more focused on his transition from his pedal and the angles he could create to the ball in a practice setting.
Could he identify routes, keep his shoulders square to the quarterback, generate a downhill, 45-degree angle on the throw and show the patience to play somewhat under control as a rookie when competing versus the first team offense?
Vereen isn't game-ready yet, but he does have a skill set that should allow him to compete with M.D. Jennings and Chris Conte during camp.
As defensive backs coach Jon Hoke told me after practice, the Bears wanted to see how Vereen handled the competition versus the starting offense.
"Sometimes when you go in there with the ones, it gets a little big," Hoke said. "He has handled it well. He's a very disciplined, very serious player, very intense on the field."
Depth charts can change often during training camp based on the grades from exhibition games, but the reps Vereen got this spring with the first-team defense are an indication the Bears see some real potential in the fourth rounder.
•A player to keep an eye on during camp and throughout the early exhibitions is rookie free agent linebacker Christian Jones out of Florida State.
At 6 foot 3, 240 pounds, Jones has that rangy, athletic ability special teams coaches dream of when looking for impact rookies who can contribute and make plays on all four core return units.
Watching Jones during special teams drills, he has the speed, length and change of direction ability to compete in the kicking game, but his technique must improve (angles, hands, etc.) for him to earn a roster spot.
Jones carried a high grade into the start of the 2013, but a failed drug test at the NFL scouting combine knocked him off draft boards across the league.
Could the Bears have found a steal here? Let's see how he performs when the film is rolling during exhibitions.
•Veteran Ryan Mundy doesn't have to play at a Pro Bowl level for the defense to be productive in 2014, but he should be viewed as an upgrade over the departed Major Wright at strong safety.
Mundy looks the part of a safety who has played a lot of football with his eye discipline, patience in off-man coverage and his entry points into the run front.
A very smooth player with some size at the position (6-1, 209), Mundy can take on a leadership role after working in a similar system under Giants' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell last year.
Mundy can provide some stability to the Bears at safety because of his experience. That shows in his practice habits during individual drills and in competitive team settings.
The Bears spent some money to rebuild the defensive line this offseason, but don't discount the importance of having a veteran at safety who understands the game and plays with the proper technique to fit in the scheme.
Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.