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Emma: John Fox Brings New Feel For Bears' Training Camp

By Chris Emma--

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) -- One year ago, Marc Trestman and Phil Emery sat in the lobby of a rec center at Olivet Nazarene University and addressed Super Bowl expectations for the 2014 Bears.

The now-former head coach and general manager were strong in their sentiments.

"We're not going to apologize or it, that's our goal," Emery said then.

Both Trestman and Emery were fired at the completion of a miserable 5-11 campaign. As Bears players marked the start of the 2015 campaign by checking in to training camp in Bourbonnais on Wednesday, many were candid about the past and optimistic for the future.

This time, it was coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace sitting in those same seats Trestman and Emery once occupied, with new goals for a fresh start.

"To get better every day," Fox said on Wednesday when asked about realistic expectations for the Bears.

Camp Fox carries a different swagger than Camp Trestman. The benefit of hindsight is crucial, because few saw what was to come for the 2014 Bears, but the consistency of Fox is what has the Bears feeling good.

"It's the leadership here and the way people go about their business," Bears guard Kyle Long said. "It's a professional atmosphere."

Questions loom -- many, in fact -- around this Bears team, none greater than how quarterback Jay Cutler will respond to another new regime, how Fox can fix the disastrous defense and where Pace can solidify team depth.

Training camp is where a team forges its identity through competition. As the 2014 season progressed down the toilet, leadership and respect seemed to be lost. The Bears believe it's a positive working environment with Fox in charge.

"More than anything, guys like coming to work now," Cutler said.

Added safety Ryan Mundy: "We have an opportunity to right some of the things that weren't good for us last year."

Fox is quick with his words, often brutally honest but protective of his players. He creates an atmosphere that builds continuity around a team. Long, a leader for this team, put it best in saying that a lot of walls created "have been knocked down."

What Fox really wants is a shot at his third Super Bowl with a third different team. That starts in training camp.

"He doesn't want guys in it for themselves or going to the Pro Bowl, he has one thing in mind," Cutler said.

Plenty is different around Bears training camp, which will feature its first practice Thursday morning. Pace spoke of a "tough, physical camp" coming, a dramatic change from Trestman's time. Gone are fixtures like Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Roberto Garza, plus Brandon Marshall and all the drama that came with him.

Expectations are different for the Bears, too. Super Bowl hype wasn't mentioned once Wednesday, as Trestman and Emery babbled about last July in those same seats Fox and Pace occupied.

A lot has changed for the Bears in the past year. That's a start.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.

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