LAKE FOREST — If you have been to one of the Bears’ 15 training camp practices, you will notice there are two scoreboards located in between the four fields at Halas Hall.
And depending on the day, the time and number of timeouts will be different on the scoreboards. That’s because throughout training camp Bears coach Matt Eberflus has made it a focus to practice situational football.
Even offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who transitioned over from a well-oiled offensive unit in Green Bay, is seeing how much emphasis is placed during these portions of practice.
“I mean we’ve done more situational football here, in the time that we’ve been here, than I’ve ever been a part of,” Getsy said. “Not that we didn’t have those conversations other places, but I’m just saying how much we’ve put into it on the practice field. All of that, I think all of that has been great for all of our guys. I think that they know how to respond to situations.”
Knowing how to respond to particular situations separates the good teams from the bad. There have been countless instances in the past where the Bears’ offense has looked out of sorts when attempting to execute a two-minute drill, a drive before the half or throughout the entire third quarter.
This current Bears team is trying to avoid replicating the same dysfunction fans have become all too familiar with. So even though many of the “move the ball” periods in training camp haven’t resulted in points or sometimes positive yards, the team can rewatch the tape, diagnose what went wrong and find solutions for the drives that actually count during the regular season.
And quite honestly, this offense needs to get all the reps it can get before Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. Not only is quarterback Justin Fields running a new scheme but there are also at least five new projected starters.
“I think you’re always trying to build the smartest player possible and you’re always trying to build a player with the most knowledge base,” quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said. “Coach Flus’ vision comes down to we’re going to put guys in situations so that when that situation comes up in a game, and it may only happen a couple times a year, but he’s prepared for that and he’s not thinking about, ‘what am I going to do in this situation?’ There’s something there. We’ve worked it, we’ve practiced it, now we can go execute it. That’s been really beneficial that Justin has been in these situations. Our receivers, our backs, they’ve been in this situations, they know what to expect, we have a plan for it.”
And it isn’t just beneficial for the players.
“As coaches, we’ve been in these situations too,” Janocko said. “Coach brings that down from the top and, ‘Hey, we have this situation. Here’s our call. Here’s what we are going to go to. This is our plan for when this does happen.'”
Fields and the starting offense failed to score on 18 plays against the Chiefs, and now they will get around “6 to 10” plays in the Week 2 preseason matchup against the Seahawks, according to Eberflus.
The situation is set. Now it’s time to see if all that practice time can amount to points on Thursday night.