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LAKE FOREST — The Bears’ 24-17 loss to the Saints in the Caesars Superdome on Sunday extended several steaks for Chicago.
The Bears still have not defeated the Saints in the Superdome since 1991. They will have to wait for their next opportunity to end the 32-year drought. Also, the Bears havent beat the Saints since 2008, and are currently on a 8-game losing streak to New Orleans.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus, Andrew Billings and Darnell Mooney addressed the media on Monday after the team’s seventh loss of the season.
Here are some of the top takeaways from the press conferences.
Justin Fields day to day
Eberflus announced on Monday that Justin Fields was limited in Monday’s walk-through practice. The Bears’ coach also described Fields as day to day, which is a step in the right direction from his week-to-week status a week ago.
“So we’re literally see where it is today and then see where it goes from there and we’ll know more on Wednesday in terms of how that progresses,” Eberflus said.
With the shortened timeframe for this Thursday night matchup with the Panthers, Eberflus will be monitoring Fields’ “functionality,” and three keys components.
“Injuries guys coming off of injury, it always comes down to the medical staff clearing them, how the play feels he can function in the game, and then the coaches looking at it and say, ‘Hey, yes, he could function at a high level and get the job done,'” Eberflus said. “So it’s always those three factors.”
Fields isn’t the only player on the Bears dealing with an injury. Eberflus also shared that Jaquan Brisker is back to a full go after being cleared of his concussion. Tremaine Edmunds is also day to day with his knee injury.
The Bears also announced on Monday afternoon that Equanimeous St. Brown, Khalil Herbert and Josh Blackwell have been designated to return from injured reserve.
Andrew Billings on pass rush
The Bears’ defensive line is in two completely different places when it comes to stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.
After nine games this season, Chicago’s defense is ranked No. 4 in the league with only allowing 79.7 rushing yards per game. The Bears’ 2022 defense finished 31st in the league in that category.
The pass rush, however, has struggled this season. The Bears are ranked dead last in the league with 10 sacks in nine games. Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Saints marked the fourth time the defense was unable to register a sack.
Andrew Billings has played a big part in the defense’s success at stopping the run and has done his part in trying to provide some much-needed pass rush. With the run defense and pass rush being so distinctly different, Billings was asked if that is frustrating to see as a player.
“Yeah, guys get frustrated and stuff,” Billings said. “As a player you go out there and play your hardest. So you know, you want to perform your best at all times. Yeah, guys get frustrated but we’ve all got to focus up and just keep working together because eventually it’s going to come.”
Montez Sweat is someone that can definitely help the pass rush become more productive. In his Bears’ debut, Sweat generated four pressures, which was a team-high, on 25 pass rushes.
Billings said it was great playing alongside Sweat. He also mentioned the two communicated throughout the game and “got everything settled before the snap and I think he fits right in.”
“I think he made it available for everybody to get one on ones,” Billings said. “I think now we have a full threat on this line and it’s really going to help out as far as offensive linemen just not focusing on one player each snap, that they have to spread out the work.”
Darnell Mooney on a contract extension
In the loss to the Saints, Darnell Mooney had his most productive game of the season. The fourth-year wide receiver was targeted a season-high six times and finished with five receptions for 82 yards.
“I mean I’ve just been doing what I’ve been doing the whole season and the ball found me,” Mooney said. “Just got to make the most out of every opportunity you can get. I mean, I did what I could with what I got.”
This season hasn’t been the easiest for Mooney. Through nine games this season, Mooney has 20 receptions, 304 yards and one touchdown, which he caught in the Week 1 loss to the Packers.
For Mooney, who is in the last year of his rookie contract, this 2023 season is important to showcase to the Bears or the other 31 NFL teams how he can be an asset to offense.
Like his fellow teammate Jaylon Johnson, Mooney is also looking for a new contact and the former fifth-round draft pick out of Tulane would welcome another opportunity in Chicago.
“I mean, eventually somebody is going to pay,” Mooney said. “Whether it’s here or wherever you go somebody is going to take care of you. So you’ve just got to go out there and play ball. It doesn’t matter what you’re going to do. You can’t look for something tomorrow. Whenever it comes it comes and you just have to take care of your job. Extensions is a good thing. Obviously I would love to be here. I love Chicago. I love the fans. I love just being here. I mean, we’ve got everything in here. Facility-wise we have one of the nicest facilities ever so I would definitely love to be here but like I said you just can’t worry about it. Somebody is going to pay eventually.”
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