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We’re two practices into training camp and I continue to be bullish about the Bears’ offense.
Here’s one reason why:
While Justin Fields continued a strong start to training camp Thursday, the offense as a whole was sloppier with a handful of false starts and a few drops.
There was, however, at least a fair explanation for the pre-snap penalties:
“That’s part of this process and we’re in that phase of challenging our guys with cadence,” Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. “So we’re not going to just try to get through practice and make it clean. We’re going to challenge our guys with a bunch of different stuff like that. Sometimes that happens. We’ve got to stick with it and hopefully as we continue to go, all that stuff will get better and get cleaned up.”
This is always the tricky part of training camp. When players struggle, the coaches typically say it’s because they’re throwing a lot at them. It’s true, but it also makes you think about when Matt Nagy said he was challenging Mitch Trubisky with version “202” of the offense in 2019.
The important thing to note here, however, is it’s not the quarterback who’s struggling. I pointed out to Getsy that I remembered them using a lot of cadences early in training camp last year, only to see them parsed down once the regular season was underway.
“I think it starts with quarterback-center and how much they want to do and how much they’re capable of doing,” Getsy said. “If you can remember, Lucas (Patrick) was the (center last year) and then he got hurt, and then it was Sam (Mustipher) and all that stuff.”
Veteran Cody Whitehair is now the unquestioned center, and Fields appears to be more comfortable handling a wider array of cadences to keep defenses on their heels. The false starts Thursday came from left tackle Braxton Jones, left guard Teven Jenkins and right guard Nate Davis. The coaching staff seems confident in Fields’ ability to handle more complexity and now it’s up to the rest of the offense to catch on during camp — which is how it should work.
“I think the comfortability that Justin has with everything — and then P.J. (Walker) and Nate (Peterman) and Tyson (Bagent) the same thing — they’re now hearing Justin do it a certain way and they’re trying to mimic that as well,” Getsy said. “So I think that when we can get all of those guys doing it the same way it allows you to do more.”
So far, these are normal growing pains in training camp. We’ll see if they persist or get cleaned up in the coming days. For now, I remain more encouraged by Getsy’s confidence in expanding the offense than discouraged by a few mistakes in practice.
It shows confidence in Justin Fields.
Up Next: The Bears are back at practice this morning at 10 a.m. and I expect to see more situational football than we saw on Thursday.
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