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LAKE FOREST – For the second time this season and fifth time since Matt Eberflus took over as the Bears coach, he addressed the media following a victory.
The Bears defeated the Raiders, 30-12, to secure their first win at Soldier Fields since Sept. 25, 2022.
Here are some of the top takeaways from Eberflus’ Monday press conference.
Fields still doubtful
Eberflus wasted no time and provided an update on Justin Fields to start his Monday press conference.
“Really, no change,” Eberflus said. “He’s doubtful for this week, working with trainers, continues to progress. He’s just not there yet. Bagent will be our starter until that time he is cleared. So we’re squared away on that. Again excited for Tyson’s opportunity again this week, for him to start in a game.”
Eberflus did say he thinks things are “on the right path” when he was asked about Fields avoiding surgery or being placed on injured reserve.
Eberflus didn’t provide details when asked about the swelling in Fields’ right thumb, his grip strength or if he has thrown a football yet.
More to Bagent’s game?
Bagent displayed poise and understanding in the game plan that Luke Getsy put in place against the Raiders. He was efficient, completing 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.
The rookie quarterback was sacked only once and ended the game with no turnovers.
One thing that worked against the Raiders was the Bears quick and short passing game, but that formula may not work for every opponent. Only one of Bagent’s 29 passes went beyond 15 yards.
Eberflus was asked if Bagent’s style of play allows the offense to open things up a bit.
“Oh, yeah. No question,” Eberflus said. “No question. Yeah, he’s a rhythm and timing passer, you know, and he’s got all the ability to do all those things.”
The game plan was designed that way because of the opponent and also since it was Bagent’s first NFL start.
“Obviously the first time coming out you want him to be very successful and, you know, I think it matters with the opponent you’re playing, the rushers you’re playing, the coverages they’re playing, what their style is, what their offense looks like,” Eberflus said. “I think it’s all encompassing.”
The Bears’ coach liked how Bagent targeted nine different skilled players throughout the game, which is something Eberflus wants to continue to see from the young quarterback.
Jaylon Johnson contract talk
After Jaylon Johnson’s pick-six, the veteran cornerback found the TV camera and did the “make it rain money” gesture.
Johnson is ready to have discussions about a contract extension – whether that is with the Bears or another team. After the game, Johnson said, “I feel like I’m one of those guys that can be paid at a high level.”
Eberflus was asked about Johnson and whether he believes he should be paid like a top-tier player at his position.
“Obviously, I’m not going to talk about money with contracts,” Eberflus said. “But I’ve always enjoyed seeing those guys get what they are due. All the guys that I have coached and had produce, and a lot of guys at a high level, it’s good to see that when it happens. I’m always happy for them and their families when it happens. But that’s all I’m really going to say about it. Again, I’m not going to get into the negotiations of all those things. That’s between him and Ryan. We’ll see where it goes.”
Eberflus has liked what he’s seen from Johnson this season in terms of his stickiness at the top of routes and his improved tackling. And now, he is starting to create some turnovers with his two interceptions against the Raiders.
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