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The Day After: Matt Eberflus and Bears players respond after alarming loss to Packers

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
September 11, 2023

LAKE FOREST — The Bears showed up to Halas Hall on Monday following their 38-20 loss to the Packers a day searching for answers.

It started with reviewing the film. Bears coach Matt Eberflus said his players “came in with the right attitude” as they made corrections with their respective units. Along with correcting some of the mental mistakes, Eberflus stressed to his team the importance of taking care of their bodies before Wednesday’s padded practice — which will be one of many physical practices. this season

Eberflus, Khalil Herbert and Jaylon Johnson spoke to the media.

Here are some of the top takeaways from the press conferences.

Matt Eberflus on Justin Fields

The poor performance by the Bears’ offense can be spread around the entire unit. Luke Getsy and his play calling. The offensive line’s poor blocking. Skilled players leaving plays on the field. Everything.

Nobody is exempt from Sunday’s disappointing performance against the Packers, including Justin Fields.

“He knows he can play better,” Eberflus said. “He knows that. He’s well aware of that and he’s going to work diligently to do that. It’s important that everybody looks that way. The offensive line, the receivers, the coaches, the defensive coaches, the defensive line, everybody. It’s all hands on deck to improve. Because we want to improve this season as we go. We want to be a stronger football team every single week. We have room for improvement, as you can see. So, we’re excited about getting that done. It’s a challenge for our guys to work on that.”

Improvement for Fields can come in the form of throwing the ball away instead of taking a sack in the red zone. Lukas Van Ness took down Fields for a 7-yard loss while the quarterback ran toward the right sideline. Fields and Eberflus talked right after that play, and Fields knew he should’ve thrown away the ball out of bounds.

Another teaching moment came on the pick-6 that Fields threw to Quay Walker. Eberflus said Fields got a good view of his reads on the play, but he needed to scan the field and then move on to his next progression.

One additional detail from Eberflus’ press conference. A lot of the Bears’ passing attack revolved around attacking the boundaries with the screen game. There were several instances where the blockers on those plays failed to complete their assignment.

Here is Eberflus had to say about the execution on those plays:

“That has to improve,” Eberflus said. “That has to improve. We all saw that, right? So we’ve gotta block the perimeter better. We’ve gotta sustain our blocks. We’ve gotta take better angles. That’s part of what we need to improve, for sure.”

Khalil Herbert: “We beat ourselves”

The Bears finished with 122 total rushing yards in the loss to the Packers. In Khalil Herbert’s first game as the lead running back, he finished with nine carries for 27 yards and an average of three yards per attempt.

It wasn’t the best debut for Herbert, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season. That was the highest mark for running backs with at least 100 rushing attempts.

Herbert was asked why the rushing attack was never able to get established against Green Bay.

“It was a number of things, but really just technique errors,” Herbert said. “Just little things that go a long way in what we try to do offensively. Just little things individually that guys gotta clean up.”

The Bears collectively have a lot to clean up before their Week 2 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the third-year running back doesn’t feel like there are any issues that will have to take time to be corrected.

“I definitely think they’re correctable,” Herbert said. “They had a great game plan and everything, but ultimately I feel like we beat ourselves. So there’s a lot of stuff on tape, simple fixes that we can fix going into this week. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Jaylon Johnson still confident in the defense

The Bears added six new defensive starters this season. Still, the unit allowed Jordan Love to throw for 245 passing yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Jones totaled 127 total yards and two touchdowns. And Green Bay finished 9 of 16 on third down.

For a group that added several pieces on the defensive line, two new starting linebackers and a rookie corner that the team moved up to select, this performance was reminiscent of the 2022 defense.

Jaylon Johnson described the mood in the building on Monday by saying, “Disappointed.” He also mentioned it hurts as a competitor because he felt the defense did all they could to be prepared from a film study perspective. With disappointment also comes motivation, and that’s why Johnson is still confident about his teammates.

“One game doesn’t change anything as far as confidence goes or anything like that,” Johnson said. “I just think we have to show it on Sunday. I think that’s the biggest thing. I feel like we had a lot of confidence, a lot of juice throughout camp and during the preseason and then going out there and leaving plays on the field I know that’s not who we are. I know that’s not the best that we can do. So I feel like just at the end of the day, we have to keep going out and proving it to ourselves first, proving it to our team that we have high-level guys and we play high-level football.”

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