After Sunday’s devastating 20-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Bears returned to observe Wednesday. Coach Matt Eberflus has pushed his gamers to reset and refocus with the Arizona Cardinals coming to city for Christmas Eve. The Bears are residence favorites for Sunday’s recreation however should be sharp to get again on the successful observe.
As the staff readies for its Week 16 take a look at, listed below are 5 issues we realized Wednesday at Halas Hall.
1. Quarterback Justin Fields is conscious of the amplified discuss his unsure future.
The chatter has been escalating lately — each in Chicago and throughout the league — as curiosity heightens for a way the Bears will deal with their quarterback choices throughout a pivotal 2024 offseason. Fields nonetheless has two seasons remaining on his rookie contract however stays the topic of serious commerce hypothesis with the Bears doubtlessly in line to personal the No. 1 choose for April’s draft.
Will the staff choose to reboot at quarterback by deciding on Southern Cal’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye or one other prospect on this 12 months’s draft class? Or will the Bears commerce that choose and once more put their guess on Fields to make a long-awaited developmental breakthrough that permits him to be the engine of a championship pursuit?
After Wednesday’s observe, Fields was requested what he thinks he has proven the Bears decision-makers along with his play in 2023. “Improvement,” he mentioned. “They know. They know. Everybody in the building knows who I am. Like I said, I can control what I can control and that’s it.”
In his third season, Fields has once more had breathtaking flashes of playmaking brilliance mixed with stretches of inconsistent manufacturing and a monthlong harm absence.
Teammates have continued to have Fields’ again with receiver DJ Moore vocalizing his perception in his quarterback after Sunday’s loss.
Said Fields: “It means a lot. (The guys) know the work I put in for this every day. I try to lead the team the best way possible. I’m just glad I’m making a positive impact and that my teammates feel that way about me.”
Ultimately, the best way basic supervisor Ryan Poles feels about Fields would be the most important in figuring out whether or not he stays with the Bears in 2024 or is dealt away.
2. The Bears will even have an enormous resolution to make with cornerback Jaylon Johnson.
Johnson’s contract will expire in March and negotiations on a potential extension stalled out earlier this fall. So what may occur after the common season ends?
The 24-year-old cornerback is having his greatest season to this point and shares the staff lead (and is tied for fourth leaguewide) with 4 interceptions. Johnson mentioned Wednesday he’s assured he has added worth to his second contract, wherever which will come from, however then was emphatic in expressing his want to stay with the Bears.
“I want to stay here,” he mentioned. “I definitely want to get something done (here) first. But at the end of the day, if something doesn’t get done, then I’m not opposed to other options. But I would love to stay here. So that’s that.”
In quick, Johnson mentioned he isn’t useless set on testing the free agent market in March if the Bears method him with an acceptable provide earlier than then. As for his push to stick with the Bears?
“I mean it’s all I know, honestly,” Johnson mentioned. “I just couldn’t see myself anywhere else. … I feel like we’re building something special, too, especially with the guys in this locker room. I don’t think it’s something I can get anywhere else. I would like to stay and continue to build and make this better. And I want to win some games and get to the playoffs and make a push with this Chicago name, too.”
3. Tyrique Stevenson estimated he had upward of 30 missed calls from his mother Sunday.
The rookie’s interception of a third-quarter Joe Flacco cross into the tip zone was one of many Bears’ largest highlights in a robust defensive effort. Stevenson’s mother was as excited as anybody.
“She was just yelling into the phone,” he mentioned. “She was more excited than me.”
Stevenson has impressed coaches and teammates alike along with his poise and durable self-belief by means of a difficult first NFL season.
“Honestly, he’s just continuing to fight. Continuing to stay in it,” Johnson mentioned of his teammate. “A lot of the time, especially at the cornerback position, you don’t have success early and you can just kind of go into the tank. I feel like he has continued to fight, continued to grow. And you definitely just see his confidence out there on the field. That has continued to shine no matter what is going on.”
Sunday’s interception, with Stevenson making a superb learn and a decisive break in zone protection, was the newest proof of his enhancing really feel for the sport.
“Being able to showcase my talent feels good,” Stevenson mentioned, “just knowing that I’m putting in the hard work and it’s paying off.”
4. Darnell Mooney, DeMarcus Walker and Teven Jenkins all missed observe Wednesday.
Mooney was out with an sickness however was nonetheless within the constructing at Halas Hall. Walker is coping with a leg harm. And Jenkins stays in concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s recreation within the first half.
Other Bears who didn’t observe Wednesday had been Travis Homer (hamstring), Equanimeous St. Brown (pectoral), Jaylon Jones (calf) and Noah Sewell (knee).
5. The Bears 2-minute drive on the finish of Sunday’s first half was a blended bag.
Offensively, that sequence was one of many Bears’ most spectacular of the afternoon, a 61-yard march that took them from their very own 2-yard line to the Browns 37 within the remaining minute earlier than halftime. Running again Roschon Johnson broke off a 23-yard run on the second play. Fields had six completions on the drive, together with a 20-yarder to Moore. And the Bears, with good situational consciousness and sound clock administration, had been on the sting of Cairo Santos’ area purpose vary with time to push nearer.
“We did a good job with the operation in 2-minute, getting a chance to get a shot at a field goal,” Fields mentioned.
Alas, with 8 seconds remaining, a Fields cross to Darnell Mooney was damaged up by security Ronnie Hickman and left the Bears to accept a remaining play Hail Mary that was unsuccessful.
On the play to Mooney, Eberflus lauded the play design and the route mixture that obtained Mooney open on the Browns 30.
“We’ve just got to make that connection,” Eberflus mentioned. “And if we make that connection right there, we’re going to be right where we need to be.”
Instead, with strain coming, Fields double clutched, altered his throwing angle and threw a cross that introduced Hickman again into the play.
“I’ve just got to stop Mooney with the ball so that safety can’t get involved rather than lead him,” Fields mentioned.
With a timeout left, a completion there would have given the Bears a area purpose attempt. Alas …
Said Eberflus: “We’ve just got to make that play at that point.”