Head coach Matt Eberflus on Chicago Bears missing practice not a ‘big deal’

Matt Eberflus wants Bears practices to be intense

Chicago Bears first-year head coach Matt Eberflus told the media Wednesday the team being forced to miss practice Tuesday was not a big deal. Reports came out Tuesday the Bears violated the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement on live contact. The Bears were warned but didn’t make enough adjustments before facing consequences.

Bears players were told about the warning in a team meeting and that they needed to correct their practice to be in compliance, Eberflus said. He was asked by a reporter if it was safe to say they didn’t correct their practice enough. “I’m not sure how to answer that. Yeah,” Eberflus said.

The complaint had to do with the players being overzealous in practice versus the design of drills during practice, Eberflus suggested. Players have done a better job since in being under control and staying on their feet, he said.

Even with the limits on physical contact, Eberflus still believes it’s important for the Bears to be intense. Intensity is the I in the H.I.T.S. principle. “The focus part of intensity can be there but not the physical part until we get the pads. Once we get the pads on in training camp, that’s when we’re going to focus on how we play the intensity piece,” he said. “There’s guys, they’re flying around. They’re really moving the ball. It looks fast to me.”

Young Bears want to show what they can do

Defensive tackle Justin Jones said the violation was a part of the Bears having a young team that wanted to show their vigor. “You want to prove yourself any chance you can get,” Jones said Wednesday. “So I can’t really fault players for going too hard or being overly aggressive, you know what I’m saying because this is your dream, you know what I’m saying, this is what you came here for.”

Cole Kmet, a Bears union representative, said it happens with a lot of youth on the roster and new coaching staff. “Guys are coming in to prove themselves, including me. So when someone says ‘you’re going 100-percent’, you’re going 100-percent,” Kmet said. “I’m not going to ease up.” When players ease up, players tend to get hurt,” Kmet said.

If the Bears need all the practices they can to get better this season, as national analysts project the team to be one of the league’s worst, Eberflus didn’t seem too concerned. He downplayed the consequence for the Bears violating the CBA agreement.

“I don’t actually see it as a big deal,” he said. The team needed to take that adversity and adjust, he said. “And that’s what we’re going to have to do. We’re going to have to do that to win games. That’s what I was excited about. Adversity is going to come. It’s how you deal with it that matters,” Eberflus said.

Neither he nor the Bears organization were fined, Eberflus said. He was not sure how the violation was brought to the NFL’s attention but said he respected the NFL’s and NFLPA’s conclusion.

I like the spirit of the players but the Bears need discipline

The Bears will need a lot of heart from their players to have a successful season. I like that Bears players want to show the new staff and the league what they are capable of. However, a lot of wisdom goes a long way. The new coaching staff needs to do a better job of getting control over their players. Their inexperience is starting to show.

Hopefully, the punishment will be enough for the coaching staff to pay more attention to the details of running a team. Discipline is a major part of a coach’s job. If the Bears can find one way to be successful during a rebuilding year, becoming more disciplined might be the most realistic.

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