Bears offense (mostly) responds to spontaneous crash course
Not many people are expecting much from the Bears' offense this season.
Sure, they have an All-Pro running back in David Montgomery, an uber-talented QB in Justin Fields and a potential breakout candidate in tight end Cole Kmet.
But the offensive line? Oof.
And Darnell Mooney as a No. 1 wide receiver? We'll see.
And the other wideouts -- a group made up of mostly journeymen? Ugh.
Seems like a recipe for disaster.
Still, there's an unmistakable aura of hope around Halas Hall with players and coaches steadfastly believing this offense can improve upon last season's putrid performance.
The main reason for such optimism? Well, it centers around new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who was the Packers' QB coach and passing game coordinator last season. If Getsy has installed the right offense and makes the right play calls at the right times, the Bears have a chance to surprise.
Have no illusions, though: It's a tall task -- and one made even taller if Getsy's players don't execute at an extremely high level.
That wasn't the case at times during Thursday's training camp practice at Halas Hall, and Getsy had no problem expressing his dismay afterward.
"For me, it's the lack of execution that I'm focused on right now," Getsy said. "That's what pisses me off more than anything."
Head coach Matt Eberflus threw a curve ball at the players by having them go 11 on 11 in the middle of practice rather than saving those drills for the end. The miscues included two false starts by offensive linemen, multiple drops by wide receivers and an interception by safety Eddie Jackson after a high throw by Fields bounced off the fingertips of N'Keal Harry.
"What coach did a great job of today was (going 11 on 11) in the middle of practice -- spontaneous -- so the guys didn't have a chance to prepare," Getsy said. "And so those were great reps. You saw we jumped twice and then we came back and did it a third time and we executed it really well."
Getsy's scheme is expected to be run heavy, which is no surprise considering the lack of size and breakaway speed among the wideouts.
In one way, this could be a good thing for the Bears because if Montgomery is ripping off runs of 5, 6, 8 and 12 yards then the passing game will naturally open up.
On the other hand, good NFL defenses will easily shut down a one-dimensional offense by stacking the box with seven, eight or even nine guys.
The offense did elicit a few "oohs" and "ahhs" from the fans Thursday as:
• Mooney made an impressive leaping catch over the middle on a crossing route.
• Kmet, who was double covered, hauled in a perfectly placed pass from Fields for a long gain on a seam route.
These are the type of plays the Bears must connect on during the season on a regular basis. Kmet and Mooney believe it's possible because they both have great faith that Fields is on his way to becoming a difference maker.
"That (seam route play) doesn't happen last year," Kmet said. "We were working with another quarterback (Andy Dalton) the whole off-season and Justin obviously came in. So it's tough. It's tough on guys to get a rhythm and get going. ...
"Now we've had a full off-season with one guy and you can really build upon things and kind of try some things out."
Getsy is particularly pleased with what he's seeing out of Fields, saying "Forget all the athletic part. That guy, the way he attacks every single day and his approach and leads by example. (He) doesn't ask anybody to do anything he doesn't expect of himself. I mean that guy's a natural born leader ... so we're lucky to have a guy like that leading this thing."