When the Bears ended their weekly spring Zoom sessions early, Matt Nagy explained that it was because the team felt that time was better spent in other ways.
“This will allow the players to focus on training,” the Bears' head coach said in early June. “It’s going to be very important. That’s the one part that’s been more difficult (because) we’re not altogether. So now they really don’t have to worry about meetings so much -- Monday through Thursday -- but they can really focus on their bodies and come into training camp really prepared.”
Turns out, even working out in summer heat is preferable to sitting through another Zoom meeting. Though training camp hasn't gotten started in full yet – Wednesday was the first day of 'Phase 2' – Nagy's first impression of the players he's seen is a good one. Showing up in shape sounds like a cliche because it basically is at this point, but as Nagy pointed out, that's still not always the case.
"You kind of hold your breath when you haven't seen these guys this whole time," he said on Wednesday. "I know what I was doing and there's others too, and there's a lot more eating than there is working out over that quarantine. And so you never really know where these guys are at. But I think our guys -- and I know our guys, just from seeing them now -- they made an executive decision as a whole that they're going to work their tails off and get in good shape."
What's most impressive, according to Nagy, is that the vast majority of these workouts happened in a garage, or in a basement, or out in a local field somewhere, etc. With Halas Hall essentially unavailable this summer, the coach was quick to credit strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo and his team for spearheading and overseeing all the individual workouts.
"We weren't sure how that was going to happen, just not knowing where they were and what they had to be able to work out in during the quarantine," he added. "But I'm just really proud of the players for the way that they came into shape."
Specifically, Nagy named Akiem Hicks and Cordarrelle Patterson as two guys who looked especially good. He even went as far as claiming it's the "best" he's ever seen Hicks look.
"I mean, he showed up in great shape and I'm really proud of him. I know it's not easy," Nagy added. "And then Cordarrelle Patterson ... He's the one that I walked by as well, and he was ready for me to ask him how he's doing, because he looks good too."