On Monday night, the Bears offense once again looked decent moving the ball between the 20s and showed flashes of being able to sustain drives. But it was another night where their progress on offense was ultimately undone by untimely mistakes, namely penalties and turnovers.
“That’s been the story of the year,” said Justin Fields after the game. “It’s just shooting ourselves in the foot, and once we eliminate those penalties, sacks, fumbles where I should just throw the ball away, throw the ball to the groundー eliminate those and we’ll start seeing more points on the board and more success for the whole team.”
The problem is the Bears haven’t been able to eliminate those mistakes, 15 weeks into the season. With the Bears officially knocked out of the playoff picture with their loss to the Vikings it may not matter as much, but Fields still wants to see growth in that department. He has an old-school idea for how to fix it moving forward, too.
“It’s frustrating at this point, especially with the false starts,” Fields said. “Just everything. We’re going to have to come up with something during practice, run a lap or something. That’s what we did at Ohio State. Offsides? You’re running a whole lap, I don’t care who you are. Even had me running laps if I do something wrong.”
On Tuesday, Nagy said the team had something in place similar to what Fields mentioned, but hinted that in the latter stages of the season they’ve gotten a bit more lenient with their self-imposed punishments.
“These guys implemented a deal where the guys pull each other out if there’s a false start or something in practice where that’s the case,” Nagy said. “Those guys hold each other accountable. I think what happens sometimes is, as the year goes on or as the season goes on, you end upー for instance, if there’s a lineman that jumps offside or there’s a false start, he’ll go ahead and either finish that quick rep and come out the next rep, do a couple pushups and go back in. It’s just the mentality and the reminder that you can’t do that. The players do a good job of holding each other with that. I think the persistence of doing that is important, especially right now when you see the penalties we’ve had at inopportune times.”
Whatever the Bears have done previously, it hasn’t worked. If they want to improve in that area, it’s clear they’ll need to try something new.
“We’re going to have to do something to fix that,” Fields said. “Whatever that is, I know everybody’s going to be on board with it and we’re going to get it fixed.”