If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during this pandemic, there’s only so much that can be accomplished on a Zoom meeting.
The Bears have had nine weeks of Zoom meetings and head coach Matt Nagy decided that’s enough. After Thursday’s team meeting later this week, the players will be off for the summer, with hopes that they’ll be able to return to Halas Hall in late July for the start of training camp.
“We’ve really had a phenomenal nine weeks of virtual learning,” Nagy said Tuesday.” They’ve been really, really good solid weeks. I’m proud of our guys for showing up every day. It’s all voluntary and we’ve done a lot.”
In a normal offseason, the Bears would have held mandatory veteran minicamp next week. There is no minicamp this year and there have been no opportunities to practice as a team. Nagy said the offensive and defensive installs are done, so he’s ending the virtual offseason program a week and a half early.
“This will allow the players to focus on training,” he said. “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.”
There’s only so much that can be accomplished in meeting rooms, even when the team is physically together. Typically, plays are installed in meetings and then put into practice out on the field. Nagy revealed that Mitchell Trubisky, Allen Robinson and others have been getting together for workouts after virtual meetings, but that’s only because they are currently in the Chicago suburbs. Many players, including Nick Foles, are scattered throughout the country.
Nagy said his coordinators and assistants have assured him the players have absorbed everything they can from their Zoom meetings. He’s also been on top of recent events, holding a two-hour team meeting last week in which up to 40 people spoke their minds on racial injustice and police brutality.
“I think right now, emotionally, there’s been a lot the last week and a half, but on top of that on the football side, we’ve done a lot mentally to them and we just think with the attendance that we’ve had with the players, and coaches being very adaptive, it’s been different, but they’ve really responded well to it,” Nagy said.
The other benefit to ending the virtual offseason program now is that it allows the coaches to focus on getting ready for training camp and the season. They’ll typically take some time off before training camp too, but they’re not completely off like the players. With all the practice time that has been missed, the job of the coaches will be tougher than ever this year.
“It allows us to really dive into the cut ups and preparing to help these kids out,” Nagy said.