The standard mantra when a team has its week off during NFL seasons is that the break comes at a very good time. And the reality is that a week off is never a bad thing for an NFL team, usually for reasons of players healing or buffing out some rough spot in one of the three phases.
But for a Bears team still settling into new schemes in all of those phases, the timing of the off week in fact couldn’t be better.
First of all, coach John Fox has a stellar record of putting the time to good use. His Carolina and Denver teams were a combined 10-3 after off weeks, among the best for NFL coaches active or retired. Only Kansas City’s Andy Reid (14-2) and Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy (8-1) have better marks among active coaches.
Fox’s approach is fairly standard, even if his results are among the best.
“It’s a bunch of different things but I think it’s getting guys healthy, getting them rested,” Fox said. “It comes at a time when we could use the rest to get some guys healed up.”
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Players had off on Monday, although most came in for various chores and routines. They will practice Tuesday and Wednesday late-mornings, then be off through Sunday.
“With the new CBA they have to have off Thursday through Sunday,” Fox said.
A more veteran team or one long steeped in its systems typically prefers off weeks later in seasons, with the assumption that it provides a chance to regain health deeper in seasons and therefore closer to postseasons.
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The Bears do have their share of veteran players and no longer consider themselves “new” in the programs of coordinators Adam Gase (offense), Vic Fangio (defense) and Jeff Rodgers (special teams). But a week off to address the myriad issues that came out of the loss at Detroit, with a division game at home against Minnesota on Nov. 1, is more advantageous now rather than later.
“We’ll self-scout some things,” Fox said. “I’m not going to go into what those are; we’re working on that as we speak [Monday afternoon]. Some things we want to present to the players and what we want to do to improve it, in all three phases.”