The Bears continued to struggle offensively in last Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, but the lack of improvement from week to week isn’t dampening offensive coordinator Luke Gety’s confidence about the path the team is on.
Rather than critique the play of quarterback Justin Fields, Getsy complimented him for “manning up and taking a leadership role” during a difficult start to the season and said that he feels “the lack of particular detail to a number of different situations” is keeping the offense from coming up with the explosive plays they need to be making. He also stressed that he believes those issues will be ironed out as the season unfolds.
“I think we’re in the process of building something special,” Getsy said, via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re in the phase of it’s Week Three going into Week Four and we’re going on to find a way to attack Denver in a completely different way than we did Kansas City. . . . It’s a 17-week process. It is not a three-week process.”
The Broncos are coming off a 70-20 loss to the Dolphins, so this would seem to be an ideal weekend for the Bears to show that they are capable of more than they’ve done during a 13-game losing streak that stretches back to last year.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields didn’t spend much time revisiting last week’s comments about playing too robotic when he spoke to the media this Wednesday.
Fields said “I did” when asked if he felt he played freer against the Chiefs than he had in previous games, but that wasn’t clear on the field. Fields was 11-of-22 for 99 yards, a touchdown and an interception while running 11 times for 47 yards in a 41-10 loss that dropped the team to 0-3 on the season.
The loss added to the miserable start for Chicago and for Fields, but the quarterback said he’s trying to find a silver lining amid all of the losing.
“All the adversity I go through is gonna make me stronger as a person and as a player,” Fields said, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “So just gotta look at the bright side of things and think of yourself as going through adversity for a reason. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
The NFL isn’t a league that offers extended chances to learn from failure and Fields is in his third season with the Bears, so he’ll need the bright side to show itself sooner rather than later if there’s going to be a payoff from all of the tough times he has gone through since arriving in Chicago.
With a fresh train rolling down the tracks every week of an NFL season, the Broncos couldn’t afford to panic after giving up 70 points to the Dolphins. Coach Sean Payton has tried not to.
He has opted to be pragmatic about the situation, and to try to understand the mess that the game became.
“I think what came about Sunday was one of those perfect storms where we struggled in a lot of areas,” Payton told reporters on Wednesday. “When you do that against an explosive offense, it snowballs. I’m sure there are a number of things that we as coaches look at and say, ‘All right, we should’ve done this.’ We always talk about after a game, even when we win, what would we do differently playing this team again?
“I think we have to always approach it that way. Just like the players. Even on our side of the ball offensively, I second-guessed that two-minute drill. The game is in balance still in the second quarter to some degree, and all of a sudden, very quickly, it gets away from us. We were starting with the ball. Getting into two-minute [offense] made sense, but it’s just being smart about it. [I] think there were a number of things.”
Payton said that the team has heard from plenty of people in the aftermath of the historic outcome.
“Every one of us gets inundated with text messages of support,” Payton said. “Oftentimes, they’re [from] people that care for you. You read them sometimes and you’re like, ‘Man, this is what we do for a living. No one passed away. We’ll get through it.’ Then, periodically, you get one or two that are just special. Every one of these guys are the same way. You have to work your way out of this. It starts with getting the first win. I said this after the game last week — the next week can’t come quick enough. I think that’s where we’re at.”
Where they’re at is preparing to face an 0-3 Bears team that is equally desperate to get a win.
“Well, for us, it would mean a lot,” Payton said. “Then I can answer the fun questions. We need a win. Chicago does too. They do, too. That’s why we have to win these days — Wednesday, Thursday. I thought today was a really good practice. We have to follow that up tomorrow, but a win would mean a lot for us right now.”
He’s right. A record of 1-3 looks and feels a lot different than 0-4. Then they can focus on trying to get to 2-3 when the Jets come to town next weekend.
Broncos safety Justin Simmons returned to practice Wednesday. He was limited.
Simmons did not play in Week 3 after missing practice all last week.
He has 14 tackles in two games.
Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (knee) also was limited Wednesday.
Jeudy was inactive in Week 1 with a hamstring injury but was off the injury report last week. He is back on it this week with a different injury.
He has eight catches for 106 yards.
Outside linebacker Frank Clark (hip), inside linebacker Josey Jewell (hip) and defensive tackle Mike Purcell (ribs) did not practice.
Jewell exited Sunday’s game against the Dolphins after 19 snaps, while Clark has not played since Week 1.
Look at this — this week’s Thursday night game features the Lions returning to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers. After that, look away.
Based on the first few weeks of the 2023 regular season, there are more than a few stinkers lurking on the league’s short-week slate on Amazon.
Next week, the 0-3 Bears visit the Commanders. After that, the 0-3 Broncos visit the Chiefs. Woof, and woof.
After that, it’s Jaguars at Saints. (Good, not great.) Then, the Bucs visit the Bills. (Could get ugly.)
The Titans visit the Steelers after that, which could be fine if the Titans can muster some/any offense. After that, the 0-3 Panthers visit the 0-3 Bears. (If I’m Al Michaels, I’m not even getting on the plane for that one.)
Bengals at Ravens is solid for the week before Thanksgiving. Dolphins at Jets on Black Friday could be another black mark on the full schedule.
The slate concludes with Seahawks at Cowboys, Patriots at Steelers, Chargers at Raiders, Saints at Rams, and Jets at Browns.
Late-season flexing this year is a possibility. It could become a necessity. Even with Amazon and Nielsen working together to boost the ratings (over the objection of the traditional broadcast networks), some of these upcoming games could have a hard time churning up big audiences.
Other than this week’s game, which arguably is the best of the entire schedule.