WESTFIELD, INDIANA — The Chicago Bears held their second combined practice with the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday at the Grand Park sports campus.
The Bears have an off day before facing the Colts in a preseason game Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here are our camps from Thursday’s session.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields will not play in the second preseason game on Saturday due to work he got in two days of combined practices. Coach Matt Eberfels said other starter picks would also sit out.
This means that the game will mostly belong to the backups, including quarterbacks PJ Walker and Nathan Peterman and undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent.
“I spoke to the backups now and last night about the opportunity they have to get all of those reps,” said Eberflus. “It would be a great opportunity for these guys.”
Eberflus said the Bears will decide late next week if Fields and other starters play in their third and final preseason game on August 26 against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field. Last year, Fields had his best preseason action in the third game, but the Bears didn’t hold joint workouts last summer.
“He always wanted to play,” said Eberles when asked if Fields backed out of not playing on Saturday. “He’s a footballer. He’s an elite competitor. He wants to compete every time, every play possible. But we’re going to do what’s best for the football team.”
The Bears’ first-team offense wasn’t particularly effective Thursday, save for a seven-by-seven.
During that period in the red zone, the Fields were 8-for-8 with touchdown passes to Darnell Mooney, DJ Moore, and the Equanimeous St. Louis Cardinals. Brown and Dante Pettis. Most exhilarating was Moore’s catch against cornerback Kenny Moore’s second fumble just outside the end zone corner.
On the final team’s full period, Colts linebacker EJ Speed intercepted Fields on a tipped pass. But the first-team offense took more reps and ended his day with a deep pass to Moore.
Left guard Tevin Jenkins said the offense “of course” wants to look better than it did on Thursday.
“Up until four weeks ago, we had a bad day, and a good day,” Jenkins said. “Today we’re having a bad day, a good day. It’s what it is. It’s football. Someone’s got to win, and unfortunately today we didn’t make as many plays as we wanted to.”
Despite some struggles during his full-team stints, Eberflus said he believes Fields is improving with his rhythm and timing and is “on the right track” with where he needs to be.
“It’s always everybody,” Eberles said of the offense. “It’s the other 10 guys who need surgery. Are we getting our roads right? Are we protecting him the right way, giving him time and doing those kinds of things that it takes to have an effective passing game?”
Numerous skirmishes featured throughout the practice, including one involving rookie linebacker Terrell Smith on kickoff drills, which then ended immediately. Eberflus said he understands why fights happen during this competition, but he sets the standard for no punching, slapping, or grabbing face masks.
“You can talk a little bit, but let’s not cross the line with that,” he said. “You’ve got a lot of guys here who are competing for jobs, and they’re competing as hard and as high as they can possibly be. And a lot of them aren’t going to make the football team. They’re just trying to make the team. I definitely understand that aspect of it. But we also have to protect the players and make sure we’re safe.”
At one point Moore, a former player for Eberflus, knocked the ball out of Fields’ hands, which didn’t sit well with Eberflus.
“I know Kenny and I love Kenny, and he’s a great player and a great guy,” said Eberflus. “He came off the edge. Our protection broke down, and at the last minute our tackle pushed him. I told Kenny after the play, ‘You’re athletic enough to get out of that way and deflect off that. ‘ And he agreed. We just need to do a good job of getting away from both the quarterbacks and keeping for their safety.”
Eberflus even got into at least one altercation involving offensive linemen Larry Borum and Ja’Tyre Carter at full team practices.
“I’m fine doing that,” said Eberfels. I never back down from confrontation. … I need to get in there and bring them back so it doesn’t escalate when you’re there. And it helps that I know half of the guys there, so that’s helpful.”
Eberflus was the Colts’ defensive coordinator for four seasons and said he enjoyed catching up with his old friends this week.
“There are a lot of people here that I love that I really support, from the players to the GM to everyone really,” he said.
Defensive end DeMarcus Walker trained for the second day in a row after missing two weeks with an injury. He is naturally keen to return to full participation.
Of his passion, he said, “From 0 to 100, I’d give it 250.” “I’m so excited to see the players make the plays and the youngsters continue to develop, so the passion goes through the roof, man.”
Walker said he “gets there” when it comes to total health. The Bears had eight sacks on Saturday against the Tennessee Titans, and had no Walker and passing rusher Yannick Ngakoye on the field. So the team is keen to see what that looks like, too.
Walker said he was “happy” to have Ngakwe on the other side of the line.
“Yannick is definitely someone I’m eager to learn from,” Walker said. “That’s one thing about me: I never feel like there’s something I can’t learn. If it’s from young people, I watch their tape too, discover new moves (that are out there), and it’s something that evolves. Because every day is a new day. I always want to learn.” “.
“I think when you have a lot of guys fighting and a lot of testosterone, it just happens. I was wondering if a group of tech guys had that kind of vibe, would they have the same kind of results? There’s a lot of testosterone going on and fighting People and he’s competitive. I love him. He gets the juices flowing, and I’m excited that at least the guys came out healthy.” – Walker skirmishes over bears with ponies.
Safety Eddie Jackson didn’t practice a day after colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. collided with him. Wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. was also the runner-up. missing too.
But Eberfels said neither of them suffered long-term injuries.
Also sitting are safety Jaquan Brisker, wide receivers Chase Claypool and Tyler Scott, and behind Tristan Ebner, linebackers Josh Blackwell, linebackers DeMarquez Gates and Tremaine Edmonds, and offensive lineman Lucas Patrick.
Center Cody Whitehare left training early and returned to the touchline but did not play. Doug Kramer played in his place. Eberflus didn’t have an immediate update on Whitehair.
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