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3 things we learned from Bears coordinators

Bears coordinators Luke Getsy, Alan Williams and Richard Hightower
Bears coordinators Luke Getsy, Alan Williams and Richard Hightower

Bears coordinators Luke Getsy (offense), Alan Williams (defense) and Richard Hightower (special teams) spoke to reporters Thursday at Halas Hall. Here are three things we learned from those sessions:

(1) Getsy considers the success the offense has had on its opening possessions this season a group effort.

The Bears have produced points on their first drive in 11 of 15 games this year, tallying three touchdowns and eight field goals.

"There's a lot of factors that go into it," Getsy said. "It's the effort and the preparation that the guys put into the week. It's the coaches; they do a great job of preparing their guys and coming up with great ideas, and the guys hold each other accountable. It's a reflection of a good process as you go through your week, and the guys are doing a really good job with that."

Like most teams, the Bears script their first set of plays.

"The guys know going into the game what your lead thoughts are on first and second down," Getsy said. "They know what your lead thoughts are on third down. And they know what your lead thoughts are in the gold zone when you hit different situations."

The Bears have scored on their first possession in six of their last seven games. That includes last Saturday against the Bills, when they overcame a holding penalty on Larry Borom that nullified David Montgomery's 1-yard touchdown run. Three plays later, Justin Fields threw a 6-yard TD pass to Dante Pettis on third-and-goal.

"That's the no-blink mindset," Getsy said. "It doesn't matter if you stick together. Those things are going to happen. Adversity happens, and when you have a penalty on the 1-yard line, that's some serious adversity, for sure.

"I thought that was a really good job by those guys, getting back on the ball, getting half of it back on the very next play and giving yourself an opportunity, getting to third down where it's a manageable situation where you can actually get in there and score."

(2) Williams isn't surprised that cornerback Kyler Gordon is beginning to blossom into a playmaker late in his rookie season.

The second-round pick from Washington has registered interceptions in each of the last two games and also recovered a fumble two weeks ago against the Eagles.

"It's a process of feeling comfortable," Williams said. "It's a process of the routine. It's a process of getting familiar with the calls and what you're doing and banking the reps from each week. Each week you see him just getting a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better.

"And in the NFL, it's a game of inches, so if you can get a little bit better each week, you start to become yourself. When I say you start to become yourself, you stop thinking about, 'hey, where am I putting my feet, where am I putting my eyes?' and you start to play a little bit less of, 'hey, I'm just carrying out my assignments' to, 'oh, coach said they're lining up in this formation, this is what they do and this is my play to make.' You start to make that transition. I think little by little, he's doing that. Then you see a better product, a faster product."

Williams hinted that when Gordon leaped to intercept a Josh Allen pass last Saturday versus Buffalo, not every Bears defender was in the correct coverage.

"Sometimes you do the wrong thing [and] you stumble into something," Williams said. "All I can say is that he dropped at the right angle that he thought he should and the quarterback threw the ball, and sometimes when you're not paint-by-numbers, you can be in the right place.

"The one thing that I would say was, though, we've been preaching going up, getting the ball, hands working together, high-pointing it. He went up and got it. [I] was happy to see that he turned the ball over."

(3) Hightower was pleased with how the Bears performed on special teams against the Bills, especially the kickoff return unit.

Rookie Velus Jones Jr. averaged 28.3 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 40-yarder.

"The thing that jumped out to me was the attention to detail and the focus that the guys had from the start," Hightower said. "It's something we wanted to emphasize prior to the week before, so what stood out to me is that the guys were really locked in. You didn't have to tell them who to block, and if this happens, we were going to change this or that. They already knew all of that when we got in the huddle and then it was just about them executing and knowing that if we got an opportunity, we could make a play.

"Matt Adams had a couple key blocks. KB (Khari Blasingame) was outstanding as well. Darrynton [Evans] did a phenomenal job, along with Elijah Hicks. Those guys have been really dropping to their landmarks with a sense of urgency and getting on their guys. And Velus has been doing a good job of attacking, stemming the returns in the proper way to help his blockers and attacking downhill. We just have to keep doing that, and hopefully we can put the offense in a better position or put one in the end zone."

Hightower also lauded how kicker Cairo Santos, punter Trenton Gill and long-snapper Patrick Scales dealt with frigid, windy conditions. The temperature at kickoff was nine degrees, with winds of 26 miles per hour dropping the wind chill to minus-12.

"I thought they did an outstanding job with the weather, with the conditions," Hightower said. "I think their mindset was that way from the jump. A lot has been said about the weather and how the guys responded. The guys did an outstanding job on that, they really did.

"Something that's interesting that you guys won't know because he won't say it, but I'll say it for him is that 'Flus' (coach Matt Eberflus) was on top of that early in the week. He wanted that to be a point of emphasis. And I think when you have a head coach who gives you the vision and now you take it to the guys, then the guys can see the vision.

"I thought that helped Cairo. I thought that helped Trenton Gill. I thought it helped Pat Scales, who had one of his best games in that weather that he's had. And it really helped the coverage units and the return units to know exactly what to expect, to be ready for it and then to go out and execute in the way they did."

The Bears practiced inside the Walter Payton Center Wednesday afternoon to continue preparing for their New Year's Day matchup with the Detroit Lions.

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