Bears coordinators Luke Getsy (offense), Alan Williams (defense) and Richard Hightower (special teams) spoke to the media Friday in advance of Monday's game against the Patriots. Here are five things we learned from their sessions:
(1) Getsy isn't surprised the offensive line is having more success run blocking than pass blocking.
"I mean pass blocking is one of the hardest tasks in this league," Getsy said. "I don't care, look at it across any position. The defensive line in this league is like, just, they're amazing players. They really are. They make it so hard. So pass pro is like, I would imagine most evaluators don't even watch run blocking as much because pass pro is so hard. So, no. That's why you have to run the ball. That's why you have to use play [action] pass to help alleviate some of that.
"And then when you get into the obvious passing downs, we have to find different ways to kind of keep them accountable and not just let them run off the ball as fast as you can. We've got an unbelievable task again this week with what we're going to face up front."
Getsy said pass protection is even harder on traditional five- or seven-step dropback pass plays compared to quick pass plays like RPOs. With the latter, offensive linemen are the aggressors and can get their hands on the defender on the snap of the ball. On dropbacks, they're retreating while a defensive lineman is running at them.
"So now you have [this] freak of an athlete that can play corner, but he's playing defensive end at 270 pounds," Getsy said. "Now you have a guy that can bull rush you, he can misdirect you. To me, that's an incredible task for any offensive lineman. I've always been so impressed by how hard of a task that is and [how] they're able to do it so well."
The Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields Thursday afternoon for their first practice of the week ahead of Monday night's road game against the Patriots.
(2) Getsy believes game experience will help quarterback Justin Fields with his internal clock management.
"The experience of playing the position is the only way you get that," Getsy said. "You can't simulate what it feels like to have those guys around you, the timing and trying to read coverage, make sure you have the protection in the right way, where's your weakness in the protection, all that stuff going through your mind and being prepared for the play and going through the progression. You can't simulate that to that level."
Getsy said he's seen improvement in the area from Fields each week and expects it to keep progressing with practice and game reps. When it comes to giving Fields feedback between possessions, Getsy and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko help the second-year pro reset.
"It's just a reminder, it's just a conversation," Getsy said. "He talks to Andrew after every single drive immediately and then usually when everything calms down, we figure out something, and then I usually go to him next and we just have good conversations. It's just reminders."
Williams said defensive end Robert Quinn doesn't need to put pressure on himself to get going.
Through six games Quinn has recorded just one sack, seven total tackles and two quarterback hits.
While the three-time Pro Bowler's big-play production is limited, he's still been an integral part of the defense, playing at least 63 percent of snaps in each game this season. Williams said the most important thing for Quinn is to not pay attention to the outside noise and stick to his fundamentals.
"Look at the tape and see 'hey, why aren't you [creating big plays]?' And then when you start to press and start to create sacks or production as a whole – could be interceptions, could be tackles, whatever that is – I think in football if you do your job, they'll come to you," Williams said.
"If you do it fast, if you do it hard, if you're [attentive[ to the details, they'll come, and they'll usually come in bunches. But I would say for him, and we've talked about this, don't press. It'll come to you. He's a good enough player that they'll come."
(4) Hightower doesn't anticipate Velus Jones Jr.'s confidence to waiver following his second muffed punt last Thursday vs. the Commanders.
"He just wants to do well for his team," Hightower said. "Obviously, he had a couple struggles. He's a rookie. All rookies struggle. He struggled a little bit more than he'd probably like – more than anybody would like. But I think he'll be fine. He'll be fine. He was good in meetings. He's been good. He's been working extra. I'm not worried about anything in terms of his confidence, but obviously he wants to do a better job for the team."
Hightower said the biggest coaching point on the rookie's fumble vs. Washington is to "get your feet to the spot before the ball comes down and get settled."
"Anytime you see a returner [whose] feet are moving as the ball comes down – we call them happy feet, his feet want to be settled so that he can be underneath it and either slide left or right or come forward and get it," Hightower said. "If a guy's feet aren't in position when the ball is coming down, usually you have an issue."
While Hightower trusts Jones to keep working and improve, he also knows mistakes are common among rookies and some young players "have to fail their way to success."
(5) Hightower values safety Eddie Jackson's leadership on special teams.
While the coordinator declined to say who will return punts in Monday night's game, Hightower did mention a few players in the competition which included rookie cornerback Josh Blackwell, receiver Dante Pettis and Jackson.
The veteran safety was a standout punt returner during his senior year at Alabama in 2016, when he returned 11 punts for 253 yards and two touchdowns. However, it's Jackson's willingness to help out on special teams as a veteran that Hightower is impressed with.
"I know every time we do drill work, he's back there running down as a gunner trying to help the young guys, or he's back there catching them himself," Hightower said. "He does a lot of work that people don't see outside of defense to help young guys. I think he's a tremendous leader and he's having a really good season. He's a really good guy to have here. I've really enjoyed coaching Eddie."