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5 things we learned from Bears assistants


Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, cornerbacks coach/passing game coordinator Jon Hoke and special teams coordinator Richard Hightower spoke to the media Friday at Halas Hall. Here are five things we learned from those sessions:

(1) Getsy was pleased with how Justin Fields performed in last Sunday's 31-26 loss to the Lions after missing the previous four games with a dislocated right thumb.

The Bears quarterback excelled in the air and on the ground in directing an offense that generated 334 total yards and 25 first downs and possessed the ball for 40:24. In his first start since Oct. 15, Fields completed 16 of 23 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown and rushed for a season-high 104 yards on 18 carries.

"I thought he did a nice job, especially with having the [layoff] and not playing ball for a little while," Getsy said. "Mentally, [he was] dialed in. Even leading up to that, two weeks prior to that, he had a chance to play so he was dialed in and ready to roll. So that part was really good. You're going against a really good football team and to be able to go out there and execute and play the way that he did, I thought he gave us a chance to win, for sure."

(2) Getsy lauded veteran Dan Feeney for stepping in at center after Lucas Patrick exited last Sunday's game with a back injury.

Feeney, a seventh-year pro, had played three snaps on offense this season before replacing Patrick briefly in the first quarter and then for the entire second half.

"I think the hardest part, honestly, is when that happens in the middle of a drive like that," Getsy said. "But Dan did an incredible job for his first crack at the thing to go out there. And against that team in that environment and all that stuff, he did an incredible job. I thought he stepped in, and we couldn't have asked for any more, to be honest with you."

The Bears acquired Feeney Aug. 29 from the Dolphins in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick. He arrived having appeared in 96 NFL games with 64 starts over six seasons with the Chargers (2017-20) and Jets (2021-22), having played center and both guard positions. The Chicago area native, who grew up in Orland Park and attended Sandburg High School, signed with the Dolphins in March.

The Bears were back on the practice fields at Halas Hall to continue their preparation for Monday night's showdown with the Vikings in Minneapolis.

(3) Hoke liked what he saw from rookie cornerback Terell Smith, who was eased back into action after missing the previous five games due to mono.

The fifth-round pick from Minnesota played 13 snaps on defense—subbing in for fellow rookie Tyrique Stevenson—and 13 snaps on special teams.

"He had played well before he got mono," Hoke said. "The plan was to get him a couple series in the game. I think it worked out exactly right. He was going to take every third series. He did a good job. He played well."

In the last three games Smith played before getting sick, he produced 21 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

The Bears like Smith's length and playmaking ability, and his playing time could expand moving forward as long as he's able to remain healthy.

(4) Hightower applauded Stevenson for forcing a fumble the Bears recovered with a big hit on a kickoff return.

The rookie second-round selection from Miami submarined return specialist Craig Reynolds, causing a fumble that linebacker DeMarquis Gates recovered at the Bears' 40. The offense converted the turnover into Fields' 38-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore, giving the Bears a 20-14 lead late in the third quarter.

"Really happy for Tyrique in that situation," Hightower said. "I would assess that takeaway as picture perfect. That was a great form tackle. He put his hat right on the ball and dislodged it. And guys were hustling to the ball. We always talk about guys hustling to the ball. Good things happen to those that run, and Gates was running on that."

Stevenson also recorded his first NFL interception in the game, meaning that he accounted for two of the Bears' season-high four takeaways.

(5) Hightower credited Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown with making a difficult catch of a high free kick to seal Detroit's victory.

On a free kick that followed a safety that gave the Lions a 31-26 lead with :22 remaining, Trenton Gill's high and short punt was secured by St. Brown, who called a fair catch while surrounded by Bears players.

Like an onside kick, the Bears could have recovered the ball after it traveled 10 yards even without a Detroit player touching it.

"We could have done a lot of different things," Hightower said. "That one we particularly liked. That's a tough ball to catch with that high, high hang time, that punt after a safety. With an onside kick situation, it is really particularly odd. So you've got to tip the cap to St. Brown. He did a good job fielding that ball. All our guys were down there around it. We're trying to make it hard for him, but you've got to tip the cap to him. He made a good play."