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5 things we learned from Bears coordinators

Bears coordinators Luke Getsy (offense), Alan Williams (defense) and Richard Hightower (special teams)
Bears coordinators Luke Getsy (offense), Alan Williams (defense) and Richard Hightower (special teams)

Bears coordinators Luke Getsy (offense), Alan Williams (defense) and Richard Hightower (special teams) spoke to the media Thursday in advance of Sunday's season opener against the 49ers. Here are five things we learned from their sessions:

(1) Getsy has three main goals for the offense in Week 1.

"When you put the tape on, you want to see guys that are firing off the football, that are finishing—playing the play longer than everybody else—and then we're taking care of the football," Getsy said. "We sit on those three principles; pretty much every single day we hit on those and we're about those three things. So if we can see those three things, we feel like we've got a chance."

Exhibiting that type of mentality is more important to Getsy than setting numerical goals.

"I genuinely am excited to put our play style on film," Getsy said. "We talk about that in our room about how we want that film to look. Not putting an expectation of a thousand yards in a game or 60 points in a game or something crazy or anything like that. We want the play style to be right, we want the mindset to be right, we want to take care of the football. We're going to do all those things, be great situationally. We're staying pretty focused on our main goals, our main philosophy."

(2) Getsy's expectations for quarterback Justin Fields will be no different Sunday than they've been in practice and preseason games.

"We expect him to be a great teammate, take care of the football and execute his assignments, just like we ask everybody else," Getsy said. "The cool part about him is he's got those natural leadership skills that everybody wants to follow, and he's a winner. So we're excited to see what it all looks like with everybody, 11 as one."

Fields insisted Wednesday that he derives motivation from playing for his teammates and coaches and not from being passed up in last year's draft by Sunday's opponent, the 49ers.

"He's a self-motivator," Getsy said. "He doesn't need me or somebody else to dangle a carrot in front of him. He really doesn't. This guy is self-motivated. He wants to be great. He wants to own everything that he's responsible for and everything he's part of.

"Being a self-starter is maybe not normal for the world, but this dude, he attacks every single day like, 'I've got to do everything I possibly can to own what I'm about to do next.' Just the consistency that he brings every single day is really impressive."

(3) Williams is confident that rookies Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker and Dominique Robinson will transfer how they've performed in practice to Sunday's game.

"All three guys practice well," said the Bears defensive coordinator. "They've assimilated into the defense well. The unknown is actually going out to see the play in a ballgame. But the way they've prepared, the way they've practiced has been really good."

Williams feels that Gordon possesses a "very steady personality" that enables the second-round cornerback from Washington to remain even-keeled through highs and lows.

"We call it being emotionally stable," Williams said. "There may be a play when you miss a tackle. There may be a play where you intercept the ball. You still want to stay stable because the ballgame is a long ballgame. There are ebbs and flows."

Brisker, a second-round safety from Penn State, missed the final two preseason games after hurting his thumb in the first contest. But he never doubted he'd return for Sunday's season opener.

"That's a good thing when a player like that knows his body," Williams said. "That's what we ask the guys to do. We say, 'hey, you're a professional. No one has been with your body longer than you have. Get to know your body. Get to know how you function.' It's good to see he is a mentally tough kid."

(4) Williams isn't concerned that linebacker Roquan Smith didn't see any preseason action.

The two-time second-team All-Pro missed the first two preseason games during a "sit-in" stemming from a contract impasse, then sat out the finale after experiencing tightness during pregame warmups.

"He would tell you he knows he'll be ready to go and there is no concern with him not [playing] in the preseason," Williams said. "That happens from time to time, and it's going to happen to most guys that are playing football. It's a violent sport and it's a very demanding sport on the body, so there's going to be times when you may not be able to play in the preseason.

"The one thing that a professional does is they prepare themselves—even though they may not get on the field—through walkthroughs, through watching tape. They're getting themselves ready, and he's no different."

(5) Hightower has high hopes for second-year pro Khalil Herbert, who showed a suddenness and burst returning kickoffs last season.

The 2021 sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech averaged 24.1 yards on 27 kickoffs with a long of 50 yards last year as a rookie.

"Does a really nice job catching the football," Hightower said. "Has done a nice job protecting the football throughout his career. Really he's made some big plays and big returns. He's a joy to be around and he's really, really smart and really cares. When you have that combination with talent, then you have a chance to play smart sound and relentless every week."

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