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Bears offense produces 'bounceback practice' Friday | Quick Hits

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After an intense practice Wednesday when the Bears defense walked away with the upper hand, the offense showed up to Friday's workout with a different energy.

"I thought the offense responded," coach Matt Eberflus said, "came back and did a nice job at practice today executing in those areas. That was good to see a good bounceback practice for those guys."

While Friday was more of a "red" day for the Bears, meaning less reps and more time in between reps, Eberflus was pleased with how the offense executed during various red zone, two-minute or fourth down situations.

During team drills Friday, whether it was one-on-ones or full 11-on-11, the offense celebrated each play they won. Quarterback Justin Fields and receiver Chase Claypool often brought the energy by high-fiving or chest-bumping their teammates. 

Eberflus also noted that the defense played with a lot of energy and passion Wednesday and succeeded at taking the ball away, adding: "Everyone was on the same page; all 11 at the same time, playing with that hammer mentality." After that practice, Eberflus said he spoke with the team and reinforced the importance of responding well to adversity as well as success, asking: "Do you lay off or do you just pour it on?"

"You're going to have days where one side一 sometimes it's going to be pretty equal, which it is most days一 but there's gonna be some days where one side dominates the other a little bit, or wins most of the periods or wins most of the plays," Eberflus said. "That's gonna happen. That's going to happen in the course of a game. So, it's important how we respond both to success and adversity."

Ngakoue adds "more juice" to defense

Safety Eddie Jackson lit up with a smile when talking to reporters about the addition of veteran defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who signed a one-year deal with the Bears Friday. 

"It's just getting scarier and scarier," Jackson said. "You're just adding more talent and more talent. When that starts to mesh together, I mean, everyone in here has seen what's going to happen. When you've got a lot of large group of talented players and people that are actually locked in and really love football, that's just more fuel to the fire. We feel like, 'OK we just keep taking it up a notch.' Now we added him, It's like, 'oh man, it's up,' like this thing is headed in the right direction."

Jackson said he woke up to a text from safety Jaquan Brisker about the report of Ngakoue's signing, then texted back: "It's up." 

The signing has sent a wave of excitement through the entire defense, but the secondary in particular is eager to have that new and experienced presence up front to use it to their advantage.

"That's a huge difference, man," Jackson said. "When you got that rush, the quarterback ain't got the time to sit back there and pat the ball all day. Just to have that pressure up front, man, it helps us a lot in the back end. We get to capitalize off of that as well."

Even prior to Ngakoue joining the Bears, Jackson has felt a unique energy from the defense this training camp. Wednesday's practice was a good indicator to the seventh-year pro that things are different this year. Jackson said while the defensive players will always bring the "energy and juice to practice" and enjoy talking and riling the offense up, he knows that unit has some "silent assassins" who "go out there and do it with their play."

Jackson's excitement about this year's defense stems from seeing everyone play free and lean on each other throughout camp, saying he "can feel the culture change, feel the culture shift."

"We on fire, man," Jackson said. "We really flying around. We really getting it. No one is complaining. Everyone is locked in buying into it and everybody is trying to get better. Everyone is competing. No one is complaining. When you got that, I feel like it's always headed in the right direction."

Johnson back at practice

Running back Roschon Johnson returned to practice Friday after missing time with an undisclosed injury, telling reporters "it felt good" to be back ono the field and "be full-go." 

Johnson, the Bears fourth-round pick, said he "hated every second" of being out and not having the opportunity to get his feet wet. While the Texas product hasn't had a lot of time to showcase his talents early on in training camp, he's confident his contributions will be felt throughout his rookie season. 

"I know the talent that I possess, and I know what my capabilities are," Johnson said. "I know I'm more than capable of providing for this team. So it's just a matter of learning the system, being able to play faster and learning the nuances of the system so I can go out there and not think and just play and have my body take over."

Even during his time away from practice, Johnson has been able to learn from the other running backs like veteran D'Onta Foreman, who is entering his sixth NFL season. 

"There's been a lot of different things, as far as how he kind of grasps the system and he takes things and learns," Johnson said. "How he makes the systems stick to his brain. The reps, really just getting reps. That's the main thing. Just putting yourself in the fire and seeing how you respond. Seeing what you did do good and what you didn't do good. I think he does a good job of that."

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