With the entire preseason cancelled due to COVID-19, the Bears held a dress rehearsal for the regular season via a two-hour scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field.
Just as they would for a game, the players warmed up on the field, headed back into the locker room and then ran out of the tunnel. Although the plays were scripted, there were four timed quarters and a 12-minute halftime. All that was missing was fans in the stands. But the Bears will open the season without any spectators at Soldier Field because of the coronavirus.
"Today what we were looking for was really a dry run for everybody," said coach Matt Nagy, "from the coaches up in the booth to seeing how that setup is—it's different this year—to the coaches on the sideline, to the noise, the volume of the music and then how it drops to the certain decibels, and just understanding the levels that we had there.
"Running on and off the field for the players, their conditioning for the coaches, calling in plays, from headset to quarterback [and] headset to linebacker, just the whole communication process. That's why the preseason is so great. So really the mechanics and the logistics of how we did today was probably the biggest thing."
Nagy praised the communication between head trainer Andre Tucker and the coaches.
"Andre Tucker did a really good job of keeping me informed," Nagy said. "Our coordinators, same thing, making sure we don't get guys that cramp up too much and we don't come out of here with too many injuries."
While players wore pads, there was no live tackling.
"We did all 'thud' today," Nagy said. "[The players] did a really good job of staying up. As much as they want to tackle and go live, you hate seeing when guys get rolled into, and they did a good job with that."
Nagy was elated that outside linebacker Robert Quinn participated in team drills for the first time in training camp. The veteran free-agent addition showed his pass-rush ability, producing two plays that likely would have resulted in sacks in a game.
"I thought it was good seeing Robert out there," Nagy said. "I thought he had a couple nice plays. That's why he's here, is to be able to do that. We like being able to see '52' (Khalil Mack) and '94' (Quinn) on the edges going after the quarterback."
Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller recorded the only two interceptions in the scrimmage, both on Mitchell Trubisky passes. But Nagy didn't place much blame on Trubisky, noting that there were other factors involved on the two plays.
"The two picks with Kyle, I want to start off by saying Kyle Fuller has had a tremendous camp, I mean, a really, really good camp," Nagy said.
"The first one was more of a scramble breakdown where we've been getting on the guys in the quarterback room to, 'Let's always remember if a play is not there, if you get sacked because they're not hitting you live, extend the play and give the guys a chance to finish,' and that's kind of what that first one was. So you've got to take a little bit of that into account.
"The second one was tipped [by Roy Robertson-Harris]. We had a couple tipped balls. Remember this: we are not allowed to cut [block] on offense, the defensive players. So a lot of times you can get their hands down with cutting and we had a couple tipped. I talked to [defensive line] coach Jay Rodgers a little bit and said, 'We can't cut you, so be careful with all the tips.' The second one was a tip that was up in the air, but to their credit they tipped it and Kyle made a play."
With Eddy Piñeiro still sidelined due to a groin injury, fellow kicker Cairo Santos made all of the field goals and extra points he attempted Saturday.
"He did a pretty good job," Nagy said. "That's all we ask for in that situation is for him to make kicks, and then wherever Eddy's at, he's able to go ahead and get that bad boy as strong as he can get it, and then we've got to make a decision based off of that."