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Eberflus: Bagent 'same guy as he was last week'

Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent
Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent

Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent appeared just as confident and composed at his Wednesday press conference as he did before, during and after his impressive first NFL start.

Playing in place of the injured Justin Fields last Sunday at Soldier Field, the undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University led the Bears to a 30-12 rout of the Raiders.

"He's the same guy as he was last week," said coach Matt Eberflus. "He's prepared, he's focused, he's got that determined look in his eye."

The Bears worked on first- and second-down plays Wednesday, just like they do on the first day of every practice week. Expected to again start in place of Fields, Bagent is preparing for Sunday night's game against the Chargers in Los Angeles the same way he got ready to face the Raiders.

"I just like to keep it as simple as possible," said the 23-year-old. "This week is going to be similar to last week in the sense of the reps I'm getting at practice."

Bagent performed more like a seasoned pro than an undrafted rookie versus Las Vegas, completing 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards with one touchdown, no turnovers and a 97.2 passer rating. Making quick decisions and quick throws, he was sacked only once.

"I don't think it was a surprise to anybody in this locker room or this building," said running back D'Onta Foreman. "The way he carries himself, the way he handles and goes about it, is a part of who he is. I'm looking forward to another week to see if he can build on that."

"He's just got this cool kind of swagger about him," said receiver DJ Moore. "When he comes in the huddle, he's confident, loud and makes everybody feel like, 'OK, we've got a chance to go execute on this play,' and he does that every time he steps in the huddle. Every play was pretty good last week with him and looking forward to seeing him do it again this week."

Bagent didn't throw downfield much against the Raiders but insists he possesses the arm strength to let it fly.

"I said it before, I don't really drop myself in any category of being a pocket passer, dual threat," Bagent said. "I just like to make plays for the team, and once again, whatever I'm asked to do from the coaches is what we'll get done and what will happen. I don't want to put any limits anywhere."

The Bears were back on the practice fields at Halas Hall Wednesday to continue their preparation for Sunday night's road game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Bagent grew up in Martinsburg, W. Va. He was a three-year starting quarterback in high school but wasn't heavily recruited by Division I colleges. So he enrolled at Shepherd and remained there despite having a chance to transfer to a bigger school before his final season.

Given the unique path that Bagent traveled to the NFL, his performance against the Raiders was beyond satisfying. Asked Wednesday what it meant to him, he said: "Everything."

"Everybody knows coming from where I come from," Bagent said, "both the division I came from and kind of how I grew up with not a whole lot of football resources around me, it felt good just to be able to have hard work rewarded."

While Bagent seems unfazed by the spotlight he's stepped into, he did experience one surreal moment Tuesday night.

"I was on the phone with a dude from Huntington and he said he had done a bunch of research and that I was the first West Virginia born and raised quarterback to ever start in the NFL," Bagent said. "I was sitting back on my couch like, 'Wow, that's pretty amazing.'

"It's wild to think about. You just think about how long they've been playing in the NFL, how many people have gone through the NFL. When you can still be the first to do something in this league that's been around so long and had so many people come through it, it's definitely an honor and something that's really crazy and wild to think about."