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Eberflus marvels at Fields' speed, strength | Quick Hits


Matt Eberflus knew that Justin Fields was fast and athletic, but the Bears quarterback is even more explosive in person than the coach thought.

The second-year pro, who set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular-season game with 178 last Sunday against the Dolphins, has reached 20 miles per hour on four runs over the last three weeks, tied with Jaguars running back Travis Etienne for most in the league.

"You see some of those plays from the field level and watch what he does to pull away from people, I think that's pretty special," Eberflus said. "He's certainly a lot faster when you see it in person than I thought, for sure."

Fields' speed isn't the only trait that has surprised Eberflus.

"He's strong," said the Bears coach. "That's what I didn't know. I didn't know how strong he was in terms of hanging in the pocket, being able to move guys off of him and be able to stay alive."

Welcome back: Bears linebacker Matt Adams returned to practice Wednesday, beginning a 21-day window to activate him off injured reserve.

The five-year veteran has been sidelined since exiting a Week 5 loss to the Vikings with a calf injury. Adams appeared in three of the Bears' first four games of the season, all as a reserve, playing primarily on special teams. He has recorded six tackles on defense and one on special teams.

Adams signed with the Bears in April after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Colts, contributing mostly on special teams. During that time, Eberflus was Indianapolis' defensive coordinator.

Taken aback: Eberflus was asked how he felt about the Colts firing coach Frank Reich Monday and replacing him with former Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, who has never coached at the college or pro levels.

"I will say that I was a little taken aback by what happened there because obviously Frank's a very good friend of mine," said Eberflus, who spent all four of his seasons in Indianapolis working on Reich's staff.

"I really enjoyed my time with him. He certainly helped me professionally as a man, as a coach, and I can't say enough good things about Frank Reich. I love him to death. He's a great, dear friend of mine."

Eberflus added that he feels empathy for the Colts assistant coaches, many of whom he worked with, saying: "I know it's hard and my heart goes out to those guys and just hopefully they'll have some wisdom and stay strong."

This week's captain: Eberflus revealed that fullback Khari Blasingame will serve as the Bears' honorary captain for Sunday's home game versus the Lions.

In his first season with the Bears, Blasingame is part of an offense that ranks No. 1 in the NFL in rushing, averaging a robust 195.4 yards per game.

"He's been a great teammate," Eberflus said. "He's done a lot of sacrifice in his position, leading the way for a lot of things in the running game."

When Blasingame was signed in March after spending his first three NFL seasons with the Titans, he became the first true fullback on the Bears roster since Michael Burton in 2018.

"It's an important piece for us," Eberflus said. "I think I talked about it maybe in training camp about how important to have a fullback is because it changes you as a defensive team or coach. It changes you because it creates another gap, and the ability to have those guys in there.

"Most teams play base defense to that. Most teams like to be in nickel because that's what they practice most of the time, so it's an unpracticed group that you use for defensive players. He's done great in terms of his lead blocking, his physicality. He's exactly what we stand for here at Chicago."

Injury update: Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee), cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) and safety Dane Cruikshank (illness) did not practice Wednesday. Cornerback Josh Blackwell (knee) was limited.

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