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Familiarity with offense paying dividends for Bears

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy
Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy

Even after just two training camp practices, one thing is crystal clear to Luke Getsy.

The Bears offensive coordinator feels that players returning for a second season in the offense are more familiar and comfortable with the system than they were a year ago.

"That's probably bigger in the meeting room," Getsy said Thursday at Halas Hall. "Last year we tried to keep it pretty direct. Now we're using our brains a little bit more, so we're trying to get a little crazier. We're trying to have a little bit more fun with things. 

"And then the coolest part—the most important part—is that these guys are starting to take ownership of it, so it's theirs. It's not what I just said in the room and they're robots. They're out there putting their flavor on it, which is the most important thing when you want to have success."

Getsy compared the progression of the offense from Year 1 to 2 to erecting a brand-new house.

"You build the foundation first, and then as you keep building the house, you get the fancy things that get to go with it," he said. "We're in that process. We're still in the early phases of it, but we're building towards that. That's probably the best analogy I can give you."

In his second year in the system, quarterback Justin Fields has made improvements with his footwork, going through his progressions and communicating in the huddle.

"It's fun to be able to talk deeper into the concepts and stuff," Getsy said. "And I think having those next level conversations with Justin makes everything look like he's more comfortable with what we're doing."

Fields performed well in practice again Thursday. For the second straight day, his best throw resulted in a long completion down the right sideline to receiver DJ Moore, who beat tight coverage. The Bears practiced outside in steamy conditions Thursday after working out inside the Walter Payton Center Wednesday due to poor air quality.

While Fields and Moore are in their first season as teammates, they worked together throughout the offseason at Halas Hall and trained together with other teammates in Florida. As a result, they've already developed chemistry.

"It's simplified right now, but it's good that they're able to be on the same page," Getsy said. "As we continue to grow and things start to get a little bit more complicated with the looks that you're getting and the offense we have in, we've just got to make sure that we continue to keep that pace. But they spent a lot of time together in the offseason and the summertime, too, so I feel good about where they're at." 

Another player who looks more comfortable in his second season in the offense is receiver Velus Jones Jr., a 2022 third-round pick from Tennessee. 

"You can see it when he breaks the huddle," Getsy said. "Last year it was like, 'Am I even going left or right the correct way?' [Now] he's breaking the huddle, he's lining up. He's getting in his spot and he's doing his assignments at a much higher rate. All that stuff, you can see it in his game."

The Bears took the fields in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Halas Hall for the first public Enjoy Illinois Training Camp practice.