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Fields: Bears have 'improved tremendously in all phases'


There's little resemblance between the Bears team that lost to the Packers 38-20 in Week 1 and the one that will travel to Green Bay for Sunday's season finale.

The Bears have won five of their last seven games and four of their last five behind an offense that has scored at least 26 points in four of its last six outings and a defense that leads the NFL in interceptions and rushing yards allowed.

"I think we've improved tremendously in all phases," said quarterback Justin Fields. "That's players and coaches. We've grown a lot as a team. Our chemistry has grown with each other. Excited to go out there and ball out."

The camaraderie that has been created is evident on and off the field.

"You've got a bunch of guys in this locker room that's now considering each other brothers," said cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. "We're all definitely locked in and definitely understand that we all want one goal and that's to win every single game that we go out there and play together."

Fields believes the close bond among Bears players is unusual in pro football.

"Just how tight-knit we are, how we've grown over the season, it feels like almost a college locker room where you pretty much live within a 10-minute radius of all the guys, you're always hanging out and stuff like that," Fields said.

"The chemistry that we have, the closeness that we have within our group is amazing to see and it's rare in the NFL. So I'm definitely grateful for all of the relationships and connections I've made with all of my teammates this year, so it's just been awesome."

Injury update: Tight end Cole Kmet (knee) and cornerback Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday.

"They just needed another day with the trainers to get ready," said coach Matt Eberflus. "We'll see where it is. It's looking positive. We'll see where it is when we get through the week."

Receiver Darnell Mooney remains in concussion protocol and did not practice. Long-snapper Patrick Scales (foot) and quarterback Tyson Bagent (illness) also sat out.

As a precaution, the Bears on Wednesday signed long-snapper Matt Overton to their practice squad. Overton has appeared in 139 NFL games over 10 years with the Colts (2012-16), Jaguars (2017-18), Titans (2020), Chargers (2021) and Cowboys (2022).

"We'll see where Scales is as we go through the week," Eberflus said. "We're hopeful that it looks good, but we'll see where it goes from there."

After missing the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL he sustained during the preseason, Scales has played in all 98 games with the Bears since 2018.

The Bears were back on the practice fields at Halas Hall as they continue preparing to close out the 2023 season against the Packers in Green Bay.

Roster moves: In addition to signing Overton, the Bears on Wednesday signed receiver Collin Johnson to the active roster and waived linebacker DeMarquis Gates.

Johnson has played in the last two games, catching one pass for 11 yards in last Sunday's win over the Falcons.

About us: Eberflus insisted that the chance to eliminate the rival Packers from playoff contention Sunday is not providing any extra motivation for the Bears.

"We're going to keep it about us," Eberflus said. "There's always that factor of, 'Hey, it's an important game for them, for sure. It's an important game for us, for sure.' We're going to leave it at that. It's a rival, and we're excited about going up there and playing some football."

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