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Fields urges offense to match defense's energy

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

Acknowledging after Wednesday's practice that the defense "definitely won the day," Justin Fields told reporters that he delivered a message to his offensive teammates.

While pleased with the unit's progress in training camp, the Bears quarterback encouraged members of the offense to match the energy their defensive counterparts bring to the practice field.

"I think we're in a good spot right now," Fields said. "I think the biggest thing we need to do is be more consistent, and I think today in practice we came out probably a little flat. 

"I just talked to the guys after practice. Every little win that we have on the field, we just need to have energy about it because energy is contagious. That's one thing I think the defense does well is every little thing they do well, the DBs are always hyping stuff up. They're always [yelling] 'ahhhhhh,' and that just gets the whole defense going. I told the offense today that we just need to have that same juice as the defense did.

"I feel that the defense came out and they competed well with us. I would say that they definitely won the day. We have an off day tomorrow, but the next day the offense has to come back stronger."

The first and second units struggled to move the ball Wednesday until a late two-minute drill in which Fields completed six straight passes to running back Trestan Ebner, receivers Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool and tight end Cole Kmet to set up a field goal in an end-of-the-first half situation.

Fields said the offense needs to stop making easy plays harder than they need to be. 

"We definitely had a couple drops out there," he said. "I missed a couple throws out there. We had a bumpy practice, but in two-minute we came back and bounced back, and I was proud of the guys for that. Every practice isn't going to be perfect. It's really good to actually have days like this, just to see how guys respond to a little bit of adversity. I think the guys definitely had more juice toward the end of practice. I just wanted them to have that the whole time; start off with the same juice."

Check out Tuesday's action from the fields at Halas Hall during the Bears' first padded practice of the 2023 season, which featured notable appearances by former head coach Dave Wannstedt and personal trainer Tim Grover.

The defense intercepted four passes in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Wednesday, but three of them—by cornerbacks Tyrique Stevenson and Jaylon Jones and safety Jaquan Brisker—deflected off receivers. The other pick came on an impressive individual effort by nickel back Kyler Gordon along the sideline.

After every impact play, members of the defense vociferously expressed their thoughts to their offensive counterparts.

"It's good that the defense is chirping at us because teams are going to do that," Fields said. "I just want to see our guys chirp back at them. When we have a good play, even every little win, we chirp back at them and then it's just that competitive spirit going back and forth between us. That's going to do nothing but make us better."

Fields typically lets his play speak for itself but indicated he plans to engage in conversation when warranted. 

"I usually never initiate the trash talk," he said. "[But] best believe if the defense is going to talk trash at me first and we do something good, I'm going to talk a little bit of trash back." 

On Wednesday, Fields had only positive things to say about an improved defense, praising coordinator Alan Williams.

"They're doing a way better job this year hiding their coverage," Fields said. "They've done a really good job of that. I really think that's the biggest thing, showing man tells and playing zone, stuff like that. They're doing a good job of switching it up and really scheming to our offense. That's why I think our offense is getting great work doing that. Alan and the defense have definitely taken it up a step. It's not going to do anything but make our offense better and challenge our offense."