Andy Reid has compiled a 16-3 record in games immediately following a bye week during his head-coaching career with the Eagles and Chiefs.
Bears coach Matt Nagy witnessed that success firsthand as an assistant under Reid in both Philadelphia and Kansas City and decided to replicate the "less is more" approach.
Just like his mentor, Nagy gave Bears players the entire week off to recharge their bodies and refresh their minds. They finally returned to the practice field Monday at Halas Hall, eager to pick up where they left off before the break.
"The rest is important, and it's not always just physically, it's mentally," Nagy said. "It can be a stressful time no matter whether it's Week 4 or Week 12 that you have it. I think the rest is important, trust in your players and your coaches, and in not doing too much."
Playing only four games before their bye didn't generate enough data to draw any conclusions in terms of trends or tendencies. So Bears coaches focused mostly on preparing for Sunday's road game against the Dolphins.
"We didn't go too crazy with the self-scout part of it just because of that," Nagy said. "We went more into, 'How can we prepare for Miami?' And then, 'What are the minor things, if any, that we feel like we need to change game-plan specific?'
"There's some of that, which I'm not going to get into obviously through the media. But I think we're in a good place right now and—knock on wood—we're pretty healthy. Mentally, we're in a good place. Physically, we're in a good place. So, now, it's just a matter of, 'Hey, this is the first quarter of the season. We still have three quarters left.'"
With the extra time the bye week affords coaches to study tape, there's a temptation to make changes. But that's not always the prudent thing to do.
"When you have that extra week, it's so easy to go crazy and just start thinking you can do this, this and this, and then all of a sudden this, this and this doesn't work," Nagy said. "So I think it's really just a belief and trust system with the players, the coaches and then when you do come back like today, you have a good practice and you don't just go through it in slow motion, you go through it full speed."
The Bears return from their bye week in first place in the NFC North with a 3-1 record. After losing a 20-0 lead in a 24-23 season-opening defeat to the Packers, they've won three straight games for the first time since 2013.
"The belief starts happening and the trust starts happening when you play these games and the adversity strikes," Nagy said. "I've been talking about adversity and the peaks and valleys of what happens throughout the season, and trying to teach our guys and our coaches how to respond to it as it hits. Week 1, it hit right away. It mentally toughened us up a little bit.
"For me, I think the biggest thing right now is creating this identity as a team of who we are and learning through the process when you lose, how to respond with a win, and then when you win, how to respond with a win. Now we'll see how we'll respond after a bye."