Monday night's 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings led to some impassioned speeches in the Bears postgame locker room.
After the game, coach Matt Nagy said that he wouldn't go into details about who spoke or what was said other than that he found the discussion encouraging. Safety Eddie Jackson identified himself as one of the speakers.
"You see guys coming off the field with their head down," said Jackson, "no one says something, no one says nothing to them. That has to change if you see somebody holding his head. We're a team. It's not going to go perfect. You see these [last] four weeks. It's not going to be perfect, so if you see a guy with his head down, 'lift your head up, come on, next play.' Have that mindset, that next play mentality that no matter how bad it gets, we're going to continue to fight."
On Tuesday, Nagy praised the efforts of the All-Pro safety to galvanize a team that enters its bye week on a four-game losing streak.
"That's what leaders do," said Nagy. "We talked about 'leaders create leaders.' Well, he's being a leader after the game at a tough moment where we're all pretty emotional, we're all pretty frustrated, we're all pretty pissed off."
Jackson felt that veteran leadership on the team has been too quiet in light of the team's recent struggles and that it was his responsibility to motivate his teammates.
"We got a lot of guys on both sides of the ball that can speak up," said Jackson, "that has a powerful voice but feel kind of afraid to use it. You can't be afraid to use your voice. If you're a leader on this team, guys look up to you. You got to use it, regardless what coach thinks or whatever or whoever thinks, you got to use your voice. You got to hold each other accountable."
Nagy emphasized Jackson's chosen theme of accountability. Both coach and player expanded that concept beyond performance on the field.
"There's the emotional element too on the sideline," said Nagy. "When things are going well, where are you? And when things are going bad, where are you? I think that's what he was getting to. Regardless of what side you play on, with him being a leader on defense, I think it speaks to him to be able to talk to our team and then, specifically, to our offense, and say 'listen, here's where we're at. We got your back.'"
Nagy said that, as a head coach, he has to be careful about how often he hits the same areas, worrying that overuse of some tactics may lead players to tune him out. For that reason, he appreciates Jackson's focus on holding his teammates accountable for their play and attitudes.
"A player at Eddie's magnitude, when they talk, I think that [means] ten times as much as what I say," said Nagy. "I hope that some of our players take that to heart and understand where he's coming from. I want more of that. I love that. I want more of it. It's not an attack personally. It's task related. That's what I liked about it."