Running back David Montgomery believes that Bears players must take responsibility for their poor performance in last Sunday's 26-6 loss to the Browns.
"It can't be on the coaches to hold the players accountable," Montgomery said Thursday. "It's got to be on the players to hold the players accountable—because if you want to be as good as you want to be, it's got to be a player-driven team.
"As much as the coaches can take accountability of what happened on Sunday, the coaches weren't out there playing. It was on us as an offense, us as a team, to get the job done. The play doesn't make the play; the player makes the play. As much as it's accountability on their end, it's accountability on our end. We've got to do better as players."
Moving forward, Montgomery is convinced that the Bears possess the inner fortitude to rebound from their disappointing Week 3 defeat.
"I'm always going to be confident, regardless of what the situation may be," he said. "We have 14 games left. I think a lot of times we forget that. That's a lot of opportunities for us to showcase that we can be good once we put everything together. I'm excited and my confidence level is still high."
Injury update: For the second straight day Thursday, rookie quarterback Justin Fields (right thumb) was a full participant in practice; veteran quarterback Andy Dalton (knee) and receiver Darnell Mooney (groin) were limited; and outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot), safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (hamstring), linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) and tight end Jesse James (personal) did not practice.
Bouncing back: Fields' teammates have been impressed with how the rookie has responded following last Sunday's loss to the Browns. Under constant pressure in his first NFL start, the rookie quarterback completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards while being sacked nine times.
"When you go through a day like we went through on Sunday, that's tough on everybody, especially the quarterback and especially for your first start," said tight end Cole Kmet. "It's been cool to see his attitude towards it and him wanting to get back to work this week. I'm still excited for him. He's an unbelievable player and I think that's going to show."
"He's a very composed individual," Montgomery said. "He continues to show me how composed and calm he is under rapid-pressure situations. That's a rare thing to find in somebody so young. Even with this week, beyond the naysayers or what everyone else is saying outside the building, he's still composed. That's the biggest thing you see out of him."
Those who know Fields are confident that the first-round pick from Ohio State will rebound from what transpired in Cleveland.
"I think he'll bounce back," said cornerback Jaylon Johnson. "We all believe that. We know the type of person Justin is, the way he looks at football, his competitive nature. For us, there's no hesitation that he's going to keep bouncing back and keeping fighting for everything he wants."
Bombs away: Pat O'Donnell's 56.7-yard average on seven punts last Sunday against the Browns was his second highest in 114 career games with the Bears. The only outing that topped it was when he averaged 57.4 yards on five punts in the high altitude of Denver in a 2019 win over the Broncos.
"I thought he punted really well," said special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. "It was kind of one of those games where you had to try to flip the field position. You're going to give up some return yards when you do that, but you kind of have to weigh that, and I thought he punted well."
O'Donnell enters Week 4 ranked fourth in the NFL with a 50.2-yard gross average.
"He is playing well," Tabor said. "He's a guy who's worked on his craft for a lot of years. I just think he's getting better and better each week and he's playing with good confidence. Especially early on in the year, if you have to flip the field and the ball's going to fly, he has a big time leg."
With the Bears preparing to play the first of five October games Sunday, senior writer Larry Mayer ranks their 10 most impressive October wins over the previous 10 seasons.