Two days after dropping their second straight game, Bears veterans on Tuesday revealed that they plan to hold a players-only meeting in the very near future.
“I think that’s huge,” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “I think that’s when guys can really be transparent and genuine, and it’s a safe place. Guys can say what they feel and other guys can hear it. I don’t think anyone’s going to take it personal. I think guys are going to really listen and take it to heart.”
The meeting will be conducted in part to ensure that Bears players remain positive and on the same page. Though the defense has outperformed the offense since the beginning of last season, there hasn’t been any fissures between the two units.
“We’re a team that’s not pointing the finger; we point the thumb,” Amukamara said. “And we have thick skin. Guys aren’t afraid to call other guys out, and I’m thankful that we have that kind of camaraderie.”
After Sunday’s 36-25 loss to the Saints, coach Matt Nagy spoke about remaining positive, fighting through adversity and putting on horse-blinders and earmuffs to ignore negative things been said about the team.
“You just can’t listen to all the noise on the outside,” said right tackle Bobby Massie. “Everybody on the outside of this building, they’re taking shots at us, rightfully so. But as a team, we just have to stay together and keep working hard. Just keep grinding. Turn the ship around.”
Full support: Much of that outside noise has involved criticism of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who struggled in his return to action against the Saints after missing one start with a left-shoulder injury. But his teammates remain in his corner.
“We’re behind him 100 percent of the way,” Massie said. “He’s our quarterback. That’s our guy. There are a lot of things getting thrown at him right now. We just [need to] keep the pocket clean and give him time to make decisions and make his throws.”
Nagy revealed that Trubisky’s biggest issue against the Saints was that poor footwork led to inaccurate throws. It’s something the Bears no doubt will focus on correcting when they return to the practice field Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s home game against the Chargers.
“When you go back through the film and watched it this morning, he has some positive plays,” said receiver Taylor Gabriel. “And even on the negative plays, it’s something he can fix. It’s not something that’s like, ‘Aw man, I can’t fix that.’ It’s something that’s fixable.
“As long as you can go back and just grind together I feel like we’ll be OK. A win heals all wounds. Just imagine if we win Sunday; the narrative will be different. As long as we go out this week and grind and keep our blinders on like Nagy said, I feel like we’ll be OK.”
Smart move: Tuesday has traditionally always been a day off for NFL players. But since Nagy became coach last season, Bears players have been given Monday off and then return to work Tuesday.
“[Monday] we had off, [Tuesday] is where we look at the film and have a team meeting—essentially the first day we get together since playing the game,” Amukamara said.
“I like how coach Nagy has it set up because if it was the day after, I feel like things that would’ve been said would’ve just been off of emotions because it’s right after the game. So Monday gives us a day to cool off and [Tuesday] gives us the time to put our feelings aside and actually look at the film and talk.”
Speaking the truth: One day after the Bears had an all-time franchise-low seven rushing attempts against the Saints, Nagy told reporters Monday: “I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot; I realize that.”
Asked what he thought about Nagy’s quote, Massie said: “He speaks the truth. We have to run the ball. We can’t be one-dimensional. You can’t do that in this league. We just need to get back to the drawing board. We have to run the ball at the end of the day; be able to do both and be multi-dimensional. We’ll get it done.”
Those seven carries against the Saints produced just 17 yards and resulted in two lost fumbles.
“We just needed to get on our guys and open holes for the running backs and get to the second level,” Massie said. “Give the backs more time so they can hit the hole.”