Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, center, watches players during the NFL football team’s training camp, Friday,
Matt Eberflus speaks with the specificity of a defense lawyer, each word chosen to offer no more than the minimum amount of information necessary in a press conference setting. So when the Bears head coach brought up Friday’s grueling practice at the end of the Saturday’s session, it was no accident.
“[Players] talked about, ‘The practice was long,’ and all that,” he said. “I didn’t see it that way.”
The message: You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Eberflus’ coaching ethos is built on hustle and intensity, and his practices reflect that.
“If you want to be a good football team, you have to have mental and physical stamina,” Eberflus said. “And to build that callus, to build that stamina, you have to go through hard — and you can’t do it by going through soft.”
Tight end Cole Kmet considered Friday “the hardest practice I’ve ever been a part of.” Receiver Darnell Mooney was laid out in the Bears locker room afterward, soaking in all the fluids and air conditioning he could find.
Saturday’s practice was warmer — ”It’s so humid here; you walk outside and you just want it to rain,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said — but no less intense.
“The intensity going from period to period, having to run to the ball and like the way we go about things,” Morrow said. “It’s a lot harder than what I have usually done.”
It’s by design.
“That’s just what our practices do,” Eberflus said. “So the tempo which we practice, how we execute with speed, and what we’re asking in the standards that we’re asking our players to do, that builds that mental and physical stamina.”
Eberflus’ practices are physical — so much so that the Bears were fined one organized team activity practice because they crossed the line into contact. The laundry list of banged-up players who sat out Saturday’s practice shows the line Eberflus is walking by having such intense sessions.
During training camp, the Bears stand around less during practice this year than they did under head coach Matt Nagy. This week, they focused on moving the ball without preparing the offense with a script beforehand. Each play demanded mental focus from both sides of the ball — they had to make sure they substituted at the right time and lined up in the same place before the ball was snapped.
“The last two days have been tough,” running back Khalil Herbert said. “But we needed them.”
There’s reason to think that the uptick in practice intensity is more than your typical training camp narrative. Eberflus is trying to set a culture — he said he plans to be this way every year —and for his coaches to teach.
Mooney hinted that wasn’t always the case last season. This season, Bears receivers practice where to go when …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times
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