Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy spoke to the media for the first time in nearly three months Thursday on the second day of training camp practices at Halas Hall. It was a good opportunity to hear Getsy’s thoughts on the progress quarterback Justin Fields has made in running his new offense.
In that, Getsy was positive and realistic.
“It’s come a long way from where we started, for sure,” Getsy said. “We still have a long way to go.
“As far as attacking the system and knowing the system and what’s going on around it, he’s done a great job of that. Just getting the experience and those repetitions. The good thing about this is that in a couple more days (Monday) we can put on sanitary pads and this becomes real. These helmet practices are great because you get timing and rhythm and stuff like that, but this game is a feel game, and the only way you get the real feel is if it’s real. So these representatives that will come along the way here will be very important to him.”
Two of the offensive highlights of Thursday’s unprotected practice in front of the fans were Darnell Mooney’s jumping grab of a Fields pass and Fields’ 30-yard dart to tight end Cole Kmet, who caught it between two defenders. On defense, safety Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass from Fields that bounced off the hands of wide receiver N’Keal Harry, and defensive back Lamar Jackson had a couple of big plays, including backup quarterback Trevor Siemian’s interception.
Kmet said his big catch was a pitch he and Fields had worked hard on during the offseason. He later noted how his growing experience with Fields, after not getting many reps with him last summer, helped make this happen.
“He knew exactly where he was going to throw that and with the influence he had on the guy, it was really cool to see,” Kmet said. “We will definitely build on that.
“A launch like the one today that went through the middle, that doesn’t happen last year. We were working with another quarterback for the whole offseason and then obviously Justin came in… Now we’ve had a full offseason with one guy, and you can really build on things and test some things.”
Kmet echoed Getsy that there’s still a lot of room for improvement, but said that’s to be expected at this early juncture after so many offseason changes.
“Every day we feel more comfortable,” Kmet said. “We still have a long way to go if I’m honest, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s where we are. We have a whole training camp ahead of us to get things right and get things rolling. We have a lot of work to do, but the boys are willing to put in the effort.”
Getsy pointed to some execution issues Thursday that he wants to see eliminated, including false starts on a shaky offensive line that saw center Lucas Patrick leave practice with an apparent injury.
“For me, it’s the lack of execution that I’m focused on right now,” Getsy said. “That’s what bothers me more than anything else is that they take care of it and get it out of there and that guys know what the hell to do so we can talk about stuff like that as we go along.”
To test players’ execution under pressure, coach Matt Eberflus sprayed situational soccer drills on the spur of the moment during practice to see how players responded on the fly, rather than doing situational work at the end of practice. That resulted in some of the false starts Getsy mentioned.
“Guys didn’t get a chance to prepare, so to speak, and those were great reps,” Getsy said. “You saw we jumped twice and then we came back and did it a third time and we executed it really well. … That’s exactly why we did that to make sure these guys can stay balanced and not let the chaos that’s going on (get to them).”
One thing Getsy thinks Fields has excelled at so far is leadership, which of course will come in handy for the Bears as they try to move forward day-to-day on offense.
Mooney said Fields has been more vocal and assertive about being “his team.” On Thursday, Fields threw routes with receivers after practice, and Mooney saw that attraction in more players.
“You can’t just walk off the field,” Mooney said. “You’re like, ‘I have to do more reps with him.’ ”
“That’s what’s so special about it,” Getsy said. “Forget all the athletic parts. That guy, the way he attacks every day and his approach and leads by example. He doesn’t ask anyone to do anything that he doesn’t expect of himself. That guy is a born leader.”