Matt Eberflis powered through a clear Wednesday afternoon before the Chicago Bears went back to work on the practice field at Halas Hall.
The offense needs to find balance with play distribution if it has any chance of getting rolling.
“I don’t think it’s really a strength issue,” Koch said. “That’s what we need to get to. We need to have balance in your offense, run/pass calls, and we’ll get to that.”
The Bears attempted just 11 passes in Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the fewest the team has thrown the ball in the air 13 times since the start of the Mike Ditka era in 1982.
An offense that sorely lacked explosive plays in 2021 has picked up right where it left off, and while the sample size is small, the start doesn’t paint a picture of progress.
Here’s where the Bears offense ranks after two games:
- Plays: 31
- Yards: 32
- Yards per play: 29
- Third down: 27th
- Scoring: T-26th
- Passing yards: 32
- Yards per pass attempt: T-29th
- Completion percentage: 31
- Passer Rating: 31
- Occupancy Time: 30th
The only thing the Bears can hang their hat on: They’re eighth in the league in rushing. If you didn’t know better, you might wonder if they’re fixated on playing checkers while everyone else is playing chess.
Quarterback Justin Fields said he’s “changing his whole routine” after the latest loss. He said he was waking up at 5:45 a.m., about an hour earlier than usual, and spending even longer getting ready.
Fields did not criticize offensive coordinator Luke Gatsey, who spoke to the media Thursday, after having few opportunities to throw the ball in a game in which the Bears trailed by two or more for 34 minutes. But is it a sign that the staff lacks confidence in Fields as a passer?
“I don’t think so,” Fields said. “Our run game did a great job on Sunday.
“These (coaches) have been in the league for I don’t know how long. They know what they are doing. None of this will work if I don’t trust him, if the players, ourselves, if we don’t trust the coaches. We trust the coaches. They know what they are doing. We just go out there and play.
With so few pass attempts — the San Francisco 49ers are 31st in the league with 52, 24 more than the Bears — wide receiver Darnell Mooney has figured. He has been targeted five times and has two receptions for 4 yards. Tight end Cole Kemet did not catch a pass.
“My job is not to call pass plays,” Fields said. “My job is not to make sure Darnell makes five catches every game. This is not my job. My job is to get the play and run it to the best of my ability.
This is appropriate. But Fields certainly watches other games around the league and sees how offenses are attacking and challenging defenses. Those who have found unique ways to defend the Bears’ offense over the years will remind you that the opener against the 49ers was played in a rainstorm. It is true. The offense then threw six fewer passes on a perfect evening for football at Lambeau Field on Sunday, and you have to go back to 1978 for the last time a team attempted just 28 passes over two games.
The only way Fields can grow as a passer and develop better timing is to — you guessed it — throw the ball.
“Yeah, maybe,” he said. “But my No. 1 priority in my job is to run the plays as I’m taught and execute them to the best of my ability and ultimately win games. So if our offensive coordinator feels like the plays he’s giving me He’s going to help us win games, that’s all I care about.
Fields was busy Wednesday and seemed eager to share how much the loss to the Packers bothered him. He didn’t criticize anyone else — also a smart move — and made it clear that he was doing his part to help end this early but deep-rooted crime.
“I have more time in the day,” she said. “Just being able to study more, being able to look at our stuff more. I think it’s going to happen, just the little things to be able to process things more and take in more things, I think Sunday. Allowing you to better prepare for
Maybe that will add a little balance to an offense that is already out of whack.