Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy spoke to reporters Tuesday and recounted his team’s 17-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Here are three things we heard from the video conference call.
1. Justin Fields said that getting out of pocket and running plays without any hiccups gives him the most confidence. Negi said the Bears ‘could definitely do more of it.’
Fields had some tough moments on Monday, but his most successful stretch came early in the fourth quarter when the Bears were on offense without a hitch. Fields completed five straight passes for a total of 63 yards, followed by a 5-yard scramble that received an unnecessary roughness penalty.
“Our offense is very skilful (no pun intended) just because we know those plays,” Fields said on Monday. “It’s literally no thinking. We line and run those plays, and I know where all the answers are, whatever coverage they give us… I think that’s our offense in a way.” Gets into the rhythm.”
Nagy said Tuesday that the Bears could do more up-tempo, no-huddle stuff, noting that it escalated the offense, though he noted that the team’s biggest problem was in the red zone, where the Bears 1 -for-5 gone. The fourth-quarter drive ended with the Bears halting at the 9-yard line when Darnell Mooney caught a pass from Fields in the end field, but both legs could not go in.
“For these college quarterbacks right now, it all kind of stems from high school, it goes to college and college does the trick with some stuff in the NFL,” Nagy said. “I definitely think you can see at certain times in the game tomorrow that tempo helps. You don’t necessarily have to live in it every play for some reason. But we can definitely do more of it.” I think our players will agree with that. I think our coaches will. And you feel that way. At the same time, we were also rolling the ball without a hitch. So I think maybe more than yesterday I would say there are five properties in the red zone where we have to get better.
2. Negi said rookie Thomas Graham Jr. ‘definitely helped himself with being able to play more.’
With the Bears out secondary due to COVID-19 and injuries, the Bears turned to Graham to start at the cornerback in their first NFL game. The sixth-round pick spent most of the season on the practice squad, but came with several big moments and defended seven tackles and three passes.
He batted against Tyler Conklin’s pass at Kirk Cousins in the end zone in the second quarter, and later in the quarter broke Cousins’ pass at -7 and Ihmir Smith-Marsett.
“He was aggressive,” Nagy said of Graham. “He did a great job of stepping up at the moment. I thought his tackle was really good. He was able to stick his nose in there and make some good tackles.
“I thought he really stuck out. He’s a guy who’s had success in college, and then coming here and getting some good wide receivers and opportunities against a good offense, it’s only going to make him better.” . . . You root for those kinds of stories, and they have definitely helped themselves with being able to play more.”
It will be worth seeing where Graham gets his chance next. As of Tuesday, the Bears had only reinstated Nickel cornerback Duke Shelley out of 14 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list to miss a Vikings game, but there’s a chance he’ll have several more before facing the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Players can get back. ,
3. Negi said rookie left tackle Taven Jenkins would continue to improve – but he would have to clear the penalty.
Jenkins’ non-playing conduct penalty cost the Bears 12 yards after Vikings defensive lineman DJ Vonum hit the fields hard. But some also applauded Jenkins’ show of passion.
Jenkins’ other two penalties were less debatable. On his debut in place of Jason Peters, Jenkins was called in to hold onto the Bears’ first offensive game. He also had a wrong start on third and one in the second quarter.
Jenkins now has six sanctioned penalties in the two matches he has played on offense. But Negi said Mondays were positive.
“He did a good job at Pass Pro. I think he continues to grow,” Nagy said. “The penalty is hurting right now. Holding on to the first game of the game and then third and a false start are two impressive plays. We have to cut them down and limit them, and he will. He cares. He cares a lot. Technologically, fundamentally, his confidence, he’s another young boy who plays as much time as he can. That is, the better and better it will get.”