Part of Meta Eberflus’ message to the players as they separated due to the summer break was the same as on the day he was introduced as the Chicago Bears coach in January.
“Get your sneakers ready for the trail,” Eberflus reiterated on Thursday as the mini-camp ended at Halas Hall.
It was both a warning and a promise. When the Bears reunite at training camp next month, each player on the 90-player roster is better off being ready to join the fast entry ramp towards the regular season.
“Training camp is not in shape,” Eberflus told his players. “You should be in shape (when you arrive).”
And just for some extra emphasis?
“We will swim and leave from the first day,” he added. “That was my main message.”
After only five months at work, it is difficult to make a very detailed report on the progress of Eberflus. And it will be some time before it is known whether his philosophy and approach can save the organization from 30-year-old funk defined by long-term mediocrity.
But give Eberflus credit for this: he has been consistent with his messages and firm in determining how he wants his team to function. And his demands seem to resonate in Halas Hall.
So far, the Eberflus HITS acronym has been easily explained. The bears, under his supervision, will give priority to crowding, intensity, taking the ball (and taking care of the ball) plus situational intelligence. In addition, Eberflus reminded everyone on Thursday, his players must understand how they should be connected to get the most out of their six or more weeks of pre-season training.
It blows and goes. Put on your shoes.
Obviously, Eberflus will not turn a bear training camp into an Olympic trial, challenging players to run 200 meters or a relay 400 meters. He also does not threaten to empty his team with gas or excessive fitness work.
On Thursday, when asked for more details on how athletics and football will combine during training in late July and August at Lake Forest, Eberflus highlighted the focus that will put coaching staff on effort, running to the ball and establishing a steady pace for exercise. and teamwork.
And not only that, everything will be evaluated. And reviewed. And emphasized again. The need to become an effort-based football team will continue to be respected.
“When we look at the tape, we don’t make mistakes,” Eberflus said. “We look at it and say, ‘OK, that’s not the real effort we’re talking about.’ Or: “That is the real effort we are talking about. Man, that’s the standard! ‘
“It (creates) a careful eye for coaches. Coaches need to pay attention to that. I’m a top guy who has to pay attention to that. But for coordinators and coaches in positions, we will start in a certain way and we will end in a certain way. And it’s all standardized. “
Money Velus Jones, whose speed is strength, is eager to enter the blocks for Eberflus’s first training camp.
“I know we will go in and go to the ground,” Jones said Thursday. “That’s why I will make sure that my body is in shape and that I make sure that my endurance is built. I’m very excited. “
Additional security Jakuan Brisker: “(We have to) get ready to work, get ready to run on the ball, in shape.”
Of course, there will be a fine line in all this. And as the first coach, Eberflus will have to carefully monitor the physical and emotional fuel tank of his team through the camp, developing a sense of when to strengthen and when to relax. It’s not always easy.
It is worth noting that former Bear coach Lowe Smith, whose training formula and defense system are the things Eberflus regularly draws from, opened his first training camp in 2004 with similar messages, promising to bring hustle and bustle to his players with an intense focus on , well, the hustle and bustle. That initial camp in 2004, however, came with a bout of soft tissue injuries. And these bears, given their current talent levels and depth on the list, cannot afford any major health-related circumvention.
Still, Smith’s methodology hit and helped create an early identity for his teams. The Bears went to the playoffs in 2005, reached the Super Bowl the following season and were in the postseason three times in a six-season period. (By team standards, it was undoubtedly a hot series.)
For Eberflus, there is an indisputable desire to create the same kind of identity and the same kind of momentum. And when asked on Thursday if there was anything in his new team that made him feel more comfortable than when he started, Eberflus was quick to point out the culture that is being established.
“It’s a team that comes together. “I feel most comfortable because of that,” said Eberflus. “We can look each other in the eye and tell the truth, and that’s fine. And it’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to be right. But we are starting to feel that with the whole group. It’s just honest communication. Man to man. Face-to-face. No problem.
“It’s encouraging. You have to have it as a team. That way you have to be close. ”
Eberflus also wants his team to understand what a true grind means, what it means to empty a tank and what it means to treat each repetition of training with the same focus and intensity. And when the training camp starts next month, there will be a bit of a gray area in terms of how players are expected to practice.
In short, bears are better off being ready to run. Much.