Bears News: Eberflus breaks down first week of OTAs

Bears News: Eberflus breaks down first week of OTAs

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - The Chicago Bears concluded their first week of voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) back on Friday May 24. While it is far from perfect, head coach Matt Eberflus says he has seen progress being made on all sides of the ball.

“Really what we’re doing during this time is working on our core principles, so we’re getting the core principles down. We’ve had three practices on the grass there together. Certainly limited in terms of what we can do with the speed and the hitting and all that, can’t do (that) here during this time,” Eberflus said. “It’s not perfect right now by any stretch of the imagination and that is defense, offense, special teams, everything’s (a) work in progress and that’s where it’s at. But, certainly making progress.”

There are certainly limitations on what the players can do because OTAs are non-contact, the players are able to build chemistry on the field. Given Chicago’s situation with many new pieces, particularly on the offense, being able to develop those relationships is critical and something Eberflus identified as a highlight of what he saw during the first week of OTAs.

“The effect of getting that authenticity in terms of the connection is (that), at the end of the day, we’re all Chicago Bears,” Eberflus said. “So, it’s not about being offense, defense, ‘I played linebacker, you play quarterback’ or o-line versus a secondary guy. We’re just all the Chicago Bears and we got to be tight that way because that’s going to be the glue that keeps us together.”

On the injury front, the offense is slightly limited since the No. 9 overall draft pick, receiver Rome Odunze, has not been able to participate in full although Eberflus said he was able to participate in walkthroughs on Friday.

“Rome’s starting to work out there … Did some walkthroughs (on Friday),” Eberflus said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be starting to ramp back in there next week during the OTAs that we have next week.”

The offense struggled on Friday against Chicago’s defense, especially in the red zone drills. However, going against such a strong defense in the Bears is something that will surely prepare rookie quarterback Caleb Williams for other defenses during the regular season.

The Bears had one of the best defenses in the league during the second half of the season, a standard that will continue for this season despite some changes.

“Our defense played well down the stretch. We all know that and we anticipate them coming off to a fast start and we certainly wanted to have that and the guys are excited about putting the work in to get that done,” Eberflus said. “Nothing’s guaranteed in this league and you got to put the work in. Success travels through the company of very hard work and we have to get that done.”

Someone who is expected to help Chicago play to the level they did last season and return to their status as the Monsters of the Midway is defensive lineman Gervon Dexter who the Bears drafted No. 53 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Dexter appeared in all 17 games last season with his strongest performance in Chicago’s last win of the season against the Atlanta Falcons with 1.5 sacks.

Eberflus is impressed with the way Dexter has improved himself during the offseason.

“(Dexter) changed his body in the time he was off, so he is much leaner now and he’s quicker. He really looks good in terms of his get-off. That was one thing he had to work on. Then, pad level because he’s such a big guy, tall guy, and he’s worked on those things,” Eberflus said. “But, his movement, his athletic ability, is even better now because he really worked on his body.”

Chicago will have three more days of OTAs on May 28, 29 and 31 before mandatory minicamp starts on Tuesday June 4.

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