Bears News: Eberflus on cutting down roster: “Every position is open”

Bears News: Eberflus on cutting down roster: “Every position is open”


by - Correspondent -

After winning their first preseason game in a 23-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans, the Bears fell following a 17-point comeback from the Indianapolis Colts for a final score of 24-17. While there were a lot of positives and negatives on both sides, there were also a lot of coaching opportunities for head coach Matt Eberflus and the rest of the coaching staff to take advantage of.

One of those was for rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. Stevenson received a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness for tackling running back Kenyan Drake out of bounds. According to Eberflus, Stevenson stated that his hand was cut in Drake’s shoulder pad. Still, it was an opportunity for the rookie to learn that even if something like that happens, you need to be able to deal with it to prevent your team from getting penalized. That was not the only mistake of the game for the Bears, though.

“We missed some opportunities out there tonight, you know … Tyrique had that interception (in) the back of the endzone. He’s got to bring his hands up together. We had another tipped ball. We got to do a great job of getting underneath that one. We had a strip sack,” Eberflus explained. “I got to look at hustle, how we’re hustling on defense a lot. We got to be able to get that because, I bet, there was some loafing going on on the other three guys on the d-line. So, we got a lot of work to do.”

It was not all bad, though. One bright spot was the running game. Similar to last year, the Bears are running the ball a lot. This rushing attack was led by rookies Robert Burns and Roschon Johnson. Burns had eight attempts for 40 yards, but also lost a fumble which led to a Colts’ field goal. Johnson had seven attempts for 32, his longest rush being 14 yards. Eberflus was satisfied with what he saw out of Johnson.

“He was really good tonight with his cutting, reading of the holes, and I thought he really got north a bunch of times and put his pads down, so that was also good to see,” Eberflus said.

Now, the final preseason game is coming up, and rosters must be cut down to 53 players by Tuesday, August 29 at 3 p.m. While there is still one week left, Eberflus and the rest of the coaching staff have a lot of film to work with. Watching film is essential to how they determine who makes the cut.

“We’re going to look at the tape. You know, the quarterback, you know, is always the center focus of everything. Certainly, we’ll look at each guy, how they performed tonight and all the way through camp,” Eberflus stated. “We’ll look at the whole camp to see where a guy is, see what work loads he’s put in and then we’ll also see how he’s executing, you know. So, it will be case by case. But, when the one quarterback’s in there, we usually have the one line with him … (you) always start there. So, we’ll see where it goes and we’re going to base a lot of it off of how this practice this week goes.”

This process is not a simple one. Eberflus compares this to the regular season, where you have a variety of factors to analyze, such as morale, injuries and performance. He also strongly emphasized when speaking with the media following the game that competition is open at every position.

“It’s just like when you’re going through the season, you know. You have a plan of, ‘Hey, this is where the ebb and the flow of the season is.’ You can see that based on breaks, the natural breaks that are there. But, you also have to fill your team, you know. What’s going on with the team? What’s the morale? What’s the injuries?,” Eberflus said. “Everything’s open right now. It’s not just (one) position. It’s every position … You got to let it play itself out is what we always say as coaches, you know. Don’t predetermine things. Let things play out and that’s the way you do things in coaching and you’ll find that that’s usually the best decision.”

The preseason will conclude for Chicago on Saturday, August 26 (12 p.m./FOX 32), with the Bears taking on the Buffalo Bills. The regular season kicks off with the Bears at home facing the Green Bay Packers (3:25 p.m./FOX) on Sunday, September 10.

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