Matt Eberflus talks Bears culture, taking more shots downfield

Matt Eberflus talks Bears culture, taking more shots downfield

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Constant losing can create a lot of problems within an organization. With Matt Eberflus as the head coach, there has been a lot of losing as he currently has the lowest win percentage out of any head coach in franchise history. Despite the close games and usually being unable to finish games, the team is not publicly turning on each other.

That is because, according to Eberflus, they have created a strong culture within the organization.

“I believe the No. 1 issue in any football team is morale, and how you sustain morale is by having standards. You have standards of how you operate every single day, how you practice, and you hold guys to the standard, and eventually what they do is they hold themselves to the standard, and it doesn’t matter if it’s your starting quarterback or your No. 1 pass rusher,” Eberflus said. “If they’re late to something, you fine them. If they’re not hustling on the practice field, you point it out, and that’s what you do, and that’s where morale is created, and it creates a culture that’s visual to see on the practice field, visual to see in the game day and it creates a standard and a morale that you have within the football team.”

Culture does not automatically lead to wins, however. Culture does not make your offense consistently productive, which has been a problem throughout the season. Playing against the Lions the first time, the Bears put up 26 points but failed to score a touchdown the following week in their win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Eberflus acknowledges that quarterback Justin Fields has a strong arm and thus maintains that Chicago needs to take more shots downfield to generate more explosive plays.

“We’re going to have to take some more shots down the field to create those explosive plays, and those things are there, and we just have to take advantage of those,” Eberflus said. “Every opponent creates scenarios for you. There’s certain scenarios that each opponent has that you can create those momentum plays for yourself. You do it formationally, you do it by down and distance, you do it through looks, and we certainly have to do a better job of that.”

While taking more shots downfield would certainly be beneficial for the offense if the plays are successful or draw a pass interference, this could potentially put Fields in a position to drop back in the pocket more, which is where he seems to be more vulnerable. Especially given his fumbling issue with three fumbles in the past two games and eighth in the NFL in total fumbles this season with seven, putting him in a vulnerable position needs to be weighed against the need to protect the football.

However, Eberflus says that Fields is aware of his fumbling issue and is working to improve it.

“He’s aware of it,” Eberflus said. “It’s important to him, and he’s practicing it in drill work in practice, and we just got to keep improving on that.”

One aspect that should help Fields facing the Lions this Sunday (Noon / FOX) is this is a familiar opponent. Further, Detroit has recovered one of the fewest fumbles out of any team in the NFL, with only five. They are also about the middle of the pack in defensive interceptions with nine.

Therefore, for the Bears to win the game this time, besides finishing in the final few minutes of the game, winning the turnover margin is essential. Because Chicago won the turnover margin by plus three in the last game, they were in contention and should have won the game. If they are going to stay in the playoff picture, the Bears must win this game. They are also trying to avoid their second losing season under Matt Eberflus.

If the Bears do not win out and Eberflus does not return as the Bears head coach, he will become the second head coach for the Bears since 1975 to only record losing records during his coaching tenure with the team. John Fox was the other coach to do so during that time period.

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