Three things Bears need to focus on during the Bye week
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Three things Bears need to focus on during the Bye week


by - Senior Writer -

It has taken 13 weeks, but for the first time this season, there will be no Bears football as it is their bye week. Technically speaking, they did play Monday, so they played this week, depending on how you view the week, but that will be the last of their games until December 10.

On the positive side, the Bears are coming off an ugly yet big win against the Vikings, as they gave Matt Eberflus his first NFC North win. Chicago has two wins in their last four games and has started to play much better on defense. That will only help them going forward if Justin Fields can continue to do what he is doing apart from fumbling the football.

Any time a team goes into their bye week, the main goal is to give players time away from the organization to recover and have a mental reset. That is something a lot of players need this time of year, but there is still work for this team to do even if no game is being played. Here are some things the Bears must focus on not only during this bye week, but once they come out of it for the home stretch.

Get healthy

The Bears have had their share of injuries this season, and it has been going on for quite a while. However, this team is close to being 100% healthy, and even with D'Onta Foreman out of the lineup on Monday, they were the healthiest they were in a long time. Now comes the season's stretch run, where they needed everyone to get healthy.

Sure, you will have guys out for the season or still not ready to go, but for the ones who have been nursing those minor week-to-week injuries, this is the time for them to get healthy and get back on the field. No one expects the Bears to do much the rest of the way, but this team has three winnable games over their final five weeks.

Take care of business in those games, and you could make things very interesting in the final few weeks of the season, which is all you can ask for. Who knows, maybe this team can play spoiler to the Packers or someone else along the way, which would be a nice moral victory at the end of the season.

Time for the evaluation process

You never want to get this late in the season questioning what you have on your roster, but that is the predicament the Bears are in. With two first-round picks in next year's draft, with one being No. 1 and the other currently at No. 4, the Bears have an opportunity to draft two franchise-caliber players at various positions. That includes the QB position if the Bears are not sold on Justin Fields or if Ryan Poles wants to draft his own QB instead of keeping the holdover.

Either way, the Bears need to take the rest of the season as an evaluation process and treat every week like an interview process. These players know there are going to be more changes coming next season, and they are bracing for what could be a four-week-long interview to make this team in 2024. The ones that play well enough should be safe, but the ones who continue to struggle (Velus Jones JR) comes to mind may be out of a job creating intriguing openings come the draft.

Typically, you never like a Bye week this late in the season, as the players have taken their share of bumps along the way. However, in this case, the Bye week came at the perfect time as the Bears can now treat the rest of the season as a mini audition process.

All options need to be on the table

The players aren't the only ones auditioning for a job next season, as the Bears coaching staff is also trying to keep a job. Looking at where things stand right now, no coach should feel safe, but it does appear that Eberflus will get at least one more season, as Luke Getsy could be his scapegoat to keep him around.

Whether that is the right decision will be addressed later, but the Bears better think long and hard about whether Eberflus is their guy, especially when you look at the possible names on the coaching market next season. Jim Harbaugh was mentioned early in the week, and whether you think that is a good move or not, he is a winner and has won everywhere he has gone.

You will also have several top-flight assistants looking for a head coach opportunity that the Bears may want to consider, with Bill Belichick also a possibility. Either way, the Bears will have names to look at and a decision must be made in four weeks. There is a good chance the organization has already made the decision, but history shows they will never fire a coach mid-season.

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