When it comes to the Bears’ training room and the seemingly never-ending waves of injuries, something had to give.
Sources tell Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times that the team will part ways with Head Athletic Trainer Nate Breske, as well as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Rick Perry. This comes on the heels of Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason George being let go last week. Jahns adds assistant Pierre Ngo is expected to return to the team for 2018.
The Bears were ravaged by injuries since the start of the John Fox era. According to Pro Football Reference’s data, 47 Bears players have finished the season on injured reserve since the start of 2015. The only team in the NFC North with more players to miss time due to being on IR than the Bears is the Lions. Detroit has lost 580 games due to IR stints since 2015, edging Chicago’s 558 — which is still a large number.
Ten starters, the team’s long snapper, and a kicker were among the most notable Bears to finish the 2017 season on injured reserve.
GM Ryan Pace cited changes to the schedule and data tracking as things that were different about the 2017 season compared to prior years, but they clearly weren’t enough. With a new head coach in the building, the Bears are going in a different direction with personnel. This isn’t to say the Bears’ health woes can (or should) be attributed to trainers or strength and conditioning coaches, because that would be unfair and factually incorrect. But it’s clear as day that another level of change needed to happen. Hopefully, it’s change for the better.