OTAs Roundup: Watch Fields Throw, Jaylon Raves About the Rookies, Eberflus Bangs the Drum For Discipline, More

bears halas

Day 2 of a three-day OTA practice week for the Chicago Bears is in the books.

And I’m already dreaming about fun in the sun when training camp opens this summer.

Watch Justin Fields Work

This throw gave me some feelings:

And Trestan Ebner dropping it also gave me some feelings.

To track the ball over your shoulder and haul it in isn’t easy. But given the situation — it’s May, you’re a Day 3 rookie draft pick looking to make a splash, and it’s a comfortable practice setting — you’ve gotta make that catch. Right?

I feel as if you learn more about a player seeing how they bounce back than you do when you witness their fall. So I’ll be curious see how Ebner rebounds from a drop like this one. Hopefully, it’s he hauls it in with ease the next opportunity he gets.

Jaylon Johnson Raves About His Rookie Teammates in the Secondary

Depending on how the starting lineup shakes out, the Bears could be throwing four home-grown draft picks into starting roles in the defensive backfield. In addition to veterans Jaylon Johnson (2nd round, 2020) and Eddie Jackson (4th round, 2017), who are entrenched in their respective starting roles, second-round rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker could join them in the lineup. Some might be scared off by the idea of starting a pair of rookies in the secondary. But we already know Johnson is fearless:

I’m all for throwing these young DBs to the wolves to see what they can do. After all, you can’t keep ’em on training wheels forever.

And if anyone can prep the rookies for that type of challenge, it’s Johnson and Jackson. Not only were both Week 1 starters as rookies in their respective first seasons. But both were thriving early in their inaugural campaigns. Jackson was on PFF’s All-Rookie Team in 2017, while Johnson had an elite ballhawking rate as a rookie corner. So, go get ’em rookies! You’ve got a lot to live up to in 2022.

Eberflus Handling Disciplinary Matters

The Bears head coach was asked about a skirmish involving defensive lineman LaCale London (who is taking Akiem Hicks’ number, by the way), and his answer hit me in my soul:

Those words from Matt Eberflus were music to my ear. In short, Eberflus is banging the drum for discipline. And he is doing it now. It is so refreshing. Setting the ground rules in May allows for the Bears to create good habits so they’re not making the same, silly mistakes when games matter in September. We saw too many of those mistakes last year. Cleaning them up now before they become big mistakes later feels like a good place to start.

The Bears have had so many disciplinary issues in recent years. They ranked 12th in penalties in 2021 and 15th in 2020. Piling up flags is one thing, but doing so at the most inopportune times and in the most careless ways really stuck with me. Last year’s team had 11 unnecessary roughness penalties, which represents the most such penalties per The Football Database’s findings. Former coach Matt Nagy acknowledged the Bears had penalty problems throughout last year. And the in-house culture issues were problematic in 2021, too. But Nagy never found the fixes. It would be nice for Eberflus to follow through and eradicate the dumb penalties from these Bears.

Extra Points

•   Work, work, work:

Fields’ development is the No. 1 priority this year. It is *THE* thing we care most about going into the 2022 season. Ideally, all this works builds some good traits going into an important second year.

•   This is bold:

Are we set to see David Montgomery as this team’s workhorse back? And if so, what does that mean for Khalil Herbert and others? I’ve liked how the Packers and Colts have deployed their running backs in recent years. Both teams have main ball carriers, but also find time for reserves to carve out niche roles. All of that combines to keep everyone fresh and healthy for a full season. Considering the lack of impact talent at receiver, controlling the game on the ground could be beneficial for Fields’ development.

•   How can you not love Eberflus’ description of Kyler Gordon:

Yeah, that’s the good stuff.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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