Bears Day 3 Minicamp Roundup: Eberflus Installing Culture Change, Fields Thriving in the Red Zone, Velus Makes a Move, More

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Bears Day 3 Minicamp Roundup: Eberflus Installing Culture Change, Fields Thriving in the Red Zone, Velus Makes a Move, More

Chicago Bears

The next time the Chicago Bears get together, it will be when training camp kicks off in July.

But before we take our first steps toward the unofficial start of a new football season, let’s wrap up the final practice of mandatory minicamp.

Matt Eberflus is a Culture Changer

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this type of sentiment from the head coach:

The culture of perseverance Matt Nagy built in his first few seasons in Chicago was all but gone by the time he was let go after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season. Watching something like that deteriorate was tough. Mostly because the buildup was steady and moved like a bowling ball rolling down a hill. And to think, it actually began late in the 2020 season.

You could point at Javon Wims’ punching incident and Anthony Miller’s repeat performance of Wims’ mistake as a starting point. Then “pissed” players privately expressing their displeasure in March 2021 while popular teammates were on their way out. There were a host of issues in early October, which bled into the winter, and were lingering throughout the season. In the end, it all ended up to ownership cleaning house. And thus, Eberflus has the task of rebuilding something broken.

At least it sounds as if the early returns are positive.

More Progress From Justin Fields

One area where QB1 needs to excel in order for the Bears offense to click is in the red zone. Last year, Fields put up a respectable stat line in the red area: 17/31 (54.8%), 5 TD, 0 INT, 103.2 passer rating; 9 carries, 27 yards, 1 rushing TD. can be better is in the red zone. So to read about Fields closing Thursday’s minicamp with another strong showing in that aspect of the game is encouraging.

Via NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock:

“Quarterback Justin Fields followed up his sharp outing Wednesday with another solid practice Thursday. Fields found the end zone twice during the red-zone period, connecting with Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney for scores.”

Not only is Fields doing well in the red zone, he is linking up with players who figure to be his top targets in 2022. Fields’ connection with Darnell Mooney cannot be overstated at this point, especially since it looks as if Mooney will enter camp as the unquestioned WR1. But Fields finding a groove with Kmet would be huge for him and the rising third-year tight end.

Kmet and his skills weren’t used best by Matt Nagy and Bill Lazor, which made watching the Notre Dame product frustrating as a fan. No, Kmet isn’t Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski. But a player with his prospect pedigree and size should be more of an asset in this offense. I don’t want to put too much into a nice showing at a mandatory minicamp in June, but it sure would be nice if this was a building block for something bigger down the line.

Velus Jones Jr. Wants a Piece of the Pie, Too

Not to be left on the outside looking in when it comes to being one of Fields’ top targets, the rookie third-round pick is doing what he can to carve out a niche for himself:

Getting the locker next to Fields is a good start. As is tagging along with Mooney and Fields for summertime workouts in Atlanta. So many connections grow when players work together on their own time. And while I try to promote a proper work-life balance, I feel as if this extra work could go a long way toward building a bond for three key cogs in the Bears’ machine moving forward.

Extra Points

  • Braxton Jones being LT1 at this time of the year could make for the beginning of a nice up-start underdog story:
  • I was curious what this was about:
  • Brad Biggs got a chuckle out of me with the first half of this tweet:
  • Some unique perspective on wearing Brian Piccolo’s jersey number at Thursday’s practice:
  • ICYMI: The Bears honored the memory of franchise icon Brian Piccolo:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.