The Short Turnaround is Forcing the Bears to Limit Their Starters to 6-10 Snaps Tonight

The first thing to stand out to me when the NFL schedule release dropped was the preseason opening with a Matt Nagy reunion party. I had a good laugh about it, too. Kudos to the NFL schedule-makers for having something resembling a sense of humor.

But I wasn’t laughing when I noticed that Week 2 against the Seahawks came with a flight to Seattle on a short turnaround.

So while I realize this is just the preseason, there are some notable trickledown effects. Most notably, from the Bears side, where Head Coach Matt Eberflus is limiting his regulars’ reps in tonight’s game. And citing the quick turnaround while doing so:

Ugh. I don’t want to make too big of a deal about this. It’s the preseason, after all. But after Eberflus saying he wants to give his regulars “a good amount of work” in the preseason, seeing him scale it back because of one dumb schedule quirk stinks.

To be clear, it’s not like I’m pushing for a full game’s worth of a workload for the projected regulars. But that a coach feels he needs to take it another step because of the short week constitutes a failure on the NFL’s part. Quick turnarounds in the preseason after cutting this part of the schedule short shouldn’t be a thing. That the NFL adds an extra week of a buffer between the end of preseason and start of the regular season is a nice touch. And it should help in giving the players some necessary extra rest, but COME ON. The short week was wholly unnecessary. Trimming the preseason to three games artificially restricts how many snaps players can get during tune-up season. Forcing a quick turnaround on teams further limits those evaluation opportunities.

Maybe this wouldn’t bug me so much if the situation around Halas Hall was different. But as things stand, a Bears team with 50+ new players at the start of a rebuild could use as many preseason reps for evaluation as it can get. For what it’s worth, I still imagine players battling for roster spots getting somewhere in the range of 15-25 snaps. Maybe even more in some cases. And while I hope it is enough, I wonder how things would’ve been different in a regular turnaround. It probably isn’t much consolation, but I find it encouraging that Eberflus is cognizant of workload management on short turnarounds. That isn’t inconsequential in evaluating a first-year head coach (even in the preseason). Ultimately, this could be helpful when the Bears play Thursday Night Football after a Sunday game.

It almost makes me think that Aaron Rodgers was making a good point about the importance of practice. And that makes me feel unsettled inside.

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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