Three things Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said Monday

Justin Fields’ knows he can play better,’ Eberflus said

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus encourages his team during their game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

LAKE FOREST – Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has had plenty of time to watch the tape now. He addressed the media Monday afternoon at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, less than 24 hours after a season-opening 38-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

Not surprisingly, Eberflus said there’s a lot that needs to be corrected. Here are the biggest takeaways in Eberflus’ assessment.

On the offensive game plan

Bears fans probably were screaming at their TVs for quarterback Justin Fields to throw the ball downfield. Fields attempted only four passes that went more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage through the air. One of them was a 20-yard touchdown to Darnell Mooney. Otherwise, it was all short stuff.

Fields chalked up the short passes to the game plan. That’s how offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and the coaching staff decided it wanted to attack the Packers.

On Monday, Eberflus said he wants his QB looking downfield.

“We always want him to look downfield,” Eberflus said. “That’s an important piece to it. Certainly, before he scrambles and runs, we want him to take a look downfield to see open receivers, if they are.”

The lack of targets for receiver DJ Moore, who the Bears acquired in the trade for the No. 1 overall draft pick, is baffling. Eberflus said the Bears need to “get the ball to our best skill [players].”

“We have to do a better job there,” Eberflus said. “Were the plays designed for him to go there sometimes? Yep. And they had some different coverages rolled up to him at times and different things that they were doing, which some teams are going to do, but we certainly have to find ways to feed DJ and feed our skill [players].”

On quarterback Justin Fields

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs away from the pass rush of Green Bay Packers linebacker Kingsley Enagbare during their game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Simply put, Eberflus wants Fields to play better.

“He knows he can play better,” Eberflus said. “He knows that. He’s well aware of that, and he’s going to work diligently to do that.”

Fields finished the game 24-for-37 passing for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The interception was simply a bad throw. He tried to fit the ball into a tight window and never should’ve thrown it. Packers linebacker Quay Walker returned it for a touchdown. Fields also lost one fumble and was sacked four times.

On the interception, Fields stared down Moore and likely should’ve looked elsewhere. He said so after the game. Eberflus said Fields “needs to scan the field” in that situation.

Eberflus later noted that he feels, overall, like Fields is “OK right now.”

“I think always looking at those things downfield, we can always improve on that,” Eberflus said. “And the receivers need to improve on their scramble drill as well. It’s not just him. It’s also the receivers working the scramble drill, too.”

He knows he can play better. He knows that. He’s well aware of that and he’s going to work diligently to do that.”

—  Matt Eberflus, Bears head coach

On the defense and the pass rush

Eberflus’ 4-3 defense gave up 31 points in Sunday’s game, pressured Packers quarterback Jordan Love very little and allowed the Packers to go 9 for 16 on third downs.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love escapes the pressure of Chicago Bears defensive end DeMarcus Walker during their game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

For Eberflus, it was the third downs that ate at him.

“I would just say third downs,” Eberflus said. “The rush and the cover and the cover and rush. It is about the rush, no question, but it’s also about the coverage. It’s us having precision and detail there to be able to get off the field on those third downs.”

On the pass rush, specifically, Eberflus said the defensive line has to be more coordinated. Yannick Ngakoue had the lone sack in the game. The Bears totaled three QB hits.

“Those guys need to work with each other,” Eberflus said. “Because a lot of it is playing off each other.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.