The Chicago Bears returned to practice Wednesday at Halas Hall, eager to build on their season-opening 19-10 upset against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Bears hit the road this week to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. The rivalry game offers the Bears a chance to improve to 2-0 and put a two-game cushion between them and the Packers.
Here’s what else we learned Wednesday at Lake Forest.
Fields probably won’t win many more games in which he completes just eight passes and throws for less than 125 yards. The wet conditions on Sunday were obviously taken into account in his first difficulties. And those struggles were pronounced in the first half, when he posted a 2.8 passer rating and completed just 3 of 9 attempts for 19 yards.
But when Bears coach Matt Eberflus was asked on Wednesday what impressed him most about Fields’ 2022 debut and what can be carried over, he was quick to point out the sophomore quarterback’s mental toughness. .
The lack of early offensive production, Eberflus noted, didn’t shake Fields. Bad weather either.
“He was able to put all those things aside,” Eberflus said, “to figure out how he was going to get the ball better, how he was going to operate, and then figure out the game as the game went on and move the ball down the down the field.
“What an exceptional thing for a young quarterback to have that mental toughness, with all these things going on and to be able to (have) laser-like focus and get the job done.”
Eberflus often talks with his players about the “snap cycle”, reminding them to treat each game as its own entity, regardless of anything that came before or will come after. Fields seems to have mastered this concept and has shown determination to overcome difficulties.
“It’s an important element for him and for every player in our team,” said Eberflus. “You have just turned the page. You only play one game at a time and you cannot play them all at the same time. And there will be six or seven games in each game that will be the difference, and we don’t know when they will be. That’s why you have to be focused on every game.
“I think it was in his head. That’s what he did the whole game.”
Fields stressed the importance of his composure for the whole group. He said the overall energy of the attack after the difficult start was remarkably strong at half-time.
“Everyone was so positive,” he said. “(Offensive coordinator) Luke (Getsy) had a smile on his face at halftime. I think that little body language got everyone on their feet and kind of encouraged everyone to come out differently in the second half.
The Bears responded with three straight second-half touchdowns to turn a 10-point deficit into a two-point win.
Patrick was named the Bears’ honorary captain for Week 2 as he prepares to head to Green Bay, where he spent the first six seasons of his career. He recognized this scenario after practice and noted his familiarity with the setting.
“I really know where the game clock is. I really know where the scoreboard is,” Patrick said. “I understand the stadium runs north to south, just off Oneida Street across from the Rev Center. So when we stop I can kind of go around myself to find the place if the bus gets lost.
Patrick played 27 snaps at right guard in the Week 1 win over the 49ers, splitting time with Teven Jenkins. He is coming back from surgery on his right hand at the start of training camp. But Patrick is feeling better every week and every practice and, for now, remains comfortable with the rotation used by the Bears.
He expects to feel a few more emotions before kick-off on Sunday.
“Honestly speaking, probably a lot of gratitude,” Patrick said. “I’m not going to sit here and denigrate (this) organization because I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the opportunity I’ve been given.
“I had many memories there with my family and close friends. I know you probably don’t like to hear this, but we have personalities and feelings. And I still have friends there. So yes, I will definitely have gratitude and emotion. But at the end of the day, I have a job to do.
Two weeks after the Bears claimed him waivers from the Las Vegas Raiders, Leatherwood’s assimilation into the offense hit a snag. Eberflus said the 2021 first-round pick suffered from an illness that necessitated his move to the NFI roster.
To fill that hole in the 53-man roster, the Bears re-signed veteran guard Michael Schofield, whom they cut Aug. 30.
In other injury news, rookie receiver Velus Jones returned to practice but remained limited with a lingering hamstring problem. Offensive tackle Riley Reiff (shoulder) was also limited.
In Green Bay, receiver Allen Lazard returned to practice after missing Week 1 with an ankle injury. Lazard was limited Wednesday, as were offensive linemen David Bakhtiari (knee) and Elgton Jenkins (knee). Guard Jon Runyan missed practice after suffering a concussion.