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3 things we heard from the Chicago Bears, including the reported plan to start Andy Dalton over an injured Justin Fields on Thanksgiving

By the time Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy and his players spoke to the media Monday at Halas Hall, they had only about 72 hours to prepare for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

The quick turnaround demanded they move on quickly from Sunday’s brutal 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Here are three things we heard from Nagy and players as they regrouped.

1. As Justin Fields deals with injured ribs, the turnaround is reportedly too quick for him to start against the Lions.

Nagy didn’t provide an update on the injured ribs Fields suffered in the third quarter Sunday, though multiple reports — including an Instagram video of Fields — said initial tests showed his ribs are bruised but not broken. Fields also reportedly had his spleen checked out, but Nagy said the injury is only to Fields’ ribs.

NFL Network reported Monday night that after a day of tests on Fields’ injury, the Bears determined they will start Andy Dalton instead of Fields on Thursday.

Nagy said the Bears were evaluating Fields’ pain level and weighing that against the desire to further Fields’ growth with more reps. He said the Bears might have to “protect him from himself” when deciding if Fields could play and not put him at risk of making the issue worse.

“He’s a tough guy, so when you go through these type of things, our trainer Andre (Tucker) has to be able to gauge where he’s at,” Nagy said. “With this being the ribs, we just have to be able to evaluate, OK, pain and the simplicity of breathing and sleeping — the things that we just take for granted — to throwing a football.”

The Bears held a walk-through and not a practice Monday, but they estimated on their injury report that Fields would not have participated. They also estimated that defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (ankle), wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring), cornerback Duke Shelley (hamstring) and running back Damien Williams (calf) would not have practiced. Safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring) and wide receiver Darnell Mooney (foot) would have been limited.

2. Tight end Cole Kmet said Bears players will work on their timing with Andy Dalton while also getting enough rest to play a game in a few days.

Dalton, who entered in the second half Sunday after Fields was injured and threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns, will make his first start since Week 2.

“I prepare the same way I’ve prepared this whole year,” Dalton said Sunday night. “So if I’m starting, I’ll be ready to go.”

Dalton practiced with the offensive starters in training camp but hasn’t worked with them much in the last couple of months after he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in the second game of the season and then lost his job to Fields.

Kmet said players need to adapt to playing with a different type of quarterback.

“It’s something I’ve been used to now for the past year and a half. I’ve had a lot of rotation at quarterback,” Kmet said. “So it’s just something that you’ve got to be able to adapt to and take care of.

“You’ve got to know when Andy’s in, how he’s throwing the ball is different than how Justin’s throwing it. There are things you’ve got to keep in mind in those situations — how they get rid of the ball, what they’re looking at.”

3. Bears defensive players aren’t interested in ‘rah-rah speeches.’

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson was asked Monday if anybody addressed the locker room after the defense gave up a winning scoring drive late in the fourth quarter for the second straight game.

“Honestly, how many games have we lost in a row? Yeah, there’s nothing to talk about,” Johnson said. “We aren’t going to beat a dead horse. Like I said, we are all men. Coming in here and saying, ‘We have to figure out a way,’ to me, it’s BS.

“There’s nothing to keep coming in here and talking about and having all these rah-rah speeches. We’ve had five weeks of rah-rah speeches. I don’t think that talking is anything we need to be doing.”

Johnson’s shut-up-and-do-your-job message was echoed by inside linebacker Roquan Smith, who said it’s about each player holding himself accountable. Of course Johnson, who said he was thrown at once all game, and Smith, who had 17 tackles, had fewer errors to scrutinize than others, especially on the Ravens’ late touchdown drive.

Nagy called the defensive lapse that led to Tyler Huntley’s 29-yard pass to Sammy Watkins on third-and-12 “a communication breakdown” and indicated cornerback Kindle Vildor should have followed Watkins.

Defensive backs Vildor, Marqui Christian and Tashaun Gipson all moved to the middle of the field as Watkins broke uncovered down the right sideline. The Bears prevented a touchdown only because Deon Bush charged across the field to knock down Watkins at the 3-yard line. The Ravens scored on the next play.

“They were in a little bunch set, and we just had a communication breakdown with the man coverage that we were in,” Nagy said. “We have our own little rules, and they have communication tools that they use within the bunch sets, so there’s a little bit of details that go into that.

“It looks like it to all of us, yeah, it’s on Kindle. But they have their own set of rules of communicating and who has what with the way they defend the bunch set.”

Johnson said he told Vildor and other players to pick up their heads after the collapse, and he said the focus this week needs to be on finishing games.

“We need to change — the defensive backs,” Johnson said. “At the end of the day, we’ve just got to be better. Whatever it is, if it’s communication, if it’s execution, if it’s lack of focus, whatever it is in that moment, we have to lock in and make a conscious effort just to execute.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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