On Wednesday, the Bears' defense owned the day over their offensive counterparts.
Justin Fields' passes were intercepted, batted down, or caught for a short gain. It wasn't a pretty performance by the offense by any means. These days happen, but when they do, there's no need to smash the panic button.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Practice is meant for failure. And when it comes to the offense, they're constantly trying new things with a trial-and-error mindset. After practice, Fields provided a thorough answer about the stark differences between the Bears' offense in training camp versus a real game.
"We're not game-planning for our defense right now," Fields said. "We have a bunch of set plays that we're running on our defense that we're just trying. Right now, it's harder for the offense to really hone in on certain plays because in a game we have an actual game plan where we're running certain plays.
"Guys probably aren't gonna have as many mistakes in the game because we have a set game plan, we have a call sheet where, boom, we have a set formation, we have this set of plays. But in training camp, we have a big list of plays. We're doing a bunch of stuff."
(Editor's note: I recommend listening to the entirety of his answer. It's an informative listen.)
Luke Getsy runs a Kyle/Mike Shanahan-style offense. Last season, it was predominantly run on the rushing side of the play sheet. The Bears led the league in rushing attempts and rushing yards. That wasn't for no reason. The Bears didn't have the personnel, nor the confidence to let loose through the air.
Now, they do. With the additions of DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, Robert Tonyan and an improving offensive line with Nate Davis and Darnell Wright, they'll broaden the play calls. No one should expect Fields to run for over 1,000 yards this season. If that's the case, the offense is probably doing something wrong.
To develop an offense, you have to try things. When is a better time to do that than the offseason? With a defense that ranked last in the NFL last season? They don't know what to expect, and neither does the offense. It's an experiment for both sides of the ball.
It's a demanding, challenging process to endure.
"It's very mentally challenging but I know it's gonna help us get better because we didn't just drive the field on our defense," Fields said. "That doesn't happen. I feel like this work we got today was good. It's back and forth. Boom, one day the offense has a good day, the defense has a good day today."
Would you rather have your offense drive over your defense all training camp? Or, have a healthy battle between the two, where both sides have their wins and losses? I'd prefer the latter. Without failure, there isn't a road to success. It's inevitable.
This isn't to make an excuse for Fields, or the Bears offense. Both were terrible last season. Fields was undoubtedly one of the worst passing quarterbacks in the league. His decision-making wasn't optimal, neither was his accuracy. There's room for improvement. But that doesn't happen unless he gets punched in the mouth.
The Bears would rather Fields and the offense eat punches now than during the season. While some might be quick to pounce on Fields for screwing up in practice, the signal caller explains how the process betters himself and the offense.
"It's constantly getting each other better, constantly going at it in practice each and every day," Fields said.