LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Wednesday was a day for the Bears' offense to forget. Aside from a successful two-minute drill that ended in a field goal, quarterback Justin Fields and the first-team offense struggled to get anything productive going in both 7-on-7 and full-team drills.
The result was two hours and twenty minutes of the Bears' defense making plays and letting the offense hear about it. From Eddie Jackson to Jaquan Brisker and Jaylon Johnson, the Bears' defense spent most of Wednesday's padded practice chirping at a frustrated and lackluster offense.
That lack of energy caused Fields to pull the offense aside after practice to deliver a message.
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"I think today in practice we came out probably a little flat," Fields said after practice. "So I just talked to the guys after practice. Every little win that we have on the field, we just need to have energy about it because that energy is contagious. That’s one thing I think the defense does well is every little thing they do, well, the DBs are always hyping stuff up. They’re always ‘ahhhhh,’ and that just gets the whole defense going. I told the offense today that we just need to have that same juice as the defense did, but I feel that the defense came out and they competed well with us. I would say that they definitely won the day. We have an off day tomorrow, but the next day the offense has to come back stronger.”
"His message was, ‘Hey man, we got to bring it every day,’" wide receiver Darnell Mooney said. "Like he said, the defense brings it every day, the energy, and we're just flat. We have to have fun. You have to have seriousness and know how to have fun as well. Even if it's just a little play, even if it's like Chase [Claypool] had a good crack block today, and I don't think there was many guys that were jumping up and excited about that. Like, that's a good thing. We have to have that and take advantage of everything that we have. Even like the little things. But, I mean, he lets us know when he's pissed off and when he’s happy about practice, for sure."
The juiceless practice even got a reaction out of offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. During the first-team offense's third straight unsuccessful "move the ball" period, Getsy yelled at a frustrated unit to "pick it up."
"When I saw them walking back to the huddle, like to me it doesn't matter, whatever the circumstance is, we all stick together, we stay together, and we find a way to dig out of whatever it is, and we've got to find a way to keep fighting," Getsy said Wednesday. "So we never going to give up and so when I felt that that that's when you guys heard that."
The Bears' offense has a fair amount of even-keeled players, from Fields to Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet.
Both Fields and Mooney targeted wide receiver Chase Claypool as a member of the offense who always brings the fire. Claypool was one of the few members of the offense to go back at the chirpy defensive backs during Wednesday's practice. At one point, Claypool came to the aid of wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. who was in a heated back-and-forth with Johnson and Brisker.
Claypool's fire is appreciated, but the Bears also need to harness it and reign it in.
However, the juice the offense needs -- the consistent edge -- has to come from Fields.
"I think it starts, one, with the quarterback," Mooney said. "I mean, he has to come in the huddle, bring confidence in the huddle, and understand that -- it's just with him. Justin is a calm guy. So he has to understand that he is our leader and our guy, so we go as far as he goes, and he has to come in with that juice. And he does come in, and sometimes he's just so locked in so, so dialed into what he's doing. he has to sometimes click in, like, 'Hey, I gotta get my guys jumping.'
"And that's why sometimes I'll come up to him, just hit him in the back of the head or jump up to him that I'm trying to get him like, not so locked in. So we understand, like, 'Hey, we looking at you to see how far we can go.' So, and him being a young guy. I mean, it is what it is. This is his team. But he understands that he has to, he has to bring the juice every day."
The Bears are still finding their way seven days into training camp. They take their cues from Fields. They'll march to his beat, but tough love might be needed if the energy continues to wane.
Fields' message was received loud and clear after Wednesday's subpar practice. It's one the Bears' offense needs take to heart -- fast.