LAKE FOREST – Matt Eberflus wasn't interested in the Bears' schedule when released a few weeks ago. However, he is aware that the schedule makers might have given the Bears an early-season gift.
The Bears will open the season at home against the San Francisco 49ers before traveling to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in Week 2.
As the Packers' quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator, Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy spent the last three seasons in Green Bay. We don't know much about Getsy's offense, but we know it will be an offshoot of the Shanahan tree.
Given that both the 49ers and Packers run some version of the same offense, Eberflus plans to lean on Getsy and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, who has experience running the system with the Vikings, to prepare the Bears for those opening tilts.
"Yeah, I mean, I think you lean on what you have in the building, you know, so we have a few guys from that staff and guys that have been part of that system as well," Eberflus said Tuesday after the Bears' fourth practice of OTAs. "Andrew Janocko was part of that system too, very similar system, so those guys are giving us great insight into that. We're going to be practicing against a similar offense, so that's going to be very helpful for the early part of our schedule."
Getsy's offense being an unknown could give the Bears an element of surprise early in the season. Meanwhile, Eberflus and Alan Williams' defense should benefit from facing a similar scheme as the 49ers and Packers run.
After those first two games, the Bears play the Houston Texans, New York Giants, and Vikings before hosting the Washington Commanders in Week 6.
With three months to go before the season begins, Eberflus and his staff are already working on game plans for specific opponents and schemes based on how the schedule panned out.
"Once you get the schedule, you look and see, 'Hey, who's your first three or four games? What are the short weeks that you come upon during the course of the (season) and what preparation you're going to need to get ahead, so to speak, during training camp?'" Eberflus said. "Any unique type of scheme that you might see during the course of your schedule, be it run or pass, you know, a running type quarterback that might be doing something unique where you have to work on it during training camp.
"We'll be working on our division during training camp as well as some of those early opponents, and that's typical to the league."
While most expect the Bears to be among the NFC's worst teams in 2022, there is potential for Chicago to get off to a surprising start.
The 49ers have had a turbulent offseason and will be handing the reigns to the offense over to second-year quarterback Trey Lance. Lance has a lot of talent but looked raw in spot duty during his rookie season. Given that it will be his third career start, he likely will only have a paired-down version of Kyle Shanahan's offense in Week 1.
Every season, Week 1 has at least one or two upsets that are inexplicable. So it's not unfathomable to see the Bears knocking off a 49ers team still finding its footing in Week 1.
Following that Packers game in Week 2, the Bears have winnable games against two of the worst rosters in the NFL – the Texans and Giants. So, starting 3-1 isn't out of the realm of possibility for the 2022 Bears.
Any advantage helps in the NFL, and the Bears hope Luke Getsy and their offense can give them an edge early on.