Every week during the regular season we get an opportunity to talk with the opposing head coach via conference call. This week it was Chicago Bears new head coach Matt Nagy. I also scanned the Chicago area media websites and the Bears website, to see what else the Bears players and coaches are saying about this week’s matchup with the Lions.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Chicago rookie linebacker Roquan Smith went to Georgia and faced Lions rookie running back Kerryon Johnson (Auburn) a couple times over their SEC college years. Smith was very complimentary of Johnson.
“He’s a running back with great vision,” Smith told chicagobears.com. “He hits the hole when he sees it. Just makes the most of each and every play. Loves to get the tough yards as well.”
2. The Bears are hoping outside linebacker Khalil Mack can return to practice this week after sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury. Nagy called Mack’s injury a day-by-day and “darn near hour-by-hour” injury right now. Mack has 20 tackles, 5.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown in six games this season.
Meet this weeks opponents, the Chicago Bears.
3. Nagy has watched the tape of last week’s Lions game vs. Minnesota, and said that just because the Vikings were able to gash the Lions for 10 sacks doesn’t mean his defense will have equal success. He made the point that certain teams match up differently against other teams, and he expects a good challenge from Detroit’s offensive line trying to bounce back from last week’s performance.
4. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said the next three games will tell a lot about what kind of team the Bears are and where they’re headed. The Bears kick off three straight games against NFC North opponents starting Sunday against the Lions. At 5-3, there’s a lot of opportunity laying in front of Chicago, but Trubisky said they won’t make the mistake of looking past Detroit this weekend.
5. Trubisky will be playing against Matt Patricia’s defense for the first time, and has some expectations for what he might see.
“They are going to try and confuse you with disguises, lining guys up in different spots, bringing different personnels in, and just trying to disguise coverage to make it hard on the quarterback or the for the receivers to recognize coverage,” he said Wednesday.
Trubisky said film study and preparation will be key this week. Chicago’s goal is to make Detroit react to what they’re doing and not the other way around.
6. Nagy is considered one of the top young offensive minds in football. Who are some of the other offensive minds around the league he respects the most? His answer: Andy Reid, Sean McVay, Sean Payton and Kyle Shanahan.
But he also said there’s a lot of great minds on both sides of the ball, and that makes the league fun right now.