What are the Chicago Bears talking about ahead of this week's NFC North matchup against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field? Let's find out:
1. Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that quarterback Justin Fields is 'progressing well' in his attempt to return from a thumb injury that's kept him out the last four games. The plan is for him to return this week and start Sunday against the Lions.
2. Fields said Wednesday he's really excited to be back. He said he was close to playing last Thursday vs. Carolina, but the extra week has made a big difference. He said the thumb is not 100 percent but feels a lot better than it did a week ago.
He initially started practicing with a glove on his throwing hand to help with the grip but didn't like it. He's practicing now with the thumb taped and said he'll see how it feels Sunday if he needs it taped for the game vs. Detroit or not.
View photos of the starters for the Chicago Bears.
3. Eberflus said this week will be a good test against the Lions' No. 2 ranked offense for his defense that's been playing better football of late. The thing he said that jumps out about Detroit's offense on tape is how balanced they are with their run and pass games.
He said Detroit's ability to distribute the ball to their backs in the run game, the emergence of rookie tight end Sam LaPorta and a balanced receiving corps led by Amon-Ra St. Brown makes it tough on a defense. Eberflus said Detroit puts a lot of pressure on a defense because they make teams defend the field both vertically and horizontally.
"Those guys being able to distribute the ball to those guys equally that's what makes it so hard to defend," he said.
4. Yin and Yang. That's how Eberflus described the running back duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs in Detroit. With Gibbs in particular, Eberflus talked about his explosiveness jumping out. He said it was the same thing they saw in college from Gibbs as the Bears did their homework on him in the pre-draft process going down to Alabama and meeting with him.
"The explosiveness he brings in the screen game and the run game, the cutback ability to circle your defense and bounce it outside," Eberflus said.
5. Being afforded a mini bye week having played last Thursday was good for newly acquired edge rusher Montez Sweat, per Eberflus. This will be Sweat's first full week of practice since coming over to Chicago in a trade with Washington.
Sweat had four hurries and three quarterback hits in Chicago's win over Carolina last Thursday. Eberflus referenced the impact Sweat has had on the Bears' defense as the 'Tez factor.'