Nagy tried to liven Bears' Zoom meetings with guest speakers
The Bears have concluded their virtual offseason, which included two-hour, team-wide Zoom calls several times per week.
Head coach Matt Nagy tried to boost the entertainment value of those meetings by lining up guest speakers. He said there were about 30 speakers total.
"That kind of broke up the monotony of it," Nagy said last week. "Your players tell you. They tell you how they feel. I like to ask a lot of the guys, 'What's the pulse of this team? How are they doing? How are we doing?' And they give us feedback, so we work off that. That's what tells me we're in a good place.
"Now, none of that matters necessarily to win a football game. What that matters is to win the offseason, which is a challenge right now with where we're at. I feel like they've won that part. So let's keep this moving forward. Let's get into training camp and let's try to turn this all into a good positive feeling so when we get on the field for the first time, we don't have any regrets."
Nagy declined to mention identities of the guest speakers, but a couple of assistant coaches praised the appearance of Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers is a die-hard Bears fan who grew up in Maywood, so his participation was predictable.
Nagy had his reasons for keeping the list quiet.
"Not to hide it from anybody, but to help protect them so they don't get a thousand phone calls," he said. "Unless somebody says go ahead and use my name ... not trying to hide anything."
Harris remembers chief:
Tight end Demetrius Harris, a free agent addition, spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with Kansas City, so he's very familiar with Bears coach Matt Nagy, who was quarterback coach and offensive coordinator of the Chiefs from 2013-17.
"It's Nags, man. He's a lovable person and he welcomes you with open arms," Harris said. "He's a very good players' coach and I love Nagy for that. He lets the players like be themselves.
"There's not a lot of coaches you can be around that you can be yourself without feeling weird. With Nags, you feel the love. He has a good vibe."
Quinn learns from afar:
Several new Bears have yet to meet their teammates, since much of the free-agent period happened during stay-home orders. Former Dallas defensive end Robert Quinn is one of those players who knows his new teammates mostly from Zoom calls.
"Even on these Zoom calls, you can tell the team is full of personalities," Quinn said. "I'm more of the quiet one, laid back. But there's a variety of different personalities from guys being themselves.
"But also you can (see) they take the game serious. Winning is fun, so they kind of try to put those hand in hand. (Even with) not being able to be in the locker room, I think we have a great group over there."
Some other players in that boat are QB Nick Foles, TE Jimmy Graham, OL Germain Ifedi, WR Ted Ginn Jr., LB Barkevious Mingo and all the rookies.
Skrine works solo:
Defensive back Buster Skrine talked about the challenges of getting in football shape without the benefit of OTA drills or the Bears facility.
"I think football is probably one of the hardest sports to get in shape, just because you can run a thousand sprints every day but once you get on the field, definitely as a DB, we react to every play," he said. "So the first week of camp, you're super sore.
"There is muscle memory as far as change of direction, but we never know where we're going. I told (the rookies), if you can get on the field, do footwork at least four times a week, 30 minutes or longer. That will help with the soreness a little bit."