Bears players see the plusses in virtual offseason

  • Bears coach Matt Nagy came to see the value of virtual learning: "We've had a phenomenal nine weeks of virtual learning. They've been really good, solid weeks. ... On top of that on the football side, we've done a lot mentally to them.

    Bears coach Matt Nagy came to see the value of virtual learning: "We've had a phenomenal nine weeks of virtual learning. They've been really good, solid weeks. ... On top of that on the football side, we've done a lot mentally to them. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/26/2020 6:58 PM

It's been a couple weeks since I asked Bears head coach Matt Nagy a few times what he thought the real benefits of the virtual offseason could be, and at what point he thought it might be reaching diminishing returns.

He didn't answer initially and had a reason for waiting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I wanted to inform y'all that I talked to the team (recently) and informed them we're going to end our offseason program a week and a half early.

"We've had a phenomenal nine weeks of virtual learning. They've been really good, solid weeks. ... On top of that on the football side, we've done a lot mentally to them.

"We think with the attendance we've had, with the players and coaches being adaptive, it's been different, but they've really responded well to it."

In other words -- and I don't want to put words in his mouth -- but what else could he be saying, there is nothing more to be gained with daily Zoom meetings.

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"What this is going to do is ... the players can focus on training. Now they get to really not worry about meetings so much Monday through Thursday but they can focus on their bodies and train and come into training camp really prepared."

Nagy is pretty much confirming that after so many Zooms it might have been taking time away from valuable hours in the weight room and cardio machines.

"You want to be careful, I think, there's that fine line of going too far. If you go too far and we're all staring at each other for two hours and we're going over stuff and they're not really listening ... let's be productive.

"Let's let them go work out and when we come back for training camp we're going to be ready to rock 'n' roll."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kicker Eddy Pineiro said it wasn't a waste of time.

"The biggest thing is communication. My special teams meeting benefitted me a lot. This is great because for our position all of this is mental, in my opinion. I've mentally gotten a lot stronger through these Zoom meetings. It's helped me a lot."

One of the club's new veteran free agent tight ends, Demetrius Harris, was pretty clear all the Zooming was different, but it allowed him to learn a lot about a number of his new teammates.

"I mean it's weird but I kind of adapted to it because I've seen a lot of personalities in this league.

"I adjusted seeing those people's personalities and the personalities on this team are just like the K.C. vibe."

Roquan Smith is trying to bounce back from a roller-coaster ride of a second season, and he doesn't think the loss of a traditional offseason has slowed him all that much.

"I feel great. I feel the offseason ... it is what it is. Regardless if we're all together or not I don't feel it hindered anyone.

"I feel you're going to do what you're going to do regardless if you're there with the team or if you're away from the team. Like at the end of the day, someone's going to bust their tail if they're with the team or without the team."

At the end of the day, or the virtual offseason, Smith says the Bears are ready.

"I love the way each and every one of us is approaching each day like it's our last. We are taking advantage of the opportunity, just controlling what we can control for now."

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