Takeaways from Matt Eberflus, DJ Moore and others after the Chicago Bears' first week of OTAs

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood for the Chicago Bears. Head coach Matt Eberflus said so.

That means it was a perfect day for the Bears to finish their first week of organized team activities on Thursday.

It was far from a great day for the Bears' offense. However, that's to be expected and it's not worrying a team of veterans.

"It’s not perfect right now," Eberflus said. "But it’s certainly making progress."

Here are takeaways from what Matt Eberflus, DJ Moore and others had to say after the Bears concluded their first week of OTAs on Thursday.

Eberflus appreciates the authenticity of the Bears

One of the things Eberflus did was place different players in groups with each other.

What he wanted to accomplish was the sharing of experiences. He wanted the players to get to know each other.

"We have a good mix of guys doing a lot of unique things," Eberflus said. "You can feel that its authentic."

Eberflus said these sessions led to authenticity. That starts with getting players together, which has been a strength for the Bears.

Eberflus said every player on the roster has been at Halas Hall at some point during the offseason.

"We've had our skull sessions, which we had in the past, in terms of small groups and talking about our path to the Bears and some of the things that we've had, hardships in our lives, and how we got through that, and talking about different topics like that," Eberflus said. "I always think that's good."

Moore sees the WR room as friendly competition

The Bears rookies are finding ways to surprise the veterans. Rome Odunze surprised DJ Moore right away.

"I didn’t know he was that fast," Moore said.

That's a boon for Moore. He gets to play alongside that speed, as well as established star Keenan Allen.

What that does is make sure the attention is spread out. Now, team's can't just double team Moore. They need to make sure Moore, Allen and Odunze are covered.

Eberlfus then pointed out, if you blanket all the receivers, who covers tight end Cole Kmet or running back D'Andre Swift?

"That's what weapons do for you, offensively," Eberflus said. "It really balances out the defense. It makes them play true and honest, rather than tilting the field one way or the other, to a star player."

With defenses staying honest to guard all the Bears weapons, the Bears receivers will have equal chance to make as many plays as possible. First-year offensive coordinator Shane Waldron knows this. The receivers do, too.

It's why there's a friendly competition among receivers to get to 1,000 yards first.

"It’s probably going to be a race to 1,000," Moore said. "I don’t know who’s going to get there first, but it’s going to be a race."

The veterans back Caleb Williams 

The offense did not fare well against the first-team defense as part of the media viewing session Thursday. William struggled to complete passes, but that's not entirely a surprising development.

"This is the first time going against a pro defense," Eberflus said. "It’s going to be learning for everybody."

Not only that, this is the Bears' first time piecing together Shane Waldron's offense against an NFL defense that's been under the same system for going on three years.

None of that fazes the Bears veterans. They have Williams' back.

"We got Caleb," Moore said. "We're going to ride through H-E-L-L and back with him."

This goes double for Williams. He's a rookie learning an NFL offense against an NFL defense.

What helps is the rest of the offense is there to lift him up.

"We got to get the connection down with Caleb," Moore said. "The whole offense just wants to be around each other."

Even the defense went to pick up the rookie quarterback after tormenting him all day long.

"Days like this are going to make you better," safety Kevin Byard said.

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS - MAY 11: Caleb Williams #18 of the Chicago Bears takes part in a drill during Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp at Halas Hall on May 11, 2024 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The coaches are pleased with the camaraderie

This Bears team is experienced. Plenty of the players on defense are used to playing alongside each other. The offense, while having plenty of new pieces, is taking the time to make sure they mesh.

This has impressed and pleased the coaching staff, especially considering 

"We going to use the veterans to help all the young guys," Eberflus said. "We’re going to lean on those guys."

One of the best teachers is experience, and this first week of OTAs has included Eberflus reinforcing his principles in his team.

At first, that may have been difficult. Now, with players on each level like Jaylon Johnson, Trumaine Edmunds and Jaquan Brisker, the experience can bring the younger players up to speed.

"You can learn a lot from the guys who have been successful in the league," Eberflus said.

The defense knows it needs to pick up where it left off

With some early offensive struggles on display at OTAs, the Bears aren't in panic mode in any way.

But, it does beg the question: what happens if the Bears need to rely on the defense early on in 2024?

Eberflus is confident in the unit, and it makes sense why. He's coached the defense up from young players and a three-win team in 2022 to winners of six of their last nine in the back end of 2023.

"We anticipate them coming out to a fast start," Eberflus said. "Nothing’s guaranteed in this league."

Still, the Bears have questions to answer. Will the pass rush add a veteran alongside Montez Sweat? Will the defensive backs take another step forward?

Eberflus has seen the defense play at a high level, even with these questions. What he wants to see are the biggest names setting the biggest examples.

"Our best players got to be our hardest workers," Eberflus said. 


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