BOURBONNAIS – It was a very unusual switch from the normal routine of preseason training, but Matt Nagy isn’t afraid to mix things up when it comes to his Bears.
So instead of another morning practice at Halas Hall on Wednesday, Nagy instead decided to have more of a scrimmage-type workout and had the players come out under the lights for the session.
Players came out of the tunnel just like they would in a real game. Music was played like it would be at Soldier Field, and they even brought in an air raid siren, which would play at various times during home games last year.
The offense and defense each got 60 plays, giving the Bears as close to a gameday situation as they could get in a training camp environment.
“I think the biggest thing is you can play more situation football, I think that’s the biggest thing these guys took, and they get a little bit of conditioning in a game-like environment, and it’s all controlled,” said Nagy of his reasons for the switch in practice format.
But one thing did get a bit out of control for a second consecutive day at Bears’ training camp, and it’s not exactly what the coach wanted to see. During a session, offensive lineman Kyle Long got into a fight with defensive end Jalen Dalton, with helmets coming off during the skirmish.
Long didn’t participate in the rest of the practice after that. Nagy wouldn’t confirm if the offensive guard was thrown out of practice, but he did say this fight differed from the one between Javon Wims and Prince Amukamara on Tuesday.
That’s not a good thing.
“Yesterday, to me, was more of a pillow fight. Today I thought was a little bit…like I said, it was disappointing,” said Nagy.
It was a different tone from the previous day from Nagy, who had said that sometimes emotions run high with competitive players, resulting in scuffles. The coach was a bit more serious when discussing this altercation and the necessity to address it with everyone.
“That kinda stuff we just don’t do and I think at some point in time we’ve got to prove we’re a mature team. I’ve been saying it to you all for the longest time, we have a bunch of high-character people,” said Nagy. “So that starts with us as coaches, making sure that we lead these guys the right way.
“Then we also make sure that they understand that, that can’t happen. It can’t happen. It’s not going to happen but we’ll handle that internally. We’ll have one-on-one, man-to-man discussions with everybody and make sure it’s handled the right way.”
He’ll have time to do that since there is still three weeks until the season opener against the Packers. But Nagy’s not taking any chances to get his team ready for opening night, both physically and mentally.