LAKE FOREST – Just a week after the start of training camp practice, the focus is already turning toward the first time the Bears will take the field for the 2022 season.
That will be on Saturday, August 13 at Soldier Field as they host the Chiefs at Soldier Field at Noon in Matt Eberflus’ first preseason contest as an NFL head coach.
On Wednesday, as the team continues their training camp workouts at Halas Hall, he was asked about if his starters would see the field for that contest.
“Yes, we will play first team guys against the Chiefs, absolutely,” said Eberflus.
How much, of course, is the question that still has a week-and-a-half to get answered.
“The number of plays we’re still working on, but we do want to get them a good amount,” said Eberflus.
That will include quarterback Justin Fields, according to the head coach, as he gets ready to lead the offense from the start in his second season in the NFL, but his first under new coordinator Luke Getsy.
“More reps at it,” said Fields when asked about the value of preseason game snaps. “Seeing a different defense. That’s really the only thing. We practice against our defense every day, so to get to go up against somebody else that will be good for us, for sure.”
Getting starters work in the first game of the preseason is more of a priority than in years past since the league made the decision to reduce the number of contests from four to three in 2021. This was done as the regular season was increased by one game from 16 to 17 contests.
Last season against the Dolphins under then head coach Matt Nagy, starters were in around a quarter and a half before most were pulled from the game. Of course, a new regime could mean a new plan so how Eberflus plans to handle that is still to be seen.
The Bears completed a three-day stretch of practices on Wednesday that included the first two days of pads, and will resume work on Friday through Sunday. The annual Soldier Field practice is scheduled for next Tuesday after a day off and will be followed by two workouts at Halas Hall before the preseason opener on August 13th against the Chiefs.