The Chicago Bears returned to Halas Hall Monday after their bye week to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field.
Here are three things we heard from coach Matt Eberflus and his players.
1. Cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker are not following concussion protocol.
The rookies each missed two games after suffering head injuries against the Atlanta Falcons, but Eberflus said they should be ready to return to practice on Wednesday.
He said the Bears’ strength personnel will increase their workload this week to prepare them for a return to play.
Gordon and Brisker were second-round picks in the spring, and giving them more experience over the past four games would be an advantage for the Bears as they look to the future.
“Having Gordon as a nickel will be a big deal for us going forward,” Eberflus said. “A lot of teams play against 11 people (three wide receivers), so we’ll be in that group a lot. And obviously the impact of Brisker with his striking and ballhawking skills – we’re thrilled to get those two guys back.
Brisker has 73 tackles, five tackles for a loss, three sacks, one interception, one pass defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 11 games. Gordon has 55 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception, four passes defended and one forced fumble.
“(Gordon) has done a lot of good things with the various skill sets he has,” Eberflus said. “(It’s) just consistency. He had games where he tackled really well, then games where he had chances where we wish he was better. I would definitely say (we want him) to be more consistent over the last four games.
2. The Bears expect running back Khalil Herbert to return next week.
Herbert has been on injured reserve with a hip injury since mid-November, and Eberflus said the Bears expect him to return once he’s eligible after missing his fourth game on Sunday.
Herbert had 108 carries for 643 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games before being injured.
“We’re excited to have him back next week,” Eberflus said. ” He worked. Actually, I just talked to him in the hallway a while ago, and he’s getting ready to leave. He has reached his maximum speed and his jumps are good and his power in his legs is excellent.
The Bears have relied on starter David Montgomery — and Darrynton Evans the past two games — to pick up the workload with Herbert out.
3. Over the next two weeks, the Bears will face two of the top four teams in yards and points per game.
The Eagles are averaging 392 yards (third in the NFL) and 29.7 points (first). The Buffalo Bills, which the Bears host at Soldier Field on Dec. 24, are averaging 397.1 yards (second) and 27.2 points (fourth).
Even with the Bears healthier with the return of Gordon and Brisker, facing these opponents in back-to-back weeks feels like a mighty test for a defense that hasn’t held an opponent within 27 points in all six games. crew. losing streak.
“We see it as an opportunity and a big challenge to be able to see our guys compete individually and also as units against these guys,” Eberflus said. “We’re going to face two of the best defenses in the league over the next few weeks and obviously two of the best offenses.
“Both very good quarterbacks. Both are really solid and really good on special teams. So it will be a big challenge for our football team.
First up is Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who threw for 3,157 yards and 22 touchdowns with three interceptions and rushed for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has a 108.4 passer rating in addition to being third in rushing yards by a quarterback behind Justin Fields of the Bears and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens.
Watching Fields on a daily basis should help Bears defensemen understand what they’re up against with Hurts.
“He’s super athletic and he can improvise while running and going off-script like Justin,” linebacker Jack Sanborn said. “So it’s definitely going to be a challenge. They have plenty of tracks designed to help them get involved in the racing game, so everyone will focus on their keys, know their rules, and play some good football.