Chicago Bears starting safety Jaquan Brisker revealed he texted quarterback Justin Fields about the team’s lack of energy.
The Bears opened their 2023 season with the dud of all duds against NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers, losing at home 38-20 in front of a packed crowd. According to Matt Zahn of CBS Sports, Brisker said he texted Fields about the energy — or lack thereof — the Bears displayed throughout the loss to Green Bay.
“I had to get it out there. As leaders we have to do better bringing the team up.” Brisker said, per Zahn, also noting that the team had good energy in practices leading up to the matchup against the Packers, but “it kind of wavered off” during the game.
Justin Fields Knows Jaquan Brisker Has a Point
Jaquan Brisker says he texted Justin Fields about the team’s lack of energy: “I had to get it out there. As leaders we have to do better bringing the team up.”
Says he felt like that had more energy during practice, but “it kind of wavered off” during the game. @cbschicago
— Matt Zahn (@mattzahnsports) September 13, 2023
When Fields spoke with the media on September 13, he mentioned the discussion he had with Brisker.
“I talked to Jaquan about this. We need to have more energy. And that’s on both sides,” Fields said. “When we’re up, we need to get each other going. We need to be on the sideline getting the defense rallied up and getting them more juiced up. So, no, I think that’s both sides can do better for each other just in creating more energy.”
Fields also acknowledged that his lack of aggressiveness against the Packers was a problem. He had the second shortest intended air yards per pass (3.3 yards) of any QB in Week 1, per Next Gen Stats, and he threw beyond 10 yards downfield just four times. Two of Fields’ top wideouts, DJ Moore and Chase Claypool, had four targets and two receptions combined.
“That’s one thing I talked to Luke [Getsy, offensive coordinator] and Coach [Matt Eberflus] about. I felt like I was a little bit too conservative at times during the game,” Fields said, referencing his lack of shots downfield. “Definitely with guys like DJ and Chase on the outside, if we do have one-on-one on the outside, potentially throwing it up and seeing what happens. With them, they’re great playmakers and they can most likely come up with a 50-50 ball. Definitely want to give them more chances.”
Fields finished 24-37 for 216 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Packers (78.2 rating). He’ll need to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers, particularly Moore, when the Bears face the 1-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 17.
Matt Eberflus: Energy Comes From Execution
Eberflus was asked about the team’s perceived lack of energy against Green Bay, and he said energy comes from proper fundamentals and execution.
“Energy really comes down to … what does it come down to? It comes down to executing, right? You get energy from execution, does that make sense? Execute at a high level, get a lot of energy. On defense, big hits and takeaways, that’s execution, that’s what it takes. Big runs, chunk plays, right? That creates energy,” he told reporters on September 13.
The Bears had just one explosive play over 20 yards against the Packers, a 23-yard pass from Fields to receiver Darnell Mooney. It’s on players and coaches alike to find ways to better execute moving forward. Fields completed nearly 65% of his passes, which is good — but he needs to take more shots down the field instead of checking down as much. He also needs to get rid of the ball sooner and avoid taking so many sacks (he was sacked four times against Green Bay).
His offensive line and the entire defense have work to do, as well.
“If we execute, we’re gonna have great energy because it’s play after play after play,” Eberflus added. “Is the other team gonna make a play? Yeah, you’ve gotta reset and then go execute. That’s where that energy comes from.”
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