The worst-kept secret this week at Halas Hall is that the Bears are going to run the ball Sunday against the Chargers after their franchise-low seven carries in a 36-25 loss to the Saints.
As coach Matt Nagy said in a sound bite and quote that will live forever: ‘‘I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot.’’
Of course, the Chargers know the Bears are going to run more — maybe even a lot more — after the criticism Nagy faced in the aftermath of the loss to the Saints. So the question was posed to Nagy on Friday: Does knowing the Chargers likely are expecting a heavy dose of running plays alter his approach?
‘‘It’s hard for me to answer that question because we’re coming off a seven-attempt game, so we’re definitely going to run the ball more than seven times,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘But you could look at it the other way and maybe think [the Chargers are expecting it], and now we’re just going to throw it. And maybe we’re going to do that. I mean, who knows?
‘‘Maybe we’re going to run it eight times, not seven. At least there’s steady, incremental improvement. Would you agree with that?’’
Nagy chuckled as he said that. If anything, he has been even more open this week in acknowledging the Bears’ and his own shortcomings in response to a full week of critical questions after a second consecutive loss.
So regardless of what the Chargers do, the Bears are going to try to establish a running game. And the increase will be more than incremental.
‘‘We’re not going to run the ball eight times, don’t worry,’’ Nagy said.
Good news on the injury front
Safety and special-teams ace Sherrick McManis, who suffered a concussion against the Saints, had full participation in practice and is a go to play against the Chargers.
In fact, the Bears have a virtually clean injury report. Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols (knee), who is questionable after being limited in practice Friday, is the only player on it.