Bears notebook: QB Justin Fields has rocky final practice in minicamp

Plus, the latest on Nick Foles, how Equanimeous St. Brown is already paying off for the Bears and a trio of experienced offensive tackles get tryouts at Halas Hall.

SHARE Bears notebook: QB Justin Fields has rocky final practice in minicamp
Bears quarterback Justin Fields pauses during a minicamp practice.

Fields is looking to relaunch after a frustrating rookie season under the previous coaching staff.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

It’s not alarming at this point, and it’s just some light work in a voluntary minicamp, but brace yourself for a hard-to-take update on the Bears’ offense: It was a wreck Thursday.

The glitches, including interceptions by quarterback Justin Fields, were a reminder that even though the team believes it has made meaningful offensive upgrades, this will probably take a while to fix.

It didn’t bother coach Matt Eberflus much, and he emphasized that the goal is growth rather than results. Interceptions aren’t necessarily bad in April, he said, as long as they’re used as a springboard for improvement.

“As you watch this tape with your coaches, how can I grow and get better?” Eberflus said he told players after practice. “We have to do a great job of learning through those performances. That’s how you get better.

“It’s always a positive either way. The offense is gonna score a bunch of touchdowns against our defense during the coming months. It’s growth mindset. You’ve gotta learn from it. You’ve just gotta move forward.”

‘Vacay’ for Foles

It looks increasingly clear that Nick Foles will not be with the Bears this season.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles said last month the team signed backup quarterback Trevor Siemian because he’s “a better fit” than Foles and “hopefully” he can unload Foles in a trade.

Judging by Foles’ absence this week and Eberflus’ non-answer Thursday when asked if he’d prefer to have him practicing while he’s on the roster, it seems likely the Bears are set on moving on from him even if they can’t get something in return.

I’m gonna defer that really to Ryan... That’s gonna be on those two guys to talk that through,” Eberflus said when asked what his plan is for Foles. “Every situation is where it is, and we’re just gonna leave it at that. Let them figure it out with agent, player, GM, and we’ll go from there.”

Foles, meanwhile, is having a fine time this week. He posted photos of him and his family at the beach in Santa Barbara, Calif., on social media with the caption, “Nothing like a family vacay.”

He’s on the Bears’ books for a $10.7 million salary-cap hit this season, and they’d save $3-4 million in space by cutting him.

Former general manager Ryan Pace traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for Foles in 2020 and signed him to a three-year, $24 million deal. He played nine games in 2020 and one last season.

Teacher’s aid

The Bears’ signing of former Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown won’t make any of those grabby “Top 10 Offseason Moves” lists online, but he has already proven valuable as new coordinator Luke Getsy implements his offensive system.

Brown was with Getsy for four seasons in Green Bay and has been an ideal intermediary between him and the receivers.

“He’s helped pretty well,” Darnell Mooney said. “He brings in the same mindset that he had with Coach Getsy... They obviously talked a lot and they kind of clicked together.”

Tackle tryouts

The Bears brought in three veteran offensive tackles for tryouts: Caleb Benecoch (most recently with the Saints), Julie’n Davenport (Colts) and Trenton Scott (Panthers).

Each has played at least 36 NFL games, and Scott started five games for the Panthers last season.

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