Rough? Clunky? Luke Getsy seeing progress for Justin Fields, Bears’ offense

The offense hasn’t appeared sharp heading into Saturday’s preseason opener, but Getsy isn’t expecting too much too soon: “I just believe in getting better. A preseason game is hard to get too excited about or too frustrated about. Preseason is a different style.”

SHARE Rough? Clunky? Luke Getsy seeing progress for Justin Fields, Bears’ offense
Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) played 18 snaps over three possessions in last year’s preseason opener against the Chiefs.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) played 18 snaps over three possessions in last year’s preseason opener against the Chiefs.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy — who came of age as a coach in the NFL with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers — probably wonders what all the fuss is about with questions about his offense in training camp.

The blank look on his face when he was asked about another rough day for the Bears’ offense Thursday at practice said it all. This is the “What, Me Worry?” phase of Bears training camp, when the offense shows few overt signs of progress and the coaches remind us that it’s all part of a very incremental process.

The scrutiny of open training-camp practices is likely the bane of an NFL coach’s existence. We’re looking for something resembling a finished product, and coaches are piecing this thing together, with instructions in hand — with everybody watching.

So, a rough day for the offense?

“No, I don’t think so,” Getsy said. “We had a lot of good situations, a lot of low red-zone stuff. Big day [Wednesday] — tons of reps. So slow start for sure. Guys were a little bit slow to get going.

“We tried to do a little bit more on-the-ball stuff, too. Instead of huddling, we were on the ball a lot more today. So that part of it was a little bit more challenging . . . assignment-wise, because the guys have been doing a really good job over the last week or so. But the improvement from that has been awesome.

“You’ve got the young guys. False starts first time [Wednesday]. First time doing silent cadence issues, and then [Thursday] first time really doing on-the-ball stuff. It seems like we’re going to just always have that little learning curve for some of those young guys.”

Eventually — like Sept. 10 against the Packers — the bar will be raised for Getsy’s offense in Year 2. But not yet. This is still a work in progress, and the Bears’ preseason opener against the Titans on Saturday at Soldier Field is a small part of that process.

“I just believe in getting better,” Getsy said. “A preseason game is hard to get too excited about or too frustrated about. Preseason is a different style. We’re trying to do as good of a job as we can evaluating the guys on our roster. So you’re going to do some different things.”

Expectations aren’t that high. The Bears haven’t scored a touchdown with their starting quarterback in the preseason opener since 2014, when Jay Cutler threw a 10-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Miller against the Eagles at Soldier Field.

But Getsy still will have a close eye on how the offense plays perhaps more than what the offense produces.

“It’s still important that we’re able to follow our principles and see that play style,” Getsy said. “We want to make sure that is evident on the tape. That better be evident on the tape — the way we’re firing off the football, taking care of the football and the way we finish. We want to do that better than anybody in the world. So that better be what we see in the first week.”

The Bears’ offense is in such a formative stage, the simplest things will be worth watching. Protecting quarterback Justin Fields is at the top of the list. In last year’s preseason opener against the Chiefs, Fields was sacked twice in 10 drop-backs, including the third snap of the opening possession.

Rookie Darnell Wright was drafted 10th overall in the first round to shore up the pass protection. With Wright’s issues with false starts in practice Wednesday and Thursday, he and the offensive line might be in the spotlight as much as Fields in the exhibition opener. Just seeing how much faith Getsy has in his protection for Fields by his play-calling will be interesting.

Fields and the first-team offensive line played 18 snaps in last season’s opener and could get as much work against the Titans. But with a simple task: The Bears need to show the “operation” of the offense is sound. This offense needs to play clean — no confusion, no pre-snap penalties — before it can take the next step.

“I think it falls back into the chemistry thing,” Getsy said. “Getting that group, kind of for the first time, [in a game together]. Darnell — just to put him in a uniform, get up, hear the cadence, hear the huddle call . . . all that stuff is invaluable. So let’s get a crack at it. It will be good to get things started out the right way.”

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