Bears, Justin Fields vow to fight energy drain

The Bears will need that passion on a steamy Sunday afternoon in Tampa, where a victory would revive a season that started with all the sizzle of a wet firecracker.


Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus watches from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Packers. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The low energy on the Bears sideline still bothered safety Jaquan Brisker, even two days after their 38-20 loss to the rival Packers. So on Tuesday, Brisker texted quarterback Justin Fields. They agreed to meet with their respective sides of the football and share the message generated from their text conversation: the Bears need more energy.

“I felt like I had to get it out there that us as leaders have to do better bringing the team up,” Brisker said. “No one should be holding their head down.”

It looked that way at times Sunday. With 8:05 to play in the third quarter and the Bears trailing by 11, Fox cameras showed the Bears bench. The offensive line, receiver DJ Moore and Fields were staring blankly and silently, and the announcing crew picked up on the dull vibes.

“We need to have more energy,” Fields said this week. “And that’s on both sides. 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. ... I think that both sides can do better for each other just in creating more energy.”

The Bears will need that energy on a steamy Sunday afternoon in Tampa, where a victory would revive a season that started with all the sizzle of a wet firecracker. So would the basic offensive execution that was so sorely lacking in the rivalry game.

Both things start, as always, with Fields. He needs to play better after an uninspiring performance in which he was neither efficient nor explosive. But he also needs to rally his teammates — and Fields, who is naturally stoic, isn’t often the rah-rah type.

“It comes down to executing, right?” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “You get energy from execution … 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.”

The most disturbing part about the Bears questioning their sideline energy is the fact they did the same thing just a month ago. Eight days into training camp, Fields and the offense was getting regularly trounced by a raucous defense in drills. Fields felt they weren’t matching their defenders’ energy, so he huddled offensive players after an Aug. 2 practice and told them they needed to hype themselves up, the way the defenders did.

“Every little win that we have on the field, we just need to have energy about it,” Fields said then. “Because that energy is contagious.”

When it’s not there, that’s contagious, too.

“Our energy’s been different ...” Brisker said of the defense. “We had energy and then it kinda like wavered off. I feel like it was kinda up and down. That’s not us.”

No one is excited to get beat as bad as the Bears did in the final 20 minutes of the rivalry game. But not all sidelines are so quiet.

“Obviously in that second half, it did get ugly,” left tackle Braxton Jones said. “You have to find a way to get momentum — if that’s within yourself, if that’s within somebody yelling and chirping and you need somebody to get up and scream. You have to have that within yourself, to get up and play.”

The Bears didn’t make plays against the Packers. They need to against the Bucs.

“Energy comes from execution,” cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. “When you’re getting your ass whupped, there ain’t no energy. And if you see people with energy on the sideline and they’re getting their ass whupped, something’s wrong.

“We have to be able to execute to be able to drive that energy.”

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