That class music line rings true here. You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone. Chicago Bears players thought they knew what hard work was under Matt Nagy since he was their only NFL experience as a head coach. As it turns out, they had no clue how easy they had it under the former head coach. That clarity reached new heights on Friday, August 5th, when practice concluded. One that many in attendance called the most intense they’d seen yet under Matt Eberflus.
The players seem to agree. Cole Kmet is no stranger to hard work. He split his time in college between two sports. He spent the last off-season learning under some of the best tight ends in the league, like Travis Kelce and George Kittle. The guy is in excellent shape. So when somebody like him admits a practice was brutal, that is noteworthy. Not only was Friday difficult, Kmet openly stated it was the hardest practice he’d ever been through.
Kmet wasn’t alone.
Eddie Jackson and Darnell Mooney backed up his assessment during their pressers. Mooney admitted he was laid out in the locker room afterward. Jackson said it was the kind of practice that forced a player to do one of two things, step up or “tap out.” He was proud to say nobody quit.
Matt Eberflus warned everybody what was coming.
When he took over the team, the head coach said players had better have their track shoes ready. This team was going to be running. Every practice would be played with high energy and intensity. He plans to have guys in top condition. There is no room for the weak on this roster. Guys better be tough mentally and physically if they want a place here. Winning in the NFL is hard. Only the teams that can work through pain and exhaustion reach the mountaintop.
It seems his message has finally gotten through to his players. Their roster status before 2022 doesn’t mean anything. The only way they will survive under his watch is by showing a willingness to work really, really hard. It isn’t for everybody. There will be some players that can’t handle such a punishing pace, which is entirely the point. Matt Eberflus’ goal is to weed out the weak and find 53 players that can play at maximum intensity for 60 minutes. The Bears will be a contender if and when that goal is accomplished.
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