On Saturday, August 12, the Chicago Bears will take on the Tennessee Titans in the first preseason contest for either club this year.
But there will be a bit of a twist.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is handing the reins to assistant head coach and assistant defensive line coach Terrell Williams for the night. Asked if he had considered doing something similar, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus delivered a bit of a reality check.
Bears ‘Need Everybody In Their Responsibilities’ vs Titans
Matt Eberflus: Titan HC Doing ‘Great Thing’
“Where we are at, the Chicago Bears, right now, I just feel that we need to have everybody in their responsibilities so we can polish up our stuff as we get going,” Eberflus said. “This is our first preseason game, and then we need to polish it up as we go and then get ready for that first [regular season] game.”
Indeed, we mustn’t forget that this coaching staff – head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator – is in just its second season in their respective roles.
For all of the talk about the roster makeover undertaken by second-year general manager Ryan Poles as much if not more focus should be on the people in those roles. The Bears led the NFL in roster turnover last season, per Pro Football Focus, and made even more changes this summer.
It will be on the coaches to make sure that everyone is on the same page in Week 1.
Conversely, Vrabel is entering his sixth season as head coach for the Titans. They have made the postseason in three of those seasons and posted double-digit wins in two of those. Williams has been with Vrabel in Tennessee the entire time after his four-year tenure with the Miami Dolphins.
He was promoted to assistant head coach (defense) this offseason.
Mike Vrabel announces that assistant HC and DL coach Terrell Williams will serve as Titans’ HC vs Bears on Saturday. Vrabel will be assisting. Great exposure for Williams down the road for potential HC candidacy: pic.twitter.com/lQXfDXEL7J
— Teresa Walker 👑 (@TeresaMWalker) August 7, 2023
“I think it’s a great, great thing, what he’s doing,” Eberflus continued. “That’s where they are right now.”
Aside from that familiarity, the Titans were the better team last season. Even in what was the worst season of Vrabel’s tenure, Tennessee went 7-10 while the Bears are coming off a 3-14 campaign.
Bears OC Got Taste of Life as HC at Senior Bowl
While Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy won’t be running the show on Saturday, he did get invaluable experience as head coach of the American Team at the Reese’s Senior Bowl earlier this year. He spoke with ChicagoBears.com’s Larry Mayer about his experience down in Mobile, Alabama in May.
“It was a cool opportunity to get to know those guys on a different level,” Getsy said, per Mayer. “To be able to go there and put a stamp on the guys was definitely worth it.”
Williams is taking on a different challenge altogether. But the experience from being at the top of the chain of command should translate to whatever role he (or Getsy) decides to pursue next, whenever that time comes.
Bears Injury Update
With just two days until the preseason opener, it’s notable that the injuries continue to linger/pile up for the Bears. Projected starters, Jaquan Brisker (safety), Nate Davis (right guard), Tremaine Edmunds (middle linebacker), and DeMarcus Walker (EDGE) all remained sidelined. Wide receiver Chase Claypool also got banged up at Wednesday’s practice.
Eberflus continues to insist that he was not concerned about players’ availability for Week 1 of the regular season. He has previously noted the significance of building “continuity”, though, which is impossible with guys out.