Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy, quarterback Justin Fields and other players spoke to members of the media via video conference call on Wednesday as they began their final week of practice this season.
Here are three things we heard as they got ready for their Week 18 game against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on Sunday.
1. Justin Fields is about to start for the first time in three weeks.
Fields missed the last two games against the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants while recovering from an ankle injury in the Bears’ first game against the Vikings.
He said he hasn’t been able to walk or run pain-free last week, but the injury has slowly gotten better. Negi said he is expected to practice on Wednesday.
Fields said it was important for his teammates to play in the last match.
“You don’t get these moments back,” he said. “I don’t know who might be here next year, so I’m just getting one last game with those guys and not taking any of it.
“Of course I could just sit out the last game and prepare for next season, but every chance I get to play the game I love, I’m going to do it. … It’s important to show that I What kind of man am I to my teammates and my coaches.”
Fields said his preparation for the Vikings this week has been a little easier because they were the last team he faced. He completed 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards with touchdowns, three sacks and a lost fumble and ran seven times for 35 yards in a loss of 17-9,
The Bears went 2–0 behind Nick Foles and Andy Dalton against the Seahawks and Giants, who are last in their divisions.
The Bears haven’t won a game starting October 10 against the Las Vegas Raiders, so he sees value in trying to go into the off-season on a win.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “We are on a two-game winning streak right now. Making it three would just be awesome in bringing that positive momentum into the offseason.”
2. The Chicago Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America named the winners of the 2021 Jeff Dickerson Good Guy Award.
Safety Tashan Gipson and outside linebacker Robert Quinn are this year’s recipients, awarded for their professionalism, integrity and engagement with the media.
Quinn provided one of the most colorful moments in Good Guy Award acceptance history when asked why he is so forthright and friendly in his dealings with reporters.
“They say a man has two things: he’s his words and his nuts,” Quinn said. “And you don’t even want to give up. So when I talk to people I try to be as honest as I can.”
Gipson said he turned to receiver Andrew Hawkins during his early days in the league with the Cleveland Browns and appreciated how straight and well spoken Hawkins was.
“Not every question will be a friendly question that you enjoy answering,” Gipson said. “But to see the people around me for a short part of my career—we had my old school in Cleveland—and to see and witness it for the first time, you begin to understand how you treat yourself.” Do it and be a professional when it comes to talking to the media. Whatever the topic, whatever the situation.”
The Chicago chapter’s Good Guy Award was named last week after Dickerson, a 20-year appearance on Bears Beat for ESPN. He died on 28 December After battling colon cancer at the age of 43.
Other recent winners of the award include Mitch Trubisky (2020), Alan Robinson (2019), Prince Amukamara (2018), Zach Miller (2017) and Tracy Porter (2016).
3. Right in form, Tashan Gipson produced a colorful recap of his first quarter interception against the Giants.
of security second pick of the season Kenny Golladay had Mike Glennon on the pass, which was defended by cornerback Artie Burns and knocked into the air. Gipson, playing alone as high security and keeping an eye on Goladay from the snap, snatched the ball with his left hand and carried it into the open.
“Right position, right time,” Gipson said.
His 31-yard return propelled the ball to the Giants 24 and set up the Bears for their second touchdown of the first quarter. But Gipson, who had received a lead block from Bruce Irwin and another along the sideline from Marquee Christian, was officially brought down by Glennon, preventing him from scoring a touchdown.
“People would like to say I tackled the quarterback,” Gipson said with a smile. “But when you talk to someone else (on our team), just tell them not to watch me drive the football and tell them to block someone and I will miss Mike Glennon.
“Mike Glennon would never deal with me face-to-face like this. But there wasn’t a barrier and it was a tight spot. Maybe when you talk to Rob, ask him who he was blocking on that play.
Quinn, who was actually guilty of pretending not to block anyone, was asked just that.
“Hey, look,” she said with a laugh. “When you stop the ball, don’t run into the fire. You should run to the opposite. But when he gets another one this week, I’m going to see if I can find the quarterback.”