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Matthew Adams More than a Strong Side

The Bears have plugged Matthew Adams into the weak side playmaker role while Roquan Smith is still gone and at least have someone with experience in the Matt Eberflus system.

Needless to say, Matthew Adams had a talk with Bears general manager Ryan Poles after a June incident in Chicago when he was charged with misdemeanor firearm possession and violating a municipal code by possessing metal-piercing rounds.

"Yes, we had a conversation after that," Adams confirmed.

"Pretty much we just talked about it. He challenged me to cover that ground that we lost," Adams added.

Whether he's making up for his gaffe off the field is something the team will keep to itself.

On the field, Adams hasn't gotten off to anything but a disappointing start. It's a good thing because he's the player who has been tasked with replacing Roquan Smith during the so-called "hold-in." He's part of their experienced depth and even a starter.

When and if Smith returns, Adams would be a starting strong-side linebacker and be on the field a little less than half the downs.

"Every day I go out there and just compete," Adams said. "You know what I mean? Just bringing the team together and just making sure we're all on the same page."

He can do this because he's been in the defense in Indianapolis under Matt Eberflus.

"Obviously I came here cause I believe in coach Flus' culture and his scheme–and just working hard," Adams said.

Adams said this belief in Eberflus made the move to Chicago natural.

"I believe in hard work," Adams said. "Hard work beat talent when talent doesn't work hard. Just knowing the type of guy he is, he's big on faith and I believe in him."

Adams wasn't a starter with the Colts and started only nine times in his four seasons, none since 2019.

"Pretty much first four seasons were developmental," Adams said. "Just learning the system in and out and being a great teammate. We had great linebackers in that room. We had a lot of depth."

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His chief role was backing up Darius Leonard, so obviously they had great linebackers.

As someone who has played in the system, Adams has had a part in relaying how the coach's HITS style works to teammates.

"It's been fun," Adams said. "You can't really trust somebody unless you go through something with somebody. We're just growing the trust and camaraderie with each other, just pushing through camp."

The system, the standard are the same for Eberflus now as with the Colts.

"I wouldn't say they were any different than the ones that we had," Adams said. "The standard didn't change, we are still running to the ball, punching the ball, pad thud, whatever the tempo of the practice is.

"At the end of the day, the standard is the standard and we have to rise to it whether it's hot, cold, sunny or snow."

The Smith hold-in has lasted through 10 practice days now and the Bears are off Monday following their closed indoor practice on Sunday due to storms in the area. They are going to Soldier Field Tuesday for the annual Family Fest workout without a contract in sight for Smith.

Matthews doubts it will require long for Smith to be ready when the contract does come, if it does. At least mentally this makes sense because Smith was working in the defense all offeason at voluntary OTAs and minicamp and mandatory minicamp. The physical conditioning will be the question.

"Roquan, he's been in the building, he's been in the meetings and been going over plays," Adams said. "So the only thing is not seeing him on the field. That's the only difference."

Getting Adams and backup Joe Thomas playing time could eventually pay off regardless of Smith's status.

"I think it's real to get the other guys reps because in this day and time," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. "There have been times when because of COVID guys are out and the next guy has to stand up and you can't say, 'Hey, we didn't play well because of …' That's not an excuse.

"You have to play well no matter who you have. The NFL is a tough league. It's a physical league. Guys are gonna be down and so the next guy has to be able to come in and not be the guy he is replacing, but he has to come in and we still have to play winning football and we still have to execute, still have to know your assignment. We're still looking to play well."

With Adams on the roster and now possessing experience replacing Smith already, the Bears have to believe they're at least three-deep at a position requiring three players who can start.

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