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More HITS Work Needed by Bears

Matt Eberflus finds flaw in the way his team approached one major component of his HITS principle

It's apparent the Bears haven't mastered coach Matt Eberflus' HITS principle yet.

Part of the principle is the "T," which stand for taking away the football or taking care of it on offense. On Sunday they not only had two Justin Fields interceptions, but they also failed to cover the football when it was on the ground three times.

This seems like technique someone needs to work on, particularly since they outnumbered the Texans 4-2 with players around a fumble by Texans back Dameon Pierce and Houston still came away with it. The other loose ball was knocked out in an open-field situation by Al-Quadin Muhammad.

So someone needs to work at fumble recovery.

Not surprisingly, as is the case with about everything Eberflus does there is a system for this.

"We have what we call a 'city fumble' and a 'country fumble,' " Eberflus said, before cracking to the media, "I know you guys will eat this up.

"A city fumble, picture yourself in downtown Chicago. It's all crowded in there. There's a way to dive on that. Then a country fumble is wide open spaces. That's when you bend your ankles, knees and hips and scoop and score, and then go up the numbers. We always have a wall return up the numbers. There's a lot that goes into it."

The failures of the Bears to come up with fumbles carried over to offense. After Justin Fields threw an interception to Jalen Pitre, tight end Cole Kmet knocked the ball loose but Houston recovered it.

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"I addressed that with the team, because, you know, even Cole had a caused fumble after the interception," Eberflus said. "That was right there, too.

"To me that's about one of our principles: that's about hustling. We have to be there to get the fumble recovery. So you could see there's a little bit of slack in the hustle there on all sides of the ball. When we cause those we need to be sure there's instantaneous reactions getting to the football and making sure we take all the slack out."

It's apparent Eberflus failed to come up with a loose ball himself, so to speak. If his schedule had been revised slightly, he could have had a real pro at recovering fumbles talk to his team about all of this.

On Tuesday when the team wasn't at Halas Hall, legendary linebacker Dick Butkus visited there and spoke with coaches.

Butkus is the franchise's all-time leader in fumble recoveries with 27, not to mention being the all-time leader in scaring the wits out of opposing ball carriers.

"I got a chance to take him up to my office and show him the Monsters of the Midway (display) behind my desk," Eberflus said. "Of course, he's on top, which is cool. He really liked seeing that.

"It was just a joy to visit with him. His son was here, too. It was cool."

Butkus would have had no problem mastering HITS—the principle or otherwise.

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