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The Hidden Bears Offense

OTAs and minicamps can't begin to reveal what an offense really looks like against live fire and with their own linemen blocking, so it's safe to ignore all reports of performance by Luke Getsy's Bears offense.

The Bears will head to training camp with Luke Getsy's offense still largely a mystery.

Certainly the media got to see nine practices with veterans involved and plays being run this spring, but those were plays, not the offense. Some days quarterback Justin Fields seemed on and others the passing game struggled greatly, but none of it meant a thing.

Every offense has plays, but the real secrets are in the sequencing, formations and motion. When it's all combined, then an offense takes shape.

The Bears practicing in shorts and helmets while being admonished by the NFL for too much contact will tell no one a thing about how this attack can ultimately look when training camp opens in the last week of July.

In fact, they won't even really show what it will look like until the Sept. 11 opener because no one hits 100% at training camp now and in preseason no one tips their hand in terms of strategy or personnel. You need full contact to get an idea what the offense will be.

Some players tried describing what they have without trying to reveal much.

"The scheme we've got here, I love it a lot," wide receiver Darnell Mooney said. "It's very nice.

"It complements a lot of us players, running back, quarterback, and a guy like me. I'm just able to do a lot of the things that I love to do and just be a playmaker."

That's about as vague as anyone can possibly be.

Tight end Ryan Griffin probably described it a little better.

"Seems like we're going to be physical," Griffin said. "We're going to run. We're going to be well-conditioned, and we're just going to pound, and we're going to be going sideline to sideline, and hopefully we can get some balls over the top."

Griffin essentially described the running game and play-action emphasis of this offense.

It's the wide-zone blocking scheme with play-fakes off of it.

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What the Bears have shown so far are stretch plays and attempts to get receivers matched up in space with room to run, whether behind the line or downfield.  

This isn't even the full Bears attack and it's difficult to pinpoint what it will be because it's not simply the attack Getsy saw run by Green Bay the last three years.  It's one he assembled knowing his own personnel, and with his own experiences using RPOs in college football along with input from assistants like Andrew Janocko, Tyke Tolbert and Chris Morgan. 

The Bears can't even approximate their offense in practice.

When players aren't in pads and can't hit, they can't really block. So the running game is basically a shell. Without the threat of a running game, the play-action can't really work. They're really holding walk-throughs at higher speed when it comes to the play-action game. How does the bootleg game work when there is no real way to sell the run fake without hitting?

When the basis for the passing attack can't be duplicated, then practice is little more than pretend.

As a result, it's not difficult to understand why Fields' performance in practices has been spotty at times. At times, the defense has a huge edge while making pass drops because they have no fear of real run blocking and backs surging past.

"So we're going in to training camp, this is a building block," coach Matt Eberflus said. "We built the foundation of what we want to be about, how we operate."

What Eberflus says they have done is establish a culture.

"So now the next step is to get our systems down and we're in the process of that," Eberflus said.

No one should be alarmed by anything that has happened in minicamp or OTAs with regard to where their offense is or a bad day or two from Fields.

"I know you have established quarterbacks that have played and so forth and so on—certainly helps you out," Eberflus said. "But all I'm saying is that we're getting better and better.

"We've got to continue to build on our foundation going into summer and going into training camp."

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