Chicago Bears: What to watch for in Week 1 vs San Francisco 49ers

Chicago Bears, Justin Fields - Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images
Chicago Bears, Justin Fields - Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images /
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Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Matt Eberflus’ HITS principle is on full display

One of the criticisms of the Chicago Bears under former head coach Matt Nagy was the lack of discipline it showed on the field. There were too many times when they wasted timeouts because players weren’t in position or knew what they had to do.

Additionally, we’ve seen some boneheaded penalties and misplays at critical times, as well as missed tackles. In last year’s game against the Niners, Garoppolo had 322 passing yards but 83 of them came on a swing pass to Deebo Samuel. There were several missed tackles that led to the big gain. That play led to a touchdown. There were also key mistakes made by the Bears’ defenders that led to other scores late in the game. There was also a missed extra point by the normally dependable Cairo Santos that could have tied the game in the fourth quarter.

Under new head coach Matt Eberflus, things should be different. He utilizes the HITS principle. HITS stands for hustle, intensity, takeaways (or taking care of the ball), and smart play.

When people first heard of Eberflus’ principle, many felt it was a hokey cliche. It was that way for the players as well. They weren’t believers at first. However, as we saw during the preseason, they have bought into it. In fact, some say the Bears are almost cult-like in how they follow Eberflus.

As noted earlier, the defense is swarming to the ball. Even on incomplete passes, you see multiple Bears on the ball. Additionally, we saw fewer missed tackles and not many critical penalties. If they can continue to do that in the regular season, things will be good for Chicago.