Joniak: Revived Bears Get Another Shot At Green Bay

Jeff Joniak
December 11, 2019 - 5:55 pm
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LAKE FOREST (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Jeff Joniak filed these reporter notes Wednesday as the Chicago Bears prepare to play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field:

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-Mitch Trubisky offered a powerful statement on where the Bears are at emotionally as they prepare for the Packers. “I just feel like where we’re at as a team we’re just hungry, that whoever’s on our schedule next we’re going to come ready to play," he said. "We’re at the point where I think we’re playing with confidence. We don’t really care who shows up next.” 

-Hungry. Focused. Confident.

-Four wins in five games and finally some offensive success -- that is the great elixir for what was ailing this Bears team during a 3-5 first half of the season.

-Trubisky is not biting on the Week One postgame quote from veteran Packers cornerback Tramon Williams that stirred up the critics. "We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback. We knew they had a lot of weapons, we knew they were dangerous, we knew all of those things. But we knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback, that we’d have a chance," Williams said then. Trubisky was 26-of-45 for 228 yards and an interception, and the Bears scored only three points in the loss. 

-Fourteen weeks later, the Bears and Packers are in different places, playing different football. “We’re different, they’re different,” Chicago Head Coach Matt Nagy said. “There’s been a lot of growth for us all. We’ve all grown and become mentally stronger; a lot stronger.”

-That includes Nagy himself. “I feel like a better coach going through this for the players, for my coaches, just the way we communicate, the honesty, the belief in one another going through this is important. It will help me in the long run be able to handle these situations when they arise again.”

-Akiem Hicks remains on injured reserve, but practiced again on Wednesday. Thursday will be a bigger test. Nagy is taking his team outside in the cold preparing for what will be a frigid afternoon in Green Bay. The medical staff continues to monitor how Hicks’ elbow is feeling through practice. It remains a process, but the expectation remains that he should return after missing eight weeks with a dislocated elbow.

-It is the first time Hicks has been on the injured list, and he admits it is one of the toughest situations for him. It can be a lonely journey mending and rehabbing an injury.

-There is an emotional component to the return of Hicks. He is a motivating presence who plays with fire, and teammates respond to him. “I think it’s big,” said Nagy. “He’s one of our more vocal guys in a good way. He’s a natural born leader. I think it’s huge.”

-Every young player must learn how to prepare like a pro. Anthony Miller is taking it from the classroom to the practice field to game day over the last month. His prep is paying off in the heat of the big moments.

-Miller did not play much against the Packers in week one. He is a focal point in Week 15. “It’s going to be a big weekend,” Miller said. "It’s going to be intense, so I think we’re going to be ready.”

-Special congratulations to Ken “Hawk” Harrelson for his Ford Frick election to the broadcast wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In his fourth time as a finalist, his election at 78 recognizes yet another chapter of Chicago’s sports soundtrack.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.