Bears players praise coaches for being excellent teachers

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Bears coaches earn rave reviews as great teachers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

When Matt Eberflus first introduced his system and started talking about his position coaches, he emphasized the value of their ability to teach. Scheme is important, but in Eberflus’ program everyone understanding their assignments and playing with impeccable technique is essential. After all, what good are the X’s and O’s if the Jimmies and Joes can’t execute it? So when he set out to build his staff he made sure he found great teachers, in addition to great coaches. Early on, Bears players have already noted many guys throughout the staff who have helped them learn Eberflus’ system, in a variety of ways.

“He’s very compassionate about making us as good as we can be, and that’s all you can ask for in a coach, right?” said Cody Whitehair about offensive line coach Chris Morgan. “Just trying to get the best out of you every single day. And he’s going to continue to push you every single day so that you’re never hitting a limit. He’s done a great job with that.”

Challenging players to maximize their potential is another constant throughout the staff. We’ve heard dozens of times that coaches refuse to put any type of ceiling on their players. Instead, they throw as much as they can at each individual, then see how much they can handle. In each instance, they’re working together to find everyone's strengths and devise a way to put everyone in a position to play to those strengths. The challenge extends from rookies to 10-year veterans. Eddie Jackson noted that he loves how safeties coach Andre Curtis holds him accountable like every other player. He appreciates how Curtis pushes him to improve.

Equanimeous St. Brown appreciates wide receiver coach Tyke Tolbert’s holistic approach to coaching the position group.

“He knows a lot about the game, not just receiver,” St. Brown said. “He knows not just running routes, he knows how to block as well. He can coach me up on that. And he knows offense really well, so far. He won’t let you take plays off. He won’t let anything slide. He’s a hard coach, and I like that about him.”

There’s also the understanding that not all players learn the same way. Some succeed in the lecture hall. Others do best reviewing film, while others still learn most in walkthroughs on the practice field. If several methods of teaching don’t click with a particular player, coaches don’t quit on them either. They try as many ways as they can to help everyone succeed.

One unique tool they use is a quiz app called Kahoot!. Kahoot! is an educational platform that gamifies teaching. Coaches can put a variety of questions up on the board, from multiple choice questions, to true-or-false and short answer responses. Players participate on their phones, and are awarded points based on both the accuracy of their answers and how quickly they respond. After each question, a leaderboard pops up to show who got the question right, and who’s doing the best overall.

“It makes things fun,” said Khalil Herbert. “It makes things a competition.”

No matter how a particular coach teaches, or reaches out to a particular player, they’ve all earned rave reviews from the players.

“The way they teach us, and the way they break things down and go through stuff, and draw things out, it’s next level,” said Herbert. “I love this staff and how they teach us and how they bring these concepts in and show us how it’s done.”

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