If the Bears defense hasn’t complained yet about its aching back as the result of carrying Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy’s broken offense, they’re not going to start now.
That basically was the message sent Tuesday by veteran CB Prince Amukamara, one of only a handful of Bears available for open locker room two days after they fell to 3-3 following the worst loss of Nagy’s young tenure, 36-25 to the nicked-up New Orleans Saints.
“If it would have been offense vs. defense, I think that would have happened a long time ago,” said Amukamara, noting not only the team’s locker room culture but actual locker configuration, intermixing players from all three units, among the reasons he doesn’t expect the Bears to begin bickering internally now.
The culture that Bears fans have heard so much about for more than a year now, Amukamara explained, is also what will help them soon hold a players-only meeting — first mentioned Monday by Eddie Jackson on his appearance on 670 THE SCORE — with the confidence that’ll be constructive.
“I think that's huge. I think that's when guys can really be transparent and genuine, and it's a safe place," he said. "And guys can say what they really feel, and other guys can hear it. I don't think anyone's going to take it personal. I think guys are going to really listen and take it to heart.”
It was Nagy who mentioned in each of his first two interviews since his offense’s historically inept Sunday, that he’s anxious to see which leaders emerge this week with the season quickly slipping away and his players' tensions rising.
“I feel like this is a player-ran team,” said WR Taylor Gabriel. “We believe in each other, we're brothers, and like I said there hasn't been a lot of finger pointing and a lot of arguing and things like that. So as long as we come together and know that we can, you know what I mean, just come back and get a win, I feel like a win is what we need right now.”
Indeed, with trips to the similarly desperate Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) and suddenly resurgent Los Angeles Rams (4-3) — two of Chicago’s key wild-card adversaries at this point — looming after Sunday, it’s pretty clear that snapping immediately only the second losing streak of Nagy’s tenure is critical.
And though the Bears expressed confidence Tuesday that this woefully imbalanced team can strike the right mix this week of ensuring players’ voices are heard — regardless of what side of the ball they’re on — without screaming and yelling, Amukamara admitted the frustrations and emotions emanating from Sunday’s missed opportunity are very real.
“So yesterday we had off, today is where we look at the film and have a team meeting, essentially the first day we get together since playing the game,” Amukamara said. “And I like how coach Nagy has it set up because if it was the day after, I feel like things that would’ve been said would’ve just been off of emotions because it’s right after the game.
"So Monday gives us a day to cool off and today gives us the time to put our feelings aside and actually look at the film and talk.”
Of course, as Nagy mentioned Monday, while communicaton is one of the signs of leadership he’s looking for, the time for talk without action is quickly running out.
Urban excursion: The Bears on Tuesday announced the signing of veteran DL Brent Urban, and as their corresponding move, the release of fellow DL Jonathan Harris.
A 16-game starter on the 2018 Baltimore Ravens ‘D’ that led the NFL in fewest yards allowed, Urban signed a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans in the spring but was released after playing only 16 percent of the defensive snaps.
The Canadian-born Urban, 28, likely will join the rotation up front to help replace Akiem Hicks, placed on injured reserve last week with a dislocated elbow and not eligible to return until at least Week 16.
In their past two games without Hicks, the Bears have allowed a back to eclipse 100 rushing yards for only the third and fourth times since 2017 and tallied only one total sack.