Is Bears Defense Crossing the Line with Trash Talk?

V. Carbonneau
June 8, 2024  (1:08)

Jaquan Brisker and Matt Eberflus
Photo credit: ESPN

Eberflus Embraces Trash-Talking Defense, but Performance Must Follow

Bears coach Matt Eberflus, known for his measured demeanor, values a trash-talking defense despite not being the most outspoken coach in the NFL.
Every day at minicamp and OTA practices, the Bears' offense endures a barrage of trash talk and defensive celebrations. As training camp approaches, the intensity is expected to ramp up.
"It's been great," Eberflus said. "I tell the players all the timeŚwords are awesome. I love words and I like goals, and I do believe in that."
But there's a catch.
"It comes down to what we do on the grass, right?" Eberflus added. "It's gotta be shown out there. I believe in saying it and being confident and all those things, but it's in the doin'. It's not in the talkin' about it. It's important that we understand that so that when we start to perform with our pads on, guess what? We have to be who we say we're gonna be."
Trash talk can be a powerful tool when paired with strong performance. The Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom, led by Richard Sherman, famously unnerved opponents before backing it up on the field. Similarly, in 2020, the New Orleans Saints' Chauncey Gardner-Johnson mentally defeated Bears receivers Javon Wims and Anthony Miller, leading to their ejections during a playoff game.
"It's intimidating for other people," said slot cornerback Kyler Gordon. "People constantly getting hit, constantly running to the ball, all 11 hats. Loud. Communicating loud. I just feel like, 'what are they doing?' So I love it."
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson sees it as a way to probe for weaknesses. Historical examples, like Hall of Famer John Randle, illustrate the effectiveness of combining trash talk with skillful play. Randle's verbal jabs, often based on personal details from media guides, would unnerve opponents.
Some Bears players even found Randle's antics entertaining.
"I feel like it's one thing to make plays, but being loud and talking after every play really starts to see if somebody is going to stand up or if they're going to fold," Johnson said. "With execution comes energy. So for us to have that energy, we've got to execute."
Last offseason, the Bears' secondary began incorporating this approach during training camp, frequently getting under the skin of receivers like Chase Claypool, leading to multiple confrontations.
With the combination of strong execution and relentless energy, the Bears' defense aims to dominate and mentally defeat their opponents.
8 JUNE   |   53 ANSWERS
Is Bears Defense Crossing the Line with Trash Talk?

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