3 things we heard from the Chicago Bears, including Justin Fields’ breathing exercises and Roquan Smith’s take on roughing-the-passer penalties


The Chicago Bears held their second straight walk-through Tuesday as they prepare to face the Washington Commanders on Thursday night at Soldier Field.

Bears coordinators, quarterback Justin Fields and linebacker Roquan Smith spoke with reporters at Halas Hall. Here are three things we heard.

1. Justin Fields has been working on in-game breathing to help him stay calm.

Fields talked to reporters Sunday and again Tuesday about the comfort he felt in the second half of the Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He finished 15-for-21 for 208 yards and a touchdown and had eight carries for 47 yards.

Part of it, he said, is playing within his own rhythm.

“It came with time, to be honest with you,” he said Tuesday. “It just came with mistakes. Like I said after the game on Sunday, last year I felt like I had to speed myself up or be crazy pumped up just because everybody else is. But playing quarterback, the more you can stay calm, the more you can stay relaxed, the better you’ll play.”

Fields added that he tries to maintain the calm he has when throwing routes on air while in the game.

“Of course you’re going to have to move in the pocket … when D-linemen come and stuff like that,” he said. “But as much as possible you just want to stay calm and stay in that rhythm that you have in routes on air when there’s not a rush.”

Fields said the Bears have a yoga instructor who helped him with breathing exercises, which he uses between plays to help him stay calm. He said he worked on the exercises the last two weeks.

“Just doing that automatically keeps me more calm in the pocket and really just during the game,” he said. “I don’t even like doing pregame speeches because I feel like I’m so much calmer than everybody else. When the defensive guys are all juiced up, ready to go, I just try to stay chill the whole time.”

2. Jaylon Johnson could be trending toward a return.

The Bears had to give injury report estimations for the second straight day because they didn’t hold a full practice, and they estimated Johnson would have practiced in full.

It’s a good time for the cornerback to return from a three-game absence due to a quadriceps injury.

After the Bears allowed Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson to make 12 catches for 154 yards Sunday, they face a Commanders wide receiver corps with several productive players: Curtis Samuel (32 catches, 281 yards, two touchdowns), Terry McLaurin (19 catches, 326 yards, one touchdown) and Jahan Dotson (12 catches, 152 yards, four touchdowns). Dotson, however, is recovering from a hamstring injury and hasn’t practiced this week.

Smith said Johnson’s return could be “big.”

“I wish we’d have had him last week, but that’s over with now,” Smith said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for him to get back out there. We have some pretty good receivers coming in. … That’s the strength of their team — receivers.

“Having him back out there, it’ll be a great opportunity to show the world what he can do, too, on ‘Thursday Night Football.’ A lot of people don’t respect him, so it’ll be a great opportunity for him to show that. I’m rooting him on. I know he’s going to make some big plays coming back.”

Wide receiver N’Keal Harry was listed as limited after the Bears took him off injured reserve Monday following ankle surgery. The Bears placed linebacker Matt Adams on IR with a calf injury.

3. Roquan Smith agreed with a lot of NFL fans about ‘bad’ roughing-the-passer calls in Week 5.

NFL officials are under scrutiny this week for questionable roughing-the-passer penalties on attempted sacks of Tom Brady and Derek Carr.

The latter came Monday night when Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones stripped Carr of the football and had it in his possession but landed on the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback.

“Personally, not even being biased of any team, I think (they) were some bad calls,” Smith said. “Those refs were in tough positions so they were forced to make some tough calls, but I definitely don’t agree with some of them.

“I think the Carr one was worse. Come on, I’ve never seen a guy called with the ball in his hands for roughing the passer. You know what I mean?”



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