Bears looking to tune up while dancing into playoffs
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — No one can accuse quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears of forgetting to stop and smell the roses during their run to a 10-4 record.
Or it might be more appropriate to say they’ve danced their way to the NFC North title.
With road games Sunday against San Francisco and then Minnesota in their finale, the Bears are trying to sharpen their offense for a playoff run. And at the same time they’re enjoying every moment after years of wallowing in last place in the division.
It includes postgame disco parties along with team dance-offs the day before games.
“I can’t tell you too much because it’s pretty secretive what goes down in there,” Trubisky said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The Bears of 1985 had the “Super Bowl Shuffle,” but they had nothing on this group when it comes to dancing.
“Club Dub,” their term for postgame celebrations, was borrowed by Nagy from the Chicago Cubs and manager Joe Maddon.
“I absolutely love him, I think he’s great,” Nagy said of Maddon. “We talked over the summer about a lot of different things. And we just, we believe in a lot of the same philosophies, and one of them is having fun.
“And so the second we started talking for the first time about what we believe in it was easy for me to pick his brain and figure out ways that we could make it ours, as well.”
The postgame celebrations have been blasted all over the internet now for months.
“And I mean, guys are going nuts,” Trubisky said. “You’ve got choreographed dances going down. You’ve got waves. You’ve got . somebody might have been wave-surfing last game. I don’t know.
“But there are some videos that are floating around. It’s just getting crazy in there. So we just have to keep it under control. And yeah, keep Club Dub rolling.”
Some are better at it than others.
“I was in the middle, but they were usually pushing me out because they don’t want to see me dance,” Trubisky said.
Nagy watches but isn’t dancing.
“He’s the bouncer right now probably,” running back Tarik Cohen said.
Now, it seems they’re also showing their moves on Saturdays with team dance-offs. And this week they’ll have to watch Trubisky. It’s four-player teams of Trubisky, wide receiver Javon Wims and offensive linemen Bobby Massie and Eric Kush against cornerback Prince Amukamara, linebacker Danny Trevathan, defensive tackle Bilal Nichols and safety Adrian Amos.
“It’s like team bonding, team chemistry, and dancing in front of your peers and in front of the coaches and almost a whole organization,” Amukamara said. “It can be nerve-wracking.”
Apparently it’s catching on.
“I feel like it’s just made our unity just come together more,” wide receiver Josh Bellamy said. “And now you look around the league, like, I was on Instagram, and I’ve seen the Saints swag surfin’ in their locker room. They’re not doing it like us, but all these other teams are trying to do it, too.
“We’re the trendsetters.”
Nagy said he hasn’t found it difficult to keep the Bears focused despite the sideshows and the fact they’ve already clinched their first postseason appearance since the NFC championship game after the 2010 season.
“I’m just kind of wired that way,” Nagy said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be on other teams where we’ve won division championships. It’s nice and it’s important because it gives you advantages; it gives you a home game in the playoffs. It helps you get to the ultimate goal, but you can’t be satisfied. That’s who our guys are.”
Offensively, the Bears have much room for improvement, even after getting five players chosen to the Pro Bowl: safety Eddie Jackson, linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive end Akiem Hicks, cornerback Kyle Fuller and return man Cohen.
They head to San Francisco ranked 22nd overall on offense, even after a 24-17 win over the Green Bay Packers to clinch their division. Trubisky had one of his best games with a 120.4 passer rating.
“Just continue to get better, one game at a time,” Trubisky said. “And I think the main focus for me is to just play consistent football, continue to go out and do my job, find completions and help us win ballgames.
“Coming back to work this week, keeping everyone focused on San Fran this week and continue to get better. I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet. You’ve got to have that mindset, just stay hungry and stay humble, get after it and believe that our best football is yet ahead of us.”
NOTES: Right guard Kyle Long has been on injured reserve since early November. Nagy said it’s possible Long could return to practice after a foot injury later this week. Long did not practice Wednesday. ... Jackson has his right foot in a boot cast because of the ankle injury suffered in Sunday’s win and did not practice Wednesday. Reserve outside linebacker Aaron Lynch missed practice due to an elbow injury suffered against the Packers.