CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears are headed back on the road for the fourth time this season, destined for California this weekend and readying for Monday night's clash against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.
But in contrast to the team's "leave as late as possible" approach to previous trips to Detroit, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., the Bears will fly to Los Angeles on Saturday night and spend two nights in a hotel before the game.
Coach Matt Nagy explained Friday afternoon that the goal in leaving earlier is to get players adjusted to the time difference — an understandable objective. Still, in a year in which the Bears and the NFL have adopted significant precautionary measures to mitigate the risks of contracting COVID-19, this travel adjustment is at least notable.
"The biggest thing when we do this," Nagy said, "is making sure we all trust one another knowing that there's a plan."
Nagy said the Bears likely would hold an outdoor walk-through at an undisclosed location Sunday. The team will also have its standard meetings the day before the game.
"It's good to get the guys out of their hotel rooms and be outside somewhere to where we can still go through some things and break up the day a little bit," Nagy said.
With their three previous road games kicking off at noon on Sundays, the Bears had been flying out of O'Hare the night before games. Nagy also is encouraging players and coaches to eat in their hotel rooms upon arrival and go to bed. The Bears had been holding team meetings at Halas Hall before departing for the airport.
This weekend, with more time being spent in California, the Bears will have an extra day and a half of meals to account for. Players will be reminded to remain disciplined and mindful of the pandemic.
"At the end of the day, it's a business trip," linebacker Roquan Smith said.
Nagy expressed confidence in director of team logistics and business-process liaison Simon Gelan, who has led the charge in coordinating much of the trip.