Dan Wiederer: As the Chicago Bears' latest skid drags on, players must find motivation within to maintain their focus

Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Football

Last week, a day after the Chicago Bears lost their fourth consecutive game and fell to the bottom of the NFC, defensive lineman Justin Jones was asked how he and his teammates were handling the flood of losses, how players were digging deep to find the investment needed to persevere through this wayward season.

As a team captain, Jones knows his approach matters and his words must resonate. He spoke from the heart.

“Winning is an extrinsic motivation,” he said, “You have to have something in you to play this game, to go through the ups and downs and still be able to work hard and still be able to come to work with a smile on your face. There has to be some kind of intrinsic motivation to why you play this game.”

A different version of that question came knocking again Sunday after the Bears suffered their worst loss of the year, a 31-10 drubbing by the New York Jets that also included a wave of injuries to key players.

The Bears finished November without a victory and fell to 3-9. Starting quarterback Justin Fields missed the game with a shoulder injury. Among the most notable injuries to occur, wide receiver Darnell Mooney suffered a season-ending ankle injury and safety Eddie Jackson went down with a foot issue that is likely to keep him out a while.

Quite frankly, inside the Bears locker room, Sunday felt like a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The mood reflected that. Yet with the NFL’s extended regular season, the Bears still had 42 days and five games remaining, needing once again to reset and dig deep.


Jones was asked where the Bears will find the requisite push and concentration level to avoid surrendering to frustration and fatigue.

“One of your morals as a man is you have to finish what you started,” he said. “Whether things are going your way or they’re not, you have to finish what you started. For every man in this room, that’s the challenge going forward. Finish what you started. Put the best tape you can on film, make as many plays as you can and have fun doing it.”

‘Have some pride’

The Bears haven’t won since Oct. 24. That was the night they registered a signature victory on “Monday Night Football,” hammering the New England Patriots 33-14 and experiencing an offensive breakthrough that created a wave of promise — for the future.


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