By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) In the NFL, it’s never easy to prepare for a team in just three days.
But this year, it’s easier than before.
The Bears are one of many NFL teams who have put their playbook and film on an easy-to-carry iPad this season. In the past, players had to carry around DVDs and laptops to watch film away from Halas Hall. Now, with just three days to get ready for Thursday’s game at Green Bay, the Bears can catch up on film just about anywhere.
“It’s crucial,” Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton said Monday. “I mean, you need that, especially on a short week like this where you can’t stay up here all day. You need to go back and focus on what you need to do.”
How much easier are the iPads? Head coach Lovie Smith said the players had Sunday’s film by the time they got home from the game.
“It just makes it more convenient to get all the film that you need to watch,” linebacker Nick Roach said. “Now it’s loaded up automatically and you get it right away.”
With just three days to prepare, Melton said there just isn’t enough time to prepare as a team at Halas Hall.
“You have to take the film home,” he said. “You have to do a lot of personal time because they only allow you so many hours up here.”
Melton’s film study started immediately Sunday. He got home quickly and watched the Packers’ game against the 49ers with his family. Monday was a double-film day with no practice and the players will use the iPads as much as possible from home to get ready.
According to the AP, 14 NFL teams have adopted the iPad strategy, including the Packers. The other teams include the Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Panthers, Redskins and Seahawks in the NFC and the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens in the AFC.
“It helps a lot,” Smith said. “But (the Packers) are using the same iPads that we are.”
The Packers also have the same amount of time — save for a few hours because of their 3:25 p.m. game Sunday — to prepare for the Bears. And while preparing might be easier with the iPads, both teams will be struggling to recover quickly.
“Your body still hasn’t even fully recovered,” Melton said. “And you’re still tired, still trying to get to know the team that your watching. I mean we have to do a double-day today on our day off.”
Bears center Roberto Garza said it helps to have the short turnaround earlier in the season because there’s only one game of wear and tear on the body. Garza also recognized the stakes of the game, even though it’s just Week 2. Because the Packers lost to the 49ers Sunday, the Bears could gain a two-game advantage in the standings already and hand Green Bay its second home loss in as many games.
“Every week is a big game in the NFL and especially in our division,” Garza said. “We want to be at the top of our division and this is a big step.”
And with their 41-21 blowout win over the Colts under their belt, the Bears have plenty of confidence to go into Green Bay and beat a team they lost to twice a year ago.
“I wish we didn’t have a short week so we would have a little bit more time to prepare, but they have the same length as we have to prepare,” Melton said. “We saw the 49ers beat them up there yesterday so we have a chance.”
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.