Joniak’s Journal: Bears’ Bryce Callahan Ready For Big Challenge Against Eagles

By Jeff Joniak–

(CBS) The Bears (0-1) host the Eagles (1-0) on Monday night. Here are my observations leading up to the game.

First impression

Cornerback Bryce Callahan is a busy Bear.

“I’m pretty busy,” Callahan said. “The more film you watch, the slower the game slows down. That’s when it becomes fun.”

Callahan started playing the inside nickel slot last season for the first time in his football life and earned the first-string nod late in the season. After working his way back from a preseason injury, Callahan is again the No. 1 nickel, and his job will be a big one Monday night against Jordan Matthews and the Eagles.

“I’ll be expecting some deeper routes from him out of the slot,” Callahan said.

Matthews was rookie quarterback Carson Wentz’s favorite target in Philadelphia’s win over Cleveland in Week 1.

Second thought

Winning at home must become a significant theme from this day forward for these new Bears, as Chicago was 1-7 at Soldier Field in 2015. Defensive end Mitch Unrein admits it’s the only way to get to where you want to go as a team.

“The fans are always going to start off with a lot of energy, a lot of emotion,” he said. “We’re going to feed off that. To keep them in the game, we have to play well. It’s hard to cheer for a team if we go out there and we’re losing. It’s hard for the fans to stay motivated.”

Keeping that home crowd locked in is entirely up to the Bears players. If they want the fans engaged for 60 minutes, then they have to give them 60 minutes of competitive football.

Third degree

Walking past the Bears locker room last Sunday in Houston, I heard something I haven’t quite heard before about an hour before kickoff. Tight end Greg Scruggs was screaming something motivational to his fellow teammates. He’s new here but also is a veteran raised in the Seattle Seahawks organization. He understands something about intensity and leadership.

“I’ve come to realize that I’ve been blessed with an ability to share a message, no matter what that message may be,” Scruggs said. “I always say I could sell meat to a vegan if you asked me to. I have gotten great feedback from coaches.”

Bears coaches have asked Scruggs to continue firing up teammates with his messages. You can hear more about Scruggs and his motivational speaking in Monday night’s Countdown to Kickoff pregame show on WBBM.


New left guard Josh Sitton has drawn a lot of praise from his teammates for his ability to adapt quickly last week on three days of practice and learn the offense well enough to start and perform at a high level. To hear that Sitton is already making an immediate impact as a team leader says a lot about the type of person he is. He’s well aware of what the Bears offense faces Monday night against a Jim Schwartz defensive team after facing his old Lions defenses twice a season in the NFC North previously with the Packers.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.

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