LAKE FOREST — With the Bears’ first two regular season road games being played on opposite coasts, both in prime time, the third preseason game scheduled for the Pacific Northwest — in the loudest stadium in football — will provide a good litmus test on how the Bears travel and handle adverse conditions.
Indeed, Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer views Chicago’s Friday night preseason contest against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks at raucous Qwest Field as an ideal situation.
“This is a perfect setup to be honest,” Kromer said following Tuesday’s practice. “We’re trying to see where we are. If we’re doing great, we can’t get too big headed, and if we’re doing poorly, we can’t get too down.”
Kromer will get not only the longest preseason look of his first-team offense and how it stacks up against the NFL’s top scoring defense in 2013, but also how the team handles its first road trip, one that challenges the players’ internal clocks and on-field communication.
“We have to spend the week understanding how we’re going to prepare our minds and our bodies, and our time clocks to play on the West Coast, because we’re going to have to do it again a couple of weeks in the regular season,” he said.
Kromer also indicated the club is preparing this week for the loud Seattle environment in practice, joking that he was surprised the media couldn’t hear the artificial noise inside the Walter Payton Center all the way from the press room inside Halas Hall.
Like Kromer, quarterback Jay Cutler cautioned against putting too much into the offense’s performance Friday night, namely because both teams will continue to hold things back in the preseason. How the Bears respond to the noise, however, will be important, he said.
“Just to get the play off, if we have checks, if we’ve got alerts and kind of go through the process of our silent count and dealing with that,” Cutler said.
Cutler noted the value for young players in particular playing in such a hostile environment.
“It’s rough as a younger guy to go into a stadium like that and know at times it is going to be hard to hear in the huddle,” he said. “… It is going to be a good experience for them, to travel that far and play against the defending champs.
“They are extremely well coached; [a] very talented team.”
Coach Marc Trestman said his club remains in training camp mode, meaning there will be minimal Seahawks-specific game planning this week. He did echo Cutler and Kromer in saying that how his team handles communicating on the field in adverse conditions is critical.
“The biggest thing,” Trestman said, “is our communication: how does it work when our special teams are huddled on the sideline and can’t hear Joe [DeCamillis]? We’ve got to make sure that everybody gets the communication. How does it work for our defense when we’ve got guys out on an island? The key word is communication as far as everybody echoing out, signaling out what’s going on.”