"EQ" Transforming from Packer into a Bear – Sports Illustrated

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy says he saw a "transformation" in former Green Bay Packers receiver Equanimeous St. Brown last year.
In order for this transformation to pay off in St. Brown's career, it will need to be with the Packers' rivals to the south in Chicago.
"The way that his training camp went last year, where he didn't make the team and (a month into the season he was brought back), I just saw a transformation of a guy just turn into a pro, and his mentality, the toughness and the way he attacked every day, I was just super impressed with how he handled that, like, adversity," Getsy said of St. Brown, the former Notre Dame receiver who caught just 37 passes in three seasons on the field for the Packers.
Now St. Brown is part of the refugee receiver corps GM Ryan Poles has brought in looking to win probably three or four roster spots behind rookie Velus Jones Jr.
There is no doubt at 6-foot-5 that St. Brown looks the part of a receiver who can fit into this type of offense Getsy brought to Chicago from Green Bay, but he's been providing something more by helping teammates learn an offense they're unfamiliar with.
"There's little times where coaches miss, the receivers coach might miss and I'll interject or give my two cents on what happened in a game or what might happen when you're actually out there," St. Brown said. "Sometimes I interject and help out."
In a way, Getsy sees St. Brown benefiting Bears receivers not only with his experience in the offense but also with his experience overall as someone who has bounced back when it seemed his career was taking a drastic change.
"I mean, I always liked EQ and thought he was a good player and then I saw him go through that adversity and the way he handled all that stuff," Getsy said.
"That's what these guys are leaning on. That leadership and that expereince that he went through. That's super for us. We're going to lean on that."
St. Brown doesn't downplay the importance of Getsy's arrival in Chicago with his own decision to play for the Bears as a free agent.
"He contacted me right away when I was a free agent," St. Brown said of Getsy. "So, right away the Bears were on my list of teams I wanted to go and then ultimately it came down to what's best of me and this was the best fit."
Upon arriving in Chicago, St. Brown found another coach to like. That's his new receiver coach Tyke Tolbert, who has a reputation for being able connect with his team's pass catchers.
"I like him a lot," St. Brown said. "He knows a lot about the game, not just receiver. He knows not just running routes; he knows how to block as well.
"He can coach me up on that. And he knows offense really well, so far. He won’t let you take plays off. He won't let anything slide. He's a hard coach, and I like that about him."
One thing the Bears obviously want to exploit on offense is Fields' mobility. Besides just running with it, they want to see him complete passes on extended plays while moving out of the pocket. A player like St. Brown or even former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Byron Pringle can aid immensely in this because they've spent their careers playing with mobile passers known for such plays.
St. Brown's ability on these plays was best seen in Friday's practice when Fields rolled right then rolled back right on the run and lofted a pass along the sideline to St. Brown. Cornerback Kindle Vildor had good position but the pass was perfectly thrown, high and where St. Brown could nab it with a leap and a stretch, and he scored.
"That was a scramble drill," St. Brown said. "We coach that up. Getsy does as well. We practiced it a few times in OTAs. So it was just a scramble drill. I could've got open better, but he put the ball in the right place and it was my job to come down with it."
Aaron Rodgers perfected these types of plays in Green Bay and St. Brown saw this first hand. It sounds as if the Bears have barely begun to touch the potential of these types of plays with St. Brown and 6-4 N'Keal Harry now possible targers for Fields.
"Honestly, we haven't talked much about scramble drill," St. Brown said. "We haven't had that many opportunities at it in practice yet, but a few times it's come up.
"I think that's something we need to work on as a team is get everyone on the same page—all the wideouts and tight ends and quarterbacks on the same page with the scramble drill."
St. Brown doesn't come away from Green Bay feeling bitter about being unwanted in free agency, or not making last year's team until he came back on the practices squad and then was promoted.
"I'd say in Green Bay, they gave good opportunities there where if you get your opportunities you've got to make the most of them," St. Brown said. "I got hurt my second year, so I got set back a little bit, but I'm back on track now and I'm ready to showcase my talent and take my game to the next level."
It's a situation Getsy sees with all of his refugee receivers, from St. Brown to David Moore to Dante Pettis, to Tajae Sharpe and Harris.
"I think all of those guys, the urgency is very high," Getsy said. "They're excited about the opportunity, you know, I think all of those guys their mentality and their approach, you know, probably EQ has a little bit of a head start on those guys just because he has familiarity with the system. But I am super impressed by the way they have attacked the knowledge part of it because it's not an easy system to just learn for a wide receiver. You've got a lot on your plate.
"I give them credit because they've done a very nice job to be able to go out there and have the motions and the alignments and all of the stems that we run and that we do. It's a lot on their plate and they've done a great job with it. So, I think they see an opportunity and it's about getting that relationship with Justin and I think that will be the critical piece as we move forward."
He never did quite get that relationship going with Aaron Rodgers the way some other Packers receivers did. Now he'll try here with Fields.
"I'll say they're both great quarterbacks," St. Brown said. "They're both accurate. They're both NFL quarterbacks and they're good at what they do. I gotta figure out what Justin Fields likes. I had Aaron Rodgers and I knew what he liked, and now I've gotta figure out what Justin likes."
It will make the difference between an extended career in Chicago or possibly even winding up out of town because the receivers chart is that close in talent after the top two or three.
Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven
BearDigest.com publisher Gene Chamberlain has covered the Bears full time for various publications, news services and websites over 30 years, including several years collaborating on weekly NFL/Bears columns with Mike Ditka and Walter Payton for the Copley Newspaper Chain.


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