- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- As the Chicago Bears look to find remedies to inconsistency when it comes to moving the ball, offensive coordinator Mike Tice suggested a simple solution: just relax.
"Not just because of the losing, but it just doesn't feel like we're having enough fun," Tice said. "This thing's supposed to be fun. When you don't have fun, you put added burden and added stress on yourself. I don't think that's what we need to do right now."
Especially against a Green Bay Packers squad that comes to Soldier Field on Sunday looking to clinch the NFC North title, in addition to its sixth consecutive victory over the Bears.
Despite having lost four of the past five, Tice remains optimistic the offense can help change the team's fortunes over the last three games starting Sunday with the Packers, followed by road outings at Arizona and Detroit.
Aside from the loss to the Houston Texans on Nov. 11, the Bears have been in strong contention during every defeat and have scored 10 touchdowns in their last seven trips to the red zone. The problem seems to be the offense makes key mistakes, such as dropped passes, during crucial moments.
"That's why I think we need to relax a little bit," Tice said. "I'm hoping it's not me putting too much stress on them. You guys have been around me. I try to keep it loose and have fun. But at a certain point, we have to look at every reason why guys aren't relaxing and making those plays because they make them in practice. Hopefully the energy and the positive spin that I'm gonna make sure that I have this week, hopefully that relaxes them a little bit and carries them over."
Coach Lovie Smith agreed with Tice's assertion the Bears need have more fun, but pointed out that takes place when the players are making plays.
"I think you have fun when you're making plays and things are going your way. If you're not, you're not having a lot of fun; it's as simple as that," Smith said. "When you lose a game, all those things you'll be able to say; winning takes care of all of that. If this is the last game of the season and you lost, you're disappointed. That's a whole different thing.
"But keep in mind: We're 8-5. We play Green Bay. We beat them, we're not answering all these questions. Everybody is feeling good, big smiles on everybody's face. That's where we are, that's where we're concentrating."