"We were in pads, got a lot of good pad work done, pass rush, some one-on-one's, bump-and-run, man-to-man coverage types of things to get used to that. Just some fundamentals and techniques, special situations, third downs. We had a long two-minute drill; Josh ran the two-minute drill [and] it was competitive, finished with field goal and we'll start our final preparations and game planning for Green Bay."
"You don't want to lose your quarterback, we don't want to lose Jay. We're lucky to have Josh, he's an experienced player in that he has the ability to move the football team and make good things happen, and take care of the football. It allows Jay another week without losing a game and that's a good thing."
HOW BENEFICIAL FOR THE DEFENSE TO HAVE TIME OFF?
"We needed to rest, number one. It would have done us little good to practice and not have all our players ready to practice. We'll have as many as can, practice, other than Charles and the guys who are out for long periods. They got more rest and were able to practice harder. We practiced hard and fast the last couple of days. That also allowed us to regroup in terms of some of the things we needed to get done technically and fundamentally and evaluate our football team. I think a lot of positive has come out of it. Certainly we won't know much until Monday night and how we play, but we feel like we're in a good place."
HOPEFUL OF HAVING CHARLES FOR MONDAY
STICKING BY THE JAY TIMELINE
"What I'm saying is that I don't decide when Jay comes back or when any player comes back. The doctors make that decision. What I was doing was reiterating the prognosis of the doctors. They're not always right. It could happen faster. Jay's optimistic; we all are. But I'm not saying we're not bringing Jay back for four weeks. That's what the doctors have said and we'll work off that timeline. If it happens quicker, that'd be great."
Marshall SAID CUTLER WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK
"Brandon is a teammate and he's optimistic that his teammate will be back. He's not the doctor. When I talk about a player's prognosis to play, it's not mine. It's what the doctors have said is the normal. That doesn't mean that Jay can't beat the odds and come back quicker and again, he's optimistic, you've talked to him, he's optimistic, and we all are, I don't make that determination, the doctors do."
WILL FORTE HAVE TO CARRY THE LOAD?
"We don't expect anybody to put the weight of the back our football team on their shoulders. We've got plenty of guys to do that. Certainly Matt is part of that ball distribution. His touches are certainly important, he's getting a lot of them. We'd like him to be more productive, but we'd want to be more productive with everybody. That's where we are right now. We're not going to put it all on Matt to get us through this. We've got 11 guys on every play on offense to get us through it and that's the hope that we can get that done."
DOES MCCOWN GIVE YOU DIFFERENT OPTIONS THAN CUTLER?
"Josh gives us as many options. I haven't thought about different options. When we talk about putting our offense together, putting the game plan together, we're not saying we have to minimize this or that because Josh doesn't have that skill set, or we can do more because Josh has that skill set. We think we have a guy that can function as he did a week ago in the framework of the offense that we have."
WILL JAY'S WEEKLY EVALUATIONS BE PUSHED FORWARD?
"Phil and I were both told the same thing — at four weeks, we'll evaluate it. But that doesn't mean we're not evaluating it week to week. We're just going based on the history of the injury and we'll see what happens."
HE'S DEFINITELY OUT THIS WEEK?
You never want to say never. I would say it's highly unlikely that Jay will be playing on Monday night, but I would not want to make it 100 percent at this point in time. There's a lot of time before the game, but it's highly unlikely.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE BRIGGS' REPLACEMENT?
"A lot of it will be based on the tape of practice, but there are also special teams issues as well with our linebacker corps. It's a combination of a number of issues that we're going to talk about over the next couple days."
TWO ROOKIE LBs VS. RODGERS
"Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers. I don't know that that would be a deciding factor. It's who can be the best player on that particularly play during that game to play that linebacker position. Because there's not just base involved, there's nickel involved as well, and how we handle that will be based on game planning and what they've done offensively."
WHAT'S NEEDED FOR A BACKUP QB TO STEP IN AND BE SUCCESSFUL?
"I think No. 1 is experience because the player stepping in does not get the reps. The backup quarterback … if you're going to have two, you'd prefer to have an experienced player. If you have three, then you have an experienced player and a young guy you can develop. We're in a very fortunate position. We've got a guy who has started in this league, has played, has a great grasp of our offense. I think that is clear. That doesn't mean that we're going to have the same effectiveness next week, but it does show and create an impression that we've got a good chance to succeed and move the football on Monday night."
GOOD PLAYERS SURROUNDING QB WILL HELP JOSH?
"We don't ask Jay to do it; we're not going to ask Josh to carry the weight of the offense on his shoulders. We've got good players at skill level positions and Jay said it, we've got a line that is evolving and getting better and we feel confident we should be able to go out and move the football and what we're trying to do is move it more on a consistent basis and we're trying to be better on third down because we've been very good on first down and we've been good up to this point in the red zone—we always want to get better and good in all the other third-down situations. So that's our focus; more consistency. We think we can do that with Josh. We think we've got the players to do it. And we've got to do a better job on third down so we can keep the clock working in our favor."
WHAT DID CUTLER DO TODAY?
"He played a little catch just for the receivers more than anything, but he didn't move around. He was just stationary."
"It all starts with fundamentals; taking care of the football in the pocket. That skill set is the most important one because if we take care of the football and we make good and efficient decisions, we feel like we're always going to be in the game. You get to the minus areas in turnovers and then you're going uphill. Those are the things regardless of who's playing are still the No. 1 things: taking care of the football in the pocket, being alert for blindside pursuit; things like that. and then being efficient throwing it, locating the ball properly so we can keep it in our hands and keep it away from them."
"Just doing whatever the doctors and trainers tell me. That's kind of the world we're living in right now. I feel better. You know, day by day."
"He's optimistic. And so am I. So we'll see how it goes."
"It's tough watching. It's always the hardest part, not being able to do your job with the rest of the guys. So I've just got to help Josh as best I can. And when I get back I get back."
RELIEVED IT WASN'T SEASON ENDING?
"Yeah. I mean you're always hoping for better news."
COMPARE TO THUMB INJURY TWO YEARS AGO
"My thumb, I didn't feel that. This has been the most significant pain-wise that I've had. So …"
"We're just going through the reads. Just looking at film. He's been around a long time. So there's not much I can tell him that he hasn't seen or done."
"I mean I feel good. I'm not going to get into where we're at. We're getting better and better."
RIGHT WHEN IT HAPPENED?
"Yeah. I knew right away something wasn't right."
WHAT CAN YOU DO OTHER THAN REST?
"Stuff the trainers and doctors tell me. I'm not going to get into the specifics of what we're doing really."
SOONER THAN FOUR WEEKS?
"Yeah. That's the goal."
SUSCEPTIBLE TO AGGRAVATION?
"Whenever they give me the green light, we're going to go in there rocking and we can't look back. So whenever that happens, you'll see me out there."
TALK ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE?
"I'm not going to. Each game is valuable. Especially second half of the season. So the sooner I can get back, the better I'm going to feel helping these guys out."
MORE FRUSTRATING IN A CONTRACT YEAR?
"No. Doesn't matter what year it is, you never want to get injured."
MCCOWN COMPARED TO HANIE
"Josh is going to do the job. We've got a good game plan coming in. The coaches have done a great job all year of protecting guys at the QB position. Josh fared well against Cincinnati. He played well. He'll play well again this week as well."
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN REHAB?
"I'm not going to get into what we're doing."
SUPPORTING CAST HELPS JOSH?
"We've got a lot of talented guys. Offensive line is playing really well. That's what made my job easier. It's going to make his job easier as well."
MARSHALL VS. MERIWEATHER
"We've all made mistakes. I've made mistakes. Every guy on this team has made a mistake. So I think Brandon is looking towards the future. He's learned from everything he's done in his past. And he took the high road. That's just the guy he is these days. He's a high character guy. So I applaud him for that. And everyone on this team supports Brandon on and off the field."
PRESSING RECOVERY WITHOUT RE-INJURY
"I'll push it as much as I can. That's the trainers' and the doctors' (department). When they say you can go, you go."
FULL PLAYBOOK WITH MCCOWN?
"Yeah, we do. It's not limited at all."
JOSH VS. JAY IN HE HUDDLE?
"Not much. He's takes control of the huddle as well as Jay did, so it's not much different. He's got a little more energy, you would say just by on the outside looking in. He's clapping his hands, doing something like that, but they both command the huddle the same way. Everybody is waiting on him to give us the play. Any side notes after the play, he's going to tell guys little nuances. He's knows those parts of the playbook as well."
JOSH SAYS ARM STRENGTH BIG DIFFERENCE
"He has good velocity on it. He's probably just downplaying his arm a little bit, maybe because he's an old cat. He has great anticipation on the ball. You can see when guys are running routes, the ball is in the air before they even turn around. That adds to it."
DOES YOUR ROLE CHANGE WITH NEW QB?
"No, it doesn't."
"I've been telling him a lot of times you need to get down at the end of the run. He has a big heart out there. When he's running, he's not afraid to try to put his head down and get the first down if we need that."
WILL YOU CARRY EXTRA LOAD?
"No extra load. None. None at all. Everybody on offense has a load on their shoulders to continue to try to get better because we haven't played to our ability, and we've lost a couple games. There's no extra load put on us, we do have to step up."
IS SEASON OVER DUE TO INJURIES?
"Not at all. We still are in a good position right now to make a run for the playoffs and do well. "
THOUGHTS ON RUN GAME?
"It's average right now. We've been doing well. We haven't really run the ball a whole lot like probably we're going to when get at home when the weather changes. I expect the second half of the season that—we are being efficient on first down gaining positive yards. We have gotten a lot of big plays out of the running game. We've got three 50-yard runs, or something like that. I think we can continue to do that, but as well, continue to get those chunks of yardage in the running game as we go down the stretch."
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.