**These are rough transcripts. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors.**
It was a normal Thursday today but it's really Friday. So it was the second day. We spent a lot of time on third down today. I know it sounds like a broken record but that's what we do on Day 2 practices, we work on special situation football. I was happy to see Charles out there. He worked the entire practice, got reps. I know you'd be interested in that. He would have to tell you how he felt. I haven't had a chance to talk with him but he did work through the entire practice and got a number of reps and went at full speed. And that was certainly good to see. It was a highly competitive practice today. The team was very efficient. They worked at preparing for this game in all different phases. The execution was good and I think we got a lot out of our work today. The guys are excited. I think their energy is starting to build for this game. They're excited about going to Lambeau Field and playing on Monday night football in front of the world and in front of their peers and for each other. And we're going to take it one day at a time. We've got a big day tomorrow. We get in the red zone tomorrow and work on more special situations special teams-wise. And we'll finish out the week with a full three days of preparation. We'll finish up on (waiting for phone to stop whistling)... we'll clean it up on Sunday morning and we'll get on a bus and head to Green Bay. I'll leave it open to questions.
REJUVENATED AFTER BYE?
I don't know that the team ever sensed that it's not rejuvenated when we practice and when we work. I wish you could be out there -- I don't -- but if you could be out there, if you were out there you would see a team that I think really enjoys practicing and working similar to what we did, I mean, it looks very similar to training camp. They have fun out there. They work hard. They're extremely focused. So I don't notice. I felt coming back on Monday and Tuesday that we really hadn't been away. The execution was good. They were locked in. We gave them a day off. We came back and we started just our daily preparation of doing everything we can on a daily basis to get ready for this game. I think we always focus on building our energy as we work towards the game but I don't feel that. I feel like there's always energy out there and I don't feel a sense of rejuvenation. I think there's an itch to want to play football again. It seems like we haven't played in quite some time and the fact is we haven't. But the closer you get to the game the faster it's going to go. I know the guys are excited about playing on Monday night.
Khaseem Greene SOLIDIFIED SPOT
He's had two very good days of practice, I would say that. To say he's solidified it, I wouldn't say that today. But I've seen him do very well the last two days and work in with James Anderson and Bostic and making the calls and being in the right place. So I'm encouraged with the first two days of practice, no doubt about it.
WHAT DOES THIS GAME MEAN TO A TEAM TRYING TO ALTER THE HIERARCHY WITHIN DIVISION?
I don't know if we look at it like that. You'd have to talk to the players, and their historical perspective. I think it's the constant search for finding more about our football team. We know it's not the same football team it was two weeks ago in Washington. There's been movement. There's been change. We're a different team even with one new player playing. So I think it's more about we're putting in work, these guys like to play ball. We're not hiding from the fact that we understand the facts about the standings, you know, how we come out of Lambeau Field, how the standings are going to look. We understand that. But I don't think that's a focus. I think the focus is going out there and being at our best. We understand what the different results will mean for that week in the National Football League. We're very well aware of that. But I think we're more focused on being at our best and not into the stress or worry mode of trying to figure out the future, just going out there and being at our best on Monday night.
JOSH HAS TALKED ABOUT THE ANTICIPATION WITH WHICH HE THROWS. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU CAN TEACH QBS? IS IT INNATE?
I think quarterbacks are wired differently and they're wired to their skill levels or their ability to put speed on a ball. The timing of a pass is similar whoever throws it. If a quarterback knows he can't get it there quite as quickly releasing it later, he's wired in a way at this level so he'll release it earlier so he'll time up. We're talking blips of a second. I mean, you can't even basically see it. I have found over the years that certain players will hold it a little longer because they know they can get it there on time because players are breaking at the same depth. We're not changing depths of routes to get players the football. So that has to be adjusted not only with anticipation but with footwork to get themselves in position to get the ball out on time, which is whatever it takes for them to get the ball to that spot.
IS IT ACCURATE TO SAY THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE FOR A QB WHO CAN HOLD IT LONGER?
I think that you could argue that but there's so many quarterbacks who have done it over the years that through anticipation, they've been able to. Again, we're talking about it's almost you're not even able to see it that they're able to get the ball out and make it work because there's all different types of quarterbacks playing in this league with all different arm -- there's no such thing really as arm strength but the ability really to put speed on the ball to get it out later and still get it there on time.
BETTER TO WAIT TIL BEFORE THROWING?
"There are so many quarterbacks who have done it over the years through anticipation. We're talking about not even being able to see it, that variable of getting the ball out and making it work. There's all types of quarterbacks playing in this league. There's really no such thing as arm strength, but the ability to put the kind of speed on the ball to get it out later and still get it there on time."
DIFFERENT WHEN QB PREPARES TO PLAY, RATHER THAN JUST HOLD A CLIPBOARD?
"The mindset for the quarterback coming off the bench is that he's got to be ready without reps. The preparation side of it is completely different. Now Josh has five practice to prepare for this. He'll be the focus of attention so you have to deal with those issues, with his age and experience in the league, I don't think it's an issue. But it's dealing on a day-to-day basis with the questions and the media and the outside forces. And at practice you're getting all the work and you don't have a good practice unless the quarterback has a good practice. It's the way football's built. If the ball's on the ground, it's chaotic because we're not getting the job done. It ripples off into all phases of football."
PACKERS SCHEME FOR MCCOWN
"You'd have to ask the other team that. Certainly they're going to watch him play, evaluate him, how they're going to rush him, blitz him, cover. I'm sure those decisions will be made on what they see."
JOSH'S INPUT IN THE GAME PLAN
"We go through the game plan. Josh and I sat down and I said, ‘this is what we're thinking about; is there anything you want to take out?' I do that with Jay as well. We have a number of concepts and principles that we have, we lay it out based on what we anticipate, but there's enough there that if the quarterback doesn't feel comfortable or there's things that he wants to focus on, there's that kind of flexibility in the offense."
ONLY TWO TIGHT ENDS ON ROSTER
"We're trying to make do with the best players we have. When you have tight ends on the field, backs, you're able to limit some things teams can do defensively. More teams are playing more nickel defenses against two-tight-end sets because these tight ends are more like receivers, so you've got to put defensive backs on them to cover them. But it does give you flexibility; you'd like to be able to move people around and create mismatches and you do that with tight ends and backs as much as you can particularly when you get base defenses on the field."
"He's a big strong guy, he can run inside and outside, and he's a presence back there in terms of ability, a physical presence which really Green Bay hasn't had to my recollection in recent years. It really doesn't matter how much you throw it. You still want to be able to say, ‘we can run it,' that we have the ability to run the football; it really doesn't matter when we want to run it. I'm sure that's something Mike likes to have in his back pocket to take a little pressure off the quarterback, and it's helped them tremendously."
"I know how he was raised in the business, I know his work ethic is exemplary. He's been one of the hardest-working assistant coaches. I knew about him when he was a young coach in the league and he worked his way up through the ranks. He was a coordinator in different places, didn't always have the best of success, had adversity along the way, had adversity in the job before he got the job in Green Bay. His makeup is one of hard work ethic, emotional intelligence, understands the quarterback position, and he's been able to create a marriage between himself and Aaron Rodgers which has allowed his team to continually be consistent and play at a high level year in and year out. So he's one of the guys I really respect, how he's worked to get where he is, and he's a professional, stays on an even keel."
SO QUARTERBACK-COACH IS AN IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP?
"We probably have similarities because we work in the same places. We're in the quarterback room, involved in play selection, working that process, and certainly the administration. Just as a person and a coach, a professional, I have a lot of respect for his journey and how he's handled himself along the way."
DO YOU THINK PACKERS WILL TARGET YOUR SAFETIES?
"I wouldn't go into that because I don't want to put myself in the head of Mike McCarthy as he's going to attack us. I think what we've had to do is we spent time assessing things that we can do better and certainly one of things that we can do better is on the back end. We haven't played football in a long time and certainly on Monday night we're going to have a better understanding — we got into a shootout certainly in Washington. We had a chance to win at the end, just like they did. We've seen a lot of that going on in this league recently where games go right to the end, right to the last play and in that game we didn't make the play at the end of the game in any phase of our football to get it done. So I don't know whether that's the reality or that's an aberration, we're certainly going to find out a lot more on Monday night playing against an elite player like Aaron Rodgers and a really good football team in the Green Bay Packers."
ANY PARTICULAR STUDY METHODS FOR YOUR QBs?
"I don't know that we do that. We certainly spend a lot of time in the offseason talking about how we were going to work during the season. We put a document together on things we wanted to get done, particularly with Jay. We followed that straight through. We reviewed it as we went along to make sure we were staying to it and then we made some decisions in how we were going to operate on a weekly basis to make sure that we were prepared each and every week for the game. And I can tell you that it's a full time job, all day job, to get it done and we do everything from talking about coverages and fronts and spend a lot of time on our protection plans. So it's the itinerary of the week that we do each and every week. And that incorporates everything from concepts we're going to run to how we're going to protect to audibles we're going to use. I probably haven't answered your question directly, but that's really the best I can do with it."
HOW HAS JOSH ASSIMILATED TO THAT?
"He's been part of it. His work ethic is second to none as well. He's spent every day here during this week and during the off day to try to do everything he can in his own way so a lot of it is individual study time. The guys look at tape and draw their own conclusions and then we come together and talk about it and then we look at it together one more time. So these guys that we have here are very typical of quarterbacks in the National Football League. These guys are essentially gym rats. They're here all the time. They understand it takes a lot work to play for 60 minutes or three hours on a game day and they put in the time necessary to do the job and to be efficient. It takes a lot of work."
WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN FROM THE PACKERS' FRONT SEVEN?
"Well they've had some injuries as well. We know that they move people around. It gets more difficult in nickel situations. They've got a number of different fronts, different blitzes. They bring them from different levels, which makes it difficult as well. They bring it from the perimeter so the scheme is, as Dom Capers has always done, it's highly complex in some ways. We've got to be on it because they are coming from different places and that's the more important thing is finding the five who are coming. Finding the six who are coming. And knowing who to play and where to block. It's not one guy. I think they've certainly got good personnel. As we know, they've had some injuries to some key guys and some difference making guys, but it really comes down to blocking what we see and making sure we got a hat on the right guy and that's really the challenge of the week is making sure we've got hats on the right guys."
DOM CAPERS' DEFENSE IS GOOD
"Well, first off they built their program from the ground up. They've drafted the guys they have on their team. They've raised them in the system. It's kind of like having a farm system where they're constantly keeping the same guys. So they all know the system well and whether they play their nickel fronts or their 3-4 defense again that we're ready to see, they're very physical and big inside. They have 300-plus-pounders as the inside defensive tackles and nose and then off the edge when you have these outside linebackers that weigh 270 pounds but run like a normal linebacker, that poses a challenge."
IS IT PERSONNEL OR SCHEME?
"Anytime you combine good personnel with a good scheme, that's what makes them successful. When you're talking about their scheme, their scheme is a gap-control. They're sound in what they do and then you couple that with good players and you're going to have success."
DID YOU TALK TO ROOKIE LINEMEN ABOUT THE RIVALRY?
"I don't have to say anything about the rivalry because they hear it in the locker room. They hear it around town. They hear it downtown. Those kind of things just happen. The only thing we talk about in our room is what we have to do to get our job done successfully."
"This layoff what we sell is allow your body to get back to normal as much as possible. And it's not for this week; it's for six weeks from now. It's allowing that rest to happen and regain that strength that you've had because you get drained. It's a tough grueling time when you play week-in and week-out and so we gave them that time off and then we came back and had two very fundamental skilled practices early in the week to basically make up for that time that they had off to rest their bodies and it worked out well it seems."
GET HOPEFUL WHEN YOU SEE CUTLER PLAYING CATCH?
"Jay, it's eating at him, No. 1, that he's not out there. But he is day and night working on rehab to get that thing back and all we can do is just play with the people we have and we have a lot of confidence in Josh McCown obviously just from walking off the bench and playing in the last game he had a lot of success both in a quarterback rating and running the team and leading the offense down to a couple scores. We feel bad for Jay, but we're also looking at the opportunity for Josh to have a lot of success for us."
WHY IS GB BETTER STOPPING THE RUN THIS YEAR?
"Green Bay's been successful stopping the run every year to be honest. But like I said if they're in their base defense they have three very large humans inside that are hard to get around and a strong edge. And when they get in nickel, when you try to run it they blitz you and try to take away all the gaps that way. So that's what makes it tough on you."
RUNNING GAME JOSH'S BEST FRIEND?
"The running game is every quarterback's best friend. We said that a couple weeks back when Jay was our quarterback. As long as we keep balance, and you saw the games where we had balance, we were a better offense and quite honestly that's where we've been when we've had success offensively, when we get scoring drives. It's play-actions, it's running the ball and then controlled passing game."
DOM CAPERS OUTSMARTS BEARS EVERY YEAR. WHY?
"We're going to have some things that he won't expect and he'll have some things that we don't expect and that's what the sideline is for and that's what your veteran players are for to, in the huddle, ‘Hey guys don't forget we have these rules, understand this is the way you pick this up or this is the way you block this particular scheme, and we'll have some things he'll be doing the same on his sideline, so we look forward to it."
YOU HAD SUCCESS VS. HIM IN New Orleans HOW MUCH CAN U USE THAT?
"Yeah, you know you fit your offense to the talent that you have and the people that you have on your team and there are a lot of similarities between our offense and that offense that you're talking about. And then there's some tweaks as well, to fit our talent better. Sao we look forward to going up there and seeing what Dom has for us and the guys are excited and rested and it'll be a fun opportunity and a good atmosphere."
CHANGE YOUR OFFENSE WITH JOSH?
"Well, last week we continued on the game plan that we had and Josh handled it very well. Obviously when you have a week to plan, you're going to have a few things that Josh might like better than Jay and usually they like it because they feel successful, they feel like they'll have success, they're confident before the ball is snapped that something god is going to happen and that's important in a quarterback's mind and in an offensive mind. So we let Josh help us in ways just like we let Jay help us in ways game plan; ‘What do you like best? What are you going to take the snap from center and feel like you're going to have success with."
CHESS MATCH WITH CAPERS?
"Well, every game has a life of its own, and there will be a chess match during part if it and part of it will just be playing our base against their base and guys out-fundamentalling each other, so whether it's time management or the way you want to score, there's a lot of ways to score. We have to take long shots, we have to control the ball, we have to run the ball out of a ton of different sets, and if we continue to have success, some are going to work and some are not and you have to play the next play and you have to make up for it the next play."
HOW IMPORTANT IS BALL CONTROL?
"Our personal opinion is that ball control's important any time you're playing another good offense, so yeah, we'd like to keep the ball but if we can score, we're going to score. We're not going to hold our team back from scoring, we're not going to not throw it deep because we don't want to score too quickly. We're going to do what's best for our offense at that time and then obviously clock management at some point in the game is important."
SO YOU'RE GOING TO SURPRISE THEM WITH THE JOSH MCCOWN PACKAGE?
"I'm saying that we're going to run our offense and there's going to be some things that we'll do more of than others because of Josh."
ON SEEING COUSIN Tramon Williams IN GREEN BAY
You'll get to see him before the game, but when game time comes, I'm a Chicago Bear. I already told him if he comes my way, it's not going to be good. And he says he's going to try to cut me, so it's not going to be good for me. (laughs) It's going to be all good. He's family, but I'm a Chicago Bear. When the clock starts running, we get out there for the first drive, it's time to win.
HOW MUCH TRASH TALK BETWEEN YOU TWO?
It's been encouragement. He's just been telling me he's been watching me every game. When he's played, he tries to go check the highlights. He says I've been doing a real good job and he's proud of me. He's an idol, somebody I looked up to throughout my college days and high school to see how hard he worked. We went to the same university, Louisiana Tech University. He walked on. I actually got the scholarship, and he walked on. To see how hard he worked to get where he was, he was a true inspiration. But it's just words of encouragement. He helps me out any time I need it, even though we play for rival teams. But he knows when it's game time, all bets are off. We're going to be family before and after, but during that game, we're going to get after each other.
HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE RIVALRY?
Going back to the '20s. George Halas and Vince Lombardi, they've been going at it for years. Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, going back to that famous play that Vince Lombardi used to draw on the board and everything like that. I'm a football junkie, so I watch all of that. It goes back to the one person that started the league, George Halas. It's a true inspiration and it's humbling just to be a part of this team, and to actually play and represent in his honor and his name and his organization is like no other. I'm always the person to sit home and watch NFL Network all the time, so just to sit there and catch up on the history of the NFL and just to know the reason why I'm here, the person that started the Bears also started the NFL and just to be playing for that person and his family and his organization, it's priceless.
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.