"Good afternoon. I'll just start with Jay. Jay has spent, since the day he got hurt, he has spent 24-7, he was here the entire bye week, he's done everything he can on and off the field to get ready. The last couple of days he's gone through an excessive protocol to make sure that he was, by Doctor's evaluation, cleared to play the game on Sunday. This morning, they cleared him to play. He practiced the entire practice today, he took every rep, and had a good practice. And I'll leave it at that.
"I expect him to start on Sunday.
"He had an excellent practice. He moved around, we worked the entire game plan today: our movements, climbing the pocket, throwing the football, down the field, short throws, everything. He did everything today. And all that stuff, he's been doing the last few days, with the trainers, and with the doctors supervision."
WHY SO FAST?
"No. 1 the doctors had told us that the injury was what it was, it was a legitimate four-week injury. And Jay took it upon himself, like I said literally, 24-7, doing everything he could to rehab. Jay is unique, regarding he really understands his body, he really understands how to take care of himself. And he's a unique athlete, and I'm sure some of that came into effect. But it was an incredible amount of hard work went into it, that he put in just to get a chance to get to this point. We're excited about it. It says a lot about his commitment to the team, he came in this morning, did a few other things, the doctors said you are good to go."
CAN YOU REMEMBER SEEING THIS BEFORE?
"No I can't, I really can't. There was a group of doctors and trainers. And I've said this before, I never get involved in how these things go, because it's really not my job to do that. I just try and monitor it day by day and see how he's doing. The doctors, we have a team of doctors and a team of trainers, and they're all involved in the process, and getting him back and getting him ready to go."
BUT JOSH WAS GOOD
"Jay's been cleared to play, so there wasn't any kind of consideration at all."
MONITORING CUTLER'S GROIN
"I'm sure, we'll everyday we'll go in there. He's been cleared to play, I really don't know how to take any farther than that or make it any more complicated than that.
HOW MANY QBs ACTIVE?
"We'll see. I haven't really thought about that at this point."
ABBREVIATED SESSION TODAY?
"It really wasn't. We did the same thing last week on Thursday. I had one period left that I had scripted and I made a decision to just add it to tomorrow's practice. Remember, this is like a Wednesday for the guys so they're still a little bit sore. And so we backed off a little bit and we'll add it to Friday's practice. Just five plays."
DO YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HIM BEING SUSCEPTIBLE TO AGGRAVATING THE INJURY?
"The doctors have cleared him to play. I don't know how I can respond any other way to that. It's like with any other player, when they say he's ready to go. And he's a player. And every player is individually evaluated. And I can't respond to that ... he's cleared to play and so he's going to play. I'm not thinking through it any more than that."
"He practiced the entire practice today."
WHAT DID CUTLER TAKE AWAY FROM 1ST GAME AGAINST DETROIT?
"You learn from your mistakes. He had a ball security issue backed up, which we consistently work on day in and day out. He had a couple of scrambles. He had a high throw. As I said the day after it happened, we had a depth of the route that caused the first one that would have cleaned that up a little bit. Those are the three that I can remember. Down the sideline, there was one as well. And we had talked about that. I think those are mistakes that he learned from and hopefully I think we saw that as he moved on. We'll see this week."
WHAT DID DETROIT DO TO CREATE DISRUPTION UP FRONT?
"I think the natural effect is, without being specific, is they have a very good pass rush. They have good players, not just Suh. But they have a very good four-man pass rush. We're not the only ones. You've got to turn on the tape. You see it through Cincinnati and other games that they played and Washington and the other cutups that we look. We've just got to do a good job up front and we've got be able to have the ability to move the quarterback around and get away from the rush and we'll try to do that, as well. Overall we've got to play a cleaner game. We gave the defense the ball in our territory too many times, four times, one on special teams and three times offensively. We gave up a touchdown. So it was a short field for our defense most of the game. We've got to do a better job of doing what we know we're capable of and that's sustaining drives, staying on the field, making sure we're not in backed-up situations so we give our defense a short field and take care of the football."
DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT GAME PLAN-WISE OR PREP-WISE?
"Not at all. He's been cleared to play. And if he couldn't do everything that a quarterback has to do in a game on an NFL Sunday then he wouldn't be out there. As I said, he's been cleared because the doctors believe that there's nothing that he can't do physically to play the position. We would never put him out there if he wasn't cleared to do everything."
"Anytime you get your starting quarterback back from injury, you feel good about it. I think Josh McCown did a very nice job when he was in, being able to beat the Green Bay Packers and he had a very good second half of the Washington Redskins game. So he filled in quite nicely."
"Everything that Kyle Long does in a game that you haven't seen, is brand new, he hasn't done it before. It's a growing process for Kyle in every practice, every day, every drill. And then you get so much information that you forget what you knew before and you forget Day One. So it's a constant process. Anytime you're starting a rookie, doesn't matter who it is, anytime a rookie's starting in the National Football League, it's all new to him, every situation's new, and I thought he's handled most of them well. And he's still got a long way to go."
"He's extremely athletic. He's fast, he can get out of his stance quickly, he can adjust in space. And so when you get the opportunity, you try to get him out there."
LONG VS. SUH
"Like every game: ‘What did I do well, what didn't I do well?' If you're a player you're saying to yourself, how can I make myself better, as a whole, not against one single person. I think his growth from that game to now has been a big difference. Every game throughout the rest of the year is going to be big for him to continue to grow and not regress back to some techniques that were used earlier that were not effective."
"He can do better. He had some solid blocks one-on-one with him but then he had somewhere his technique was off from the beginning. With each lineman we tell them, ‘You can control what you can control from the start: Your set, your stance, your hands, your eyes.' Then from there we'll react and respond from how we work.' "But I think he has a better handle now and he'll have a better handle by week 16 for what exactly what he does control and how he changes up during the game so he's not doing the same things when he's one-on-one with someone."
SEEING LIONS BEFORE GIVE YOU AN EDGE?
"Anytime you see a team for the second time, you have a better feel for how much strength you have against a guy, how much technique you're going to nee against someone. Just as you go from the first drive of a game to the second; ‘I can do this more than I thought on tape watching him against someone else.' But they're also familiar with us."
SACKS ALLOWED IN 1ST LIONS CONTEST
"The situations we were in that game: one was a coverage sack where we called a play that wasn't open and we didn't throw it away. It was a mistake we learned from. We've got to get rid of the ball and move on to the next down. It was an early down in the drive and there's nothing wrong with throwing the ball away.
"Two, as you get down in a game and you continue to throw time after time after time to try to get back in it, which we were, that's when more sacks will happen. That's when they start pinning their ears back, they're just pass-rushing, not worrying about the run, and that's when you have to be extra special. There's going to be pressure and you have to speed up the passing game, throw things that are going to get out quickly because they know and everybody in the stadium knows you're about to throw the ball the 30th time straight."
IMPORTANCE OF FIELD POSITION
"You can see in the last time we played these guys, a mistake when you're backed up is exaggerated because of where it happens. So if you make a mistake on the other side of the 50, going in, it's probably not going to be as much of a deal. So you have to do a solid job of getting yourself out of that hole, and then start working your way into your normal offense. We work on coming out or backed up or whatever you want to call it each week, and what kind of plays are safe, what kind of plays can you run that you don't think something catastrophic would happen if there were a mistake."
18-PLAY DRIVE TO CLOSE OUT PACKERS
"First off, you can't get a drive like that without your wide receivers blocking, and that's something that our receivers are willing to do. You watch Alshon Jeffery, you watch Brandon Marshall, you watch Earl, these guys will block and they're big and they're physical. So we got in one back, three wide receiver sets, and they really did a nice job of blocking as well as the line and as well as Matt Forte's running and Michael Bush's running. But that's what really propelled us to continue to go, because it was a solid team effort as opposed to just an up-front, and the receivers waiting for the next pass. They don't do that here. They really have prided themselves in being good blockers. I think that made a big difference in that drive."
CHANGE OFFENSE DUE TO CUTLER'S GROIN?
"Like Marc said, if he's cleared to go, we're doing everything. We're going to call the offense. And that's important in the evaluation of whether he's cleared to go or not. And once they say he's cleared to go, we're going to call the offense as we normally would."
DOES PROGRESS OF O-LINE GIVE YOU FLEXIBILITY IN SCHEME AND PLAY-CALLING?
"I think that we're progressing as an offense. When you go in and put plays in [during] offensive meetings on Wednesday and on Thursday and on Friday, they've heard them before. They know that if this happens, I do this. If that happens, I do that. That's the key to getting better as an offense. So whether it's a young line, whether it's new receivers or a backup quarterback or your starting quarterback coming back, it's the familiarity with, ‘What happens when? What happens if?' on these plays that we've had more success lately as we move on because we know those adjustments."
ARE YOU BECOMING MORE DIFFICULT TO PREPARE FOR?
"We hope so. We hope so in that we're changing up what we do formationally and personnel groups, where we put people, and adding concepts as we go as well."
VALUE OF MINIMAL DROPOFF BETWEEN MCCOWN AND CUTLER
"You know, both of them have had success in the offense because they work hard, they've studied it, they've gotten with the receivers. When Josh McCown was playing, we called the Chicago Bear offense. And when Jay Cutler's playing, we'll call the Chicago Bear offense. And when the plays are executed correctly by all 11 guys, they're successful."
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THE O-LINE'S PRE-SNAP DISCIPLINE?
"I think it's a case where we were in the noise, and we worked in the noise all week. So whether it was a walk-through, whether it was a team period, whether it was individual, we had a blasting speaker right next to us the entire time so we couldn't hear each other talk. When you get comfortable with that, when you go on to the field, then it usually carries over."
WHEN DOES SPEAKER RUN?
"When you're calling the play and running the play."
HAVE YOU DONE THAT FOR HOME GAMES?
"A lot of times, you'll do that with your defense at home games because you know at a critical situation that the crowd is going to be extremely loud for your defense, so to be able to communicate as a defense, that's when you'd use it for home games."
HOME FANS ARE LOUD
"Oh, definitely loud. But I think they're smart fans, and they realize when it's a crucial time to tone it down, and that's the beauty of having a smart fan base."
CROWD NOISE OR WHITE NOISE?
"It's crowd noise pumped through a speaker. I can only tell you what we've been a part of and what we do this year, and it's working on snap counts, it's working on understanding what to do on plays. Because there are some false starts that happen because you don't know what to do, so you're thinking so hard on what to do that you can't remember what the cadence was. You can only attribute it to their hard work in the meeting rooms and on the practice field and going out with confidence into the game."
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.