I think I'll start off just by, Lance will be out and Jay will be out this week of course, and Lance got some stretching in today and that was about it. Matt didn't practice today, Derrick Martin didn't practice, Anthony Walters didn't practice. Limited today was Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff got a little work. Normal Wednesday, we went indoors and I'll just leave it open to questions.
I'm still optimistic, I feel pretty god that he'll start getting some work tomorrow, we'll se where he's at but I'm optimistic about that.
I don't think that's going to happen but I can say that we'd have the two Michaels up obviously and they would be working together in tandem at the running back position. They would both be up. Michael would be up for the game special-teams wise as he has been the last few weeks, Michael Ford.
TIME OF POSSESSION MISLEADING, SINCE YOU WON THAT BUT STILL GOT BEAT?
It's a good question. It was a little bit unique this week. I've never thought that time of possession generally is always indicative of who wins a game. That would be No. 1, although a lot of times it is the teams that have the most time of possession. Our time of possession was unique because of the time we spent in the red zone, scoring, so we ate up a lot of time there. We didn't eat up the time moving down the field, but at the same time when we got down there we didn't score the one of the four times we had the ball down there we didn't score, so that hurt us, so in that kind of game we needed more possessions, we used a lot of time on each possession because we went the distance, we were on a long field the whole day so I don't know that this was a little more unique, generally when you have 36 minutes you're in pretty good shape, but at the end of the day, turnovers are No. 1, explosive plays are No. 2, and offensively, from their standpoint, they had too many explosive plays.
WHAT'S YOUR LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE IN THE DEFENSE AND HOW MIGHT IT IMAPCT HOW YOU CALL PLAYS?
I went through the tape again and spent time again with Mel yesterday on it, just taking us through a progression from practice to the game and the tape was very clear looking back, the effort level was high enough and we played fast enough to play winning football. We were lined up in the right spots at the right place at the right time to play winning football. What we didn't do on an individual play-by-play basis, we had guys not in the right place at the right time, so our level of confidence is that we've got to go back to work and get our guys who are, No. 1 getting on the job training, to do a better job of focusing in on their keys and not getting caught up in all the other things that go on and then the guys who have been around are not getting so caught up in trying to help the guys who are in their on the job training and just focus on their work. But there's evidence there that we can get the job done, and that's the way we're starting the week, and that's what we as coaches are trying to do is to continue to work at that and put ourselves in a better position to make those stops, and we know we can's make all of them, but to minimize, No. 1 the explosive plays and No. 2 is to begin to create some turnovers, which we haven't done the last couple weeks.
HOW CLOSE ARE PAEA AND RATLIFF AND HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE WILL THEY MAKE?
That's a tough question. There's two questions and they're both tough. Stephen was out there some today in a limited fashion and so was Jeremiah, they'll continue to be evaluated. Jeremiah has been a starter in this league and has been a highly effective player in this league. We don't really know where he's at right now. But we're feeling good in some of the things we're seeing. We feel like he can make a difference for us. He's certainly fitting in with our locker room well. And Stephen we know has been a starter here and has had this lingering issue with his toe. He got some work today and we'll know a little bit more as we proceed during the week.
WHAT STANDS OUT TO YOU ABOUT THE WAY MEL TEACHES YOUNG PLAYERS?
Well he's very detailed and extremely organized and he's a tremendous communicator, on all three levels. He's also very emotionally intelligent. He knows when to be emotional and when he's emotional it means something. And when he's more even-keeled and more in a teaching mode, he's very clear in what he does. I think he also does a great job of teaching coaches and directing coaches through the course of the day in an organized fashion for them to get their work done as well.
CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE?
No. 1 is handling staff meetings, directing through his initiatives to each position coach the things we need to get done; how we're going to go about doing it throughout the course of the day, now the time is going to be regimented; How cards are going to be drawn, because cards are so important from a defensive standpoint when there are shifts and motions and things like that. Like the Rams did. I think those are all relative and they're signs of good leadership and signs of being a very good teacher.
WITH THIS DEFENSE IS IT TOUGHER TO COVER PLAY-ACTION?
You answer the question, when you're not stopping the run you put your team in a two-fold position, because now you've got not only play-action passes and movement, but you've got the threat of explosive plays, because you're creating one-on-ones on the outside. So that's all part of it, so the sooner a team in each and every game can make a team one-dimensional, they eliminate play-action passes and give themselves more options, because they know they're going to be in drop-back modes, the play-actions won't be as big a factor.
EXCITED TO GO TO Minnesota, WHERE YOU GREW UP, NOW AS A HEAD COACH?
You know really not, only because you're so focused on what you're doing. Certainly I'm appreciative of the opportunity to go back there and be a head coach. I'm appreciative every day of being a head coach. But no, you're so locked in to your day-to-day preparations, it really doesn't really matter where that 100-yard field is — it never really matters. You're going out there to help your guys in any way you can to win the game. The team you're playing really isn't significant in terms of what you're trying to accomplish for your own guys. We understand it's a divisional game. We know it's on the road and the stadium's five minutes from where I grew up and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be doing that. But the emotions, the focus doesn't get away from doing the job that has to be done on my end.
FIXING THE DEFENSE
I think that No. 1, going into it, it may look simple, it may have appeared simple on the outside. It's a very detailed defense. There's a lot of little things that this defense has to do to accommodate what looks to be very simple on the outside. So it's not an easy defense to learn. It takes reps. It's a tough question. We're in the business of the guys that are here are the best players available to us at this time. We're in the same situation as a lot of teams in the National football League. We're playing at team that has in injury issues as well and they have to overcome that as well. So it's the day-to-day in a nutshell, its' the time available to get the work done to do the teaching. And we've had to really do a very — we're doing the best job we can. I know Mel is — it goes to Rich's question of making sure we make the most out of each and every minute that we have with these guys and give them the in-class training, the video training, the walk-through training, the rep training and then running at full speed training that goes into preparation for the game. I think we're doing the best we can in that regard. That's what's necessary.
SOME YOUNG PLAYERS SAY THEY'RE WORKING ON TRUSTING TEAMMATES TO DO THEIR JOBS; HOW DO YOU WORK ON THAT?
"It's not easy. That's part of raising young players to be the players you want them to be. What we're trying to convince them to do is not worry about anybody else because they're probably not at a stage where they see the big picture because that takes time. So just learning what they do in the framework of their telephone booth—if anybody remembers what a telephone booth is in the room—and just focusing in with blinders on their specific key that's going to take them to the right spot and then as I said the flipside of that is the veteran player who has a big picture and also knows that this guy is going to need some help, how can I better help him and then he goes outside the parameters of his job. That's the discipline that we're trying to work on. There have been moments over the last three or four weeks that we've had that and there have been moments certainly as we all know that we haven't. That's the challenge week to week."
"I think Josh has just got to continue at the level he's playing at. He's got to be efficient, take care of the football and let the guys around him do what they need to to help move our football team. I've been pleased with his performance level. He knows there's things he can do to get better; we've talked about those things and trusting his reads and progressions and just letting the guys around him do the work. We're always going to try to do better on specific things, specific passing principles, specific footwork. That's what he can continue to work at, the little things and details that go into the makeup and success of a play on multiple levels, the fundamentals and the challenges of getting the ball to the right guy in the passing game."
ANY ADVANTAGE HAVING COACHED FOR VIKINGS?
"Certainly I go back to Metropolitan Stadium, long before the Metrodome. My first game as a coach was with the Vikings in '85 with Bud Grant and we happened to be playing the world champions – my recollection. To my recollection we played the 49ers who were in the Super Bowl the year before and coach Grant gave this very short speech about what it would take to beat the world champions and win the game, and we won the game in the fourth quarter, with some of the great players and Bill Walsh on the other side of the field."
WHAT IMPRESSES YOU ABOUT Adrian Peterson?
"I think more than his run ability is his will. His will and determination is so apparent on every single run. His passion for what he does, his job. I don't know if there's anybody in the league who expresses that any better and that relentlessness and love of the game. Certainly there are guys who do just as much, but nobody more than Adrian Peterson. That's what stands out to me. We've seen a lot of running backs come and go and he's certainly one of the greatest to ever play the game. Some of us have seen a lot of running backs over the last 50 years in the National Football League and he has to be one of the best. But it's his will, his determination, the things that go beyond his ability that really stand out to me."
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.