Three really good days of practice. As I told the guys, they worked very hard. It doesn't guarantee us anything on Sunday, but it gives us a chance. We've got a very focused football team. There was energy all through the practices. Real good focus. Very good focus on assignments and the details. We'll see what happens on Sunday.
You know the guys that are out. That includes Anthony Walters, Lance and Jay. Questionable would be Derrick Martin, Stephen [Paea], Ratliff and Major had a slight pull on his hamstring today. I don't know where that would take us. It wasn't a major pull, but now he becomes questionable for the game and we probably won't know until game time where he's at there.
Matt [Forte] practiced. Robbie [Gould] we sent home, he was sick today. There'll be no issue there. And Brandon got a bunch of work today, so we expect he'll be ready to go.
Matt Forte IS PROBABLE?
Oh yeah, he's probable. He practiced throughout the practice today.
DO YOU HAVE GUYS LIKE JEREMIAH ON A SNAP COUNT?
It's a good question, John. Obviously I'll talk to Mike Phair and to Mel [Tucker]. But we'll also be working with the trainers on that. We'll see where he is during the course of the game. Hopefully we'll get whatever that number is we'll be able to get to it.
IT'LL BE A NUMBER?
At least initially and then we'll see where we are from there. We're not going to lock ourselves in. But I think we'll have a number going in.
DO YOU SEE HIM AS A THREE OR A NOSE?
I think we could see him playing either. I don't want to say right now where we're going to play him. But I see him playing both positions.
HIS EXPERIENCE ...
No doubt. He's brought something to our locker room already. And on the practice field, our offensive linemen have felt him during the week — his presence on the field. That's a good sign. And we'll see where it goes. We're not going to make any proclamations at this point in time. But demeanor-wise, his attitude, the way he's fit into our locker room and the way he practiced this week, he was a guy out there that everybody realized was out there practicing. That's a good thing. And we'll see where it takes us on Sunday.
AFTER A YEAR OFF, HOW MUCH CAN YOU EXPECT FROM A GUY LIKE JEREMIAH?
I'm not going in with any expectations. Like I said to John, we'll probably have a number [of plays] we'd like to get out of him and we'll see how he plays and see where his conditioning is and his pad level is and things like that.
WITH THE LIONS WINNING YESTERDAY ...
All these games now are certainly important games, no doubt about it. We can say what we want, but we have to try to be at our best every week. In this league, I truly believe that records have no effect on the two teams that play. I know that's not the question that was directed at me, but it really doesn't. If you're not at your best you will not be able to compete against any team in this league, any Sunday.
DID YOU WATCH PACKERS/LIONS?
"I didn't. We were still in the office during the afternoon. I saw the score."
"I don't know where he's at right now. It was a slight pull. That's all I know right now. I talked to him afterwards, he said he felt pretty good. These things, we'll have to see where he is tomorrow."
"Craig's been around. He knows the position. He knows his assignments. He's not a guy who's going to make a lot of mistakes. I think we'll be fine at the position. I have a lot of comfort with him."
"We've shown we can do it in practice and we've got to take the next step. It's kind of like what I just said, we've had three really good days of practice. We practiced like the team we want to become. That's what I told the guys. We looked that good in practice this week. But that doesn't guarantee us a victory on Sunday. That doesn't even guarantee us that we'll be able to go out and do the same things. We've got to handle the environment. We've got to do the things we did in practice all week and that's the challenge. Until Sunday, you really never know. It's based on how you work. Your work gives you a chance. If you do your work during the week, it gives you a chance on Sunday. We've done that. Now we've got to build our emotional edge. We've got to play a clean football game and be a smart football team on Sunday."
"I think Matt's skill set would be valuable on any offense. We all see it every day. He's a fluid runner. He can run inside and outside. He's a very good pass receiver and he's a very big part of our protection package. He's in every protection meeting. He's a big part of picking up that sixth player, wherever he comes from. He's got multiple skill sets and he's a three-down player. I think we all see that. There's a lot of flexibility in what you can do with him. The most important thing is, a running back really has a hard time getting on the field if the quarterback can't trust him to block the right guy in protection. And the coach can't. It's hard to put a player out there who can't do that because now you're threatening the safety of your football team. He does all of that. That's why he's such an important part of what we do."
DEALING WITH INJURIES
"I don't think you measure satisfaction in that way. I can't really answer the question. You have to go about it in a business-like fashion. That is, this is the situation that exists today. What are the things we need to do to be at our best that day. I don't have any kind of sense or emotional satisfaction or discouragement based on the day to day health of our football team. I just don't go in that direction. I just try to find solutions with the people that we have to try to create an environment we can be successful in daily and on Sunday."
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.