"Sorry to keep you waiting. I know you guys have some deadlines. Let me just start out by saying, I'll tell you a little bit what I told the team. I was really proud of the way we came off a very, very difficult loss last week in Minnesota, on multiple levels. I was very proud of our football team and some of the things they did throughout the week. We had a Christmas party, a holiday party, on Monday night. You don't necessarily want to go to a holiday party after a loss like that but a lot of guys show up. A lot of guys in the organization appreciated that. Could have stayed home and felt sorry for themselves, but they didn't. They could have stayed home and felt sorry for themselves on Tuesday, but a bunch a guys on the team got on a bus to go down south and help some tornado victims. I was very proud of our team for doing that. Not sit around on a day off, feel sorry for ourselves, but go down and help others and then they came back on Thursday; I think it was Wednesday, actually, they went down south; but they came back on Thursday. They had smiles on their faces. They had coaches ready to give them game plans in detail. Nobody flinched. They didn't look around and point fingers. Coaches took accountability for their mistakes, players took accountability for theirs, as we looked at the tape and moved forward. Two great days of practice in the cold, which I think benefitted us tonight and came out with a lot of hard work. As I told the guys, it doesn't guarantee it, but every once in a while on a Monday night you show up and win a game. I was really proud and happy for our team."
"Relative to the game, the game was up and down. I thought the big change in the game came when our defense made a stop late in the second half; second quarter and then we were able to get Alshon (Jeffrey) the ball late in the half to score. We went down the field in the third quarter, got three points. Our defense made two stops. We were able to stay on the field, move the football and score some points. Really happy the way our defense made those stops in the second half, in a close game. Very excited that our guys stayed on the field offensively and score points."
On Josh McCown's play
"I thought he played an excellent game. We moved the ball. He completed passes. I thought there were a lot of exceptional catches in the game. Not every play works out like you draw it up. The guys ran around, Josh ran around and made some plays. The guys made some big catches, in traffic. If I mention one, I'm going to forget others. I think he played an excellent game. I think it all starts with our offensive line. They kept him clean. I thought our protection was very, very good, tonight. There were a number of blitzes that came up in the game. Not only our line, but whether it was Evan, Marty or Matt [Forte] picking up blitzes, they were all effective and enabled Josh to step up in the pocket or get outside the pocket and make a play."
On whether he emphasized this as an especially big game
"I didn't. We put it as we were playing on prime time. The big emphasis this week, we played well on prime time. We can't control what happens on Sunday. All we can do is go out and try to beat the Dallas Cowboys. We kept it as simple as that. We didn't get into all the hypotheticals and all the things that go into winning or losing a game. We knew it was important. You have to win in December. It's important, at least in our situation it certainly is. We have a smart team. The only message this week was we have to get ready to go win a game on Monday night."
On Josh's TD run and the hit he took
"It's all running together, it's a good question. We always say to our quarterbacks we want you to get down. But every once in a while a quarterback has got to do what he's got to do. And that's to find a way into the end zone. It was an excellent run."
On whether Jay Cutler remains the starting quarterback
"There's no change in the plan. We'll see where Jay is this week. He'll have to be released by the doctors. When Jay's ready to play, he'll being playing."
On how Jeffery's late second quarter touchdown catch affected the game
"It was a lot different, I think. As I said, we went into the third quarter, drove down, disappointed we didn't score. I think we got three points there. But then our defense made two stops. Those two stops; those were big, making those because it put our offense positioned again to get back on the field, use the clock and move the football. So it worked hand-in-hand."
On what worked well for the defense tonight
"To go into detail, I think I would be better able to answer that question tomorrow. Certainly, we didn't stop the run as much as we would have liked to. I think we were able to get off the field on third down on those two plays early in the second half. I think that was the big thing. I think it gave our defense some confidence and from then on the game was in-hand, other than that last drive."
On Jeffery's TD catch late in the second quarter
"Any catch like that at the end of a half, in a close game where the team you're playing is moving the football effectively and the score is close, you know is big. Especially, because we were coming out the second half with the ball. We got good field position, our defense gave us good field position. I want to say there might have been a penalty on that play as well. There were a couple of penalties that extended it, I can't remember if that was the one. We got ourselves down the field, got ourselves in range. Decided to take a shot with 17 seconds left and the good thing was…I don't know how many players could do it [make that catch], there are a lot of great players in this league. We've got some big guys. Alshon went up and made a play. Josh at least gave him a ball he could play in bounds."
On whether there were any trends on third down tonight
"As I said in the press conference early in the week, we were 2-of-11 last week and were really disappointed because we had the plays but we didn't execute them. So we went to work this week and made a commitment to not just having the right plays up, but executing them. Some of them we were in exactly the right position and play. And other times you saw Josh run around and make a play. I remember on one third down Brandon [Marshall] made a play on a scramble and so forth. We really made a commitment to do that. Very disappointed last week, because special situations really hurt our football team last week. The only thing you can do – you asked the question last week, what you have to do. You have to emphasize, you have to work on it, you have to make it a point of emphasis in practice and that's what we did."
On how the team finds itself tied for first place in the division
"I'm not sure what that position is. I'm not trying to be…I just think we have, and I've said this from the beginning, we have a tremendous locker room of guys. We have a tremendous locker room of guys who truly have a sense of brotherly love and who work together and don't point fingers and don't worry about what's going on outside the building, come to work every day. They're a joy to coach. I've said that from the beginning. Through wins and losses I stand by that and, as I said tonight to them, even after a very difficult and disappointing loss last week we found out a lot more about ourselves. That's what this is all about. To find out what we're all about. I've said it before, we really won't know until the end of the season, but we have an indication of what we're about and what we can be. Tomorrow we'll start on Cleveland. Continue to try to get better as a football team in all phases and put a game plan together that our guys can assimilate and go out and play on Sunday in Cleveland."
On how Josh's play impacts Jay's time-table to return
"It has nothing to do with cautiousness. Taking this very methodically. The doctors understand that. When he's good to go and can have a full week of practice, he'll be our quarterback."
On whether he's received any report on Jay since Saturday
"I have not got any report."
On coming out "Hot" to play
"You know that's the way we approach every day. Believe it or not that's the standard we set for ourselves. That's what you want to do. Every offense in the NFL they go out there wanting to score on a good drive and I don't think we are any different. Some nights it comes to you and you are able to execute. You know there's a standard that we are chasing all the time and to play at it and I think we are getting closer to that."
On being surprised he played so well
"You know, for me I don't know if surprise is the right word. You always wonder how it would be if you operate in the right kind of offense with the right kind of players and so on and so forth. With me, it's just about being in the right situation now with these guys, with this offense and with these coaches. And allowing me to play within the system with the guys that are around me."
On thinking that this could be his last start
"For me, it is week to week and obviously I'm in practice and I see his (Jay Cutler's) progress and monitor that and you know I understand every week if my number is called I have to be ready to go. So that's how it has been and we're ready for him to get back as quickly as possible; hopefully he is healing up and that will happen soon. For right now, I am serving my team, as I said before, as a back-up quarterback and ready to go."
On his rushing touchdown
"Well, we joked about it on the sideline. I had to scramble against the Rams and tried to go head-up with their linebackers and it didn't go too well. So I thought maybe I could go through the air this time. So I was able to get in the end zone. We have had our issues down there the last two weeks and I just wanted to make sure we scored and that is what it was all about."
On the throw to Alshon Jeffery in the endzone
"It's a play that we have talked about all the time and I just know those guys make plays. You know, I trust Alshon and when you're in that situation in the end of the half, you want to put the ball where your guy can catch it, not to put the ball in jeopardy where the ball can be turned over because you still think you have some points there, at least three, so I was just trying to give him a chance to make a play but not really put the ball in jeopardy so you know my part was relatively easy. His catch was unreal."
On making it a hard decision for Trestman to choose a quarterback
"You know, I don't know about that. The team knows who the starting quarterback is and, like I said before, I know my job as the back-up. I want to play efficient football, winning football and keep us in contingent while the starter is not healthy. As long as Jay (Cutler) is healthy and ready to go I don't think that's any question. I just want to do my part in that and so we'll see what happens moving forward. I don't look at it that way."
On being affected by the weather
"To a degree, other than not being able to feel my toes, that's about it for me. Little windy at times, but we did a good job. We went inside (the Payton Center) on Thursday, but on Friday and Saturday we got outside which was a good choice for us and for me because I was flirting with the glove and trying to throw with it and all those things. When we got outside, I was able to throw without a glove and it gave me a lot of confidence and gave us all a lot of confidence in what we can continue to do to execute our offense and for Monday night. We thought it would be more cold and a bit more windy (however, you say it) but I will leave that to you all. We figured it was pretty cold Friday and Saturday, so if we can go through those practices and we feel good about it, we would be okay tonight and it was a good test for us Friday and Saturday."
On not throwing with a glove on his hand
"Both. Whatever would help. That was my main concern. Sometimes your hands get stiff. You catch that ball and the ball is cold. It's hard. It's not tacky when it's warm. Sometimes the glove gives you an edge. It makes you feel the ball better. As I threw with it, it just didn't give me enough of an edge, enough of an advantage. It's different for everyone. Jordan (Palmer), he loves the gloves. He throws it well. But for me, I never could get acclimated to it. I'm glad we spent the time outside. We cycled through a few different gloves trying them. Seeing what would work best. In the end, it was better to go barehanded."
On throwing deep balls before the game
"We typically stretch out, especially with Jay (Cutler), pretty far before the game. That's where I get it from. Jay likes to get farther and farther back. His ball keeps going like this, and mine keeps going like that. That's all that is. It's just something we do with Jay. It gets you ready so you can gauge how far you can throw it if I need to throw it. Is the wind going to be that much of a factor if we throw it downfield."
On not being able to do anything to keep his job
"It's completely reasonable. I'm the backup. Jay's our starter. When Jay is healthy, Jay should be the starting quarterback. That's really it. I don't go out here going, ‘You know what, if I do this now I'll be the starter.' That's not my mindset. I've told you guys that. My mindset is to serve this team as the backup quarterback as best I can and play efficient football and winning football in this situation to keep us in contention. So, whenever he takes back over we're in position to make a playoff run."
On the Bears' chances in the division
"I think we have a pretty good chance. The only thing we can control is to go out each and every game and win."
On playing in a game like tonight
"It's been awhile. It's just the offense continuing to work each and every day. Last week, we didn't get the results we wanted. We came back to practice; guys were focused. We came out in bad weather and made plays."
On the effect of the cold weather
"It was alright. It wasn't that bad to me. Some guys just sucked it up. Pretty much the whole team didn't wear any sleeves."
On being part of the offense that is clicking
"I'm always a part of it. I'm blocking, or blocking for Alshon (Jeffery), or B(Brandon Marshall), or somebody or running a route to free those guys up. Whether I'm doing that or I'm catching a touchdown, either way I'm a part of it. It's a lot of fun. Once you see it go from the practice field to the game field, it's just unbelievable. We have a lot of guys that can make plays. Once those guys have an opportunity, the sky's the limit."
On the offense's ability
"It just shows what we believe in from day one. What we can be on offense and as a team. We're excited about the opportunity tonight on Monday Night Football. We came out and got the job done."
On the ability of Alshon Jeffery
"We all knew what he was capable of doing. I'm just thankful I had the facility and environment to take him and put him a healthy environment to grow and really learn about the physical and mental. He's helping us out. He's not just helping me out. He's helping the special teams, defense, the whole organization. He's just special."
On the efficiency of the offense
"It started with our preparation this week. We embraced the elements. We embrace adversity. Got a little help from Detroit, so we had a little more energy. It's a trickle-down effect. It starts with Phil Emery. Then goes to (Marc) Trestman. Then down to our coaches and players. We're coming together at the right time."
On the weather conditions
"It doesn't matter if you're here one day or 10 years. That orange and blue blood, Bear blood, is contagious. That's what it's about. This is Bear football."
On the play of Josh McCown
"He's amazing. We really appreciate his leadership. What he's been doing for us. This guy is a special person on and off the field."
On what he expected on the play right before the half
"A touchdown. We got a touchdown. We didn't know it was going to be so sweet. I just embraced him. Hold him. ‘You're awesome.' Me and Earl (Bennett) were on the sideline. Earl brought it up that he (Alshon) had the best deep-ball skill of anybody in the game. Maybe even ever. He's just a freak."
On the offense playing well
"That's what we're capable of doing. We believe in ourselves. The coaches put a great plan together. Offensive line, when you can keep the pocket clean like that, give the quarterback a clean throwing motion, the sky's the limit for us and this offense."
On keeping the ball away from his body
"It's just something I practice all the time. Something we're always taught. It's just a natural instinct to keep the ball away from the defender and have strong hands."
On how he developed his strong hands
"It's just God-given. It's natural instinct to grip the ball tight. You always got to practice keeping the ball away from your body. Just holding it up."
On if he thought he'd get the pass before halftime
"Oh yeah. It's the same play we ran against Minnesota. Just throw it up and make a catch."
On the play of Josh McCown
"He's just getting better every single week he gets an opportunity. We love to see him have success like that, and we're going to do whatever it takes for him to continue to throw that ball around and continue to fight to be as balanced as possible."
On the importance of this game after last week's loss
"We needed this. The way our division was looking, we needed to come out here and needed to win, and we just have to carry it over and take this thing one day at a time and one week at a time."
On scoring on eight possessions in a row
"When you practice and envision your offense working the way it's supposed to, we just went out there and executed it. It just [doesn't] get much better than that. I think I saw up on the board that (McCown) had a rating of 140-something, and I think we had 150 yards rushing. We spread it around. Everyone got touches. It was beautiful."
On the touchdown run by McCown
"A run like that by your quarterback? Him jumping into the end zone and getting flipped around a little bit? Him getting up with a smile on his face? It just gets us going, man. If he can go lay it out there like that, then we have to lay it out there like that."
On how to find some consistency
"I don't know, but we'll show up in two days, and we'll practice towards putting it together for next week as well… We know what we have offensively. We know the problems that can cause a defense. And, when you have so many weapons everywhere, you can really open it up, and tonight was just one of those nights where everybody had their assignment down, and we were able to execute. That's what it really comes down to. A lot of our plays for zero yards or negative yards come down to one guy. One guy can make or break a play, and I think tonight it was a collective effort – special teams, offense, and defense – that helped contain the Dallas Cowboys and get out of here with a victory."
On the win
"None of them are ever easy; this is the NFL. We had a lot of close ones, lost a lot of close ones. This one was huge. Monday night. Primetime. It was a shoot-out at first, going back and forth. The second half, we were able to kind of get off the field and give our offense more chances to put points on the board."
On keeping Tony Romo in check
"Well, first of all, there was just a little in the passing game because they had some good runs. They were still gashing us in the runs, and once we had them in certain situations where they had to pass the ball, the coaches were dialing up some good defenses to put us in the right defense to take away and pressure them a little bit – make them force some throws. So, we were able to execute those plays and get them in third and long, and coach put us some good positions to make him feel uncomfortable back there."
On being tied for first
"That just gives us hope, that we can just kind of control what we do to put us back in the race. We're not really worried about anybody else; we've got to kind of win on out, so we can control our own destiny. It feels good to be back in the hunt, but we still have to take care of business each and every week."
On the value of the touchdown catch by Alshon Jeffrey
"The value was that we knew we were getting the ball back at the end of the first half, and we were looking for the quick score. Whether it was three points or a touchdown, it was great momentum going into halftime. Coming back out, we just wanted to keep it going and keep being explosive – keep drives going and keep our defense off the field so they could come back in fresh."
On the catch by Jeffrey
"It was a crazy catch, man. That's two weeks in a row with him making crazy catches like that. He's just a freak of nature. Him and Brandon Marshall and this whole wide receiver tandem is crazy. They work together tremendously. Just to see them exploding like that is great."
Opening Statement on having his No. 89 jersey retired
"You don't play the game or coach the game with this in mind, but it's such a great honor. I'm really honored that the Bears considered doing this and have done it. It's kind of the icing on the cake. It's the final candle – whatever you want to call it. It's been a hell of a run; it really has been. It's been fun and, as I said out there, the greatest fans in the world, I think Chicago has them."
On being able to accept this honor in front of the fans of Chicago
"It means a lot. It's an individual honor. The greatest honor was winning the Super Bowl with my group of players. That was the big honor. This is an individual thing and it's nice that George and Virginia (McCaskey) decided to do this and I think Mr. Halas would approve."
On today's weather
"This is unbearable now. Don't forget now, I'm pretty old, but I've played in cold weather, but this is cold. These guys are warriors to do what they're doing right now. This is cold and the field is starting to get hard right now."
On his future
"I read something a while ago that said, ‘Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift and that's why they call it the present.' I want to stick around in the present for a while and try to figure out what the heck is going on and I got a pretty good grip on it and I like it. Whatever the future brings, I hope that I can accept it. I have no regrets about the past. I shouldn't say that. Like (Frank) Sinatra said, ‘Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention.' I really have a few, but it's been a good run."
On the importance of this to him
"Like I said, it's the fans. When the fans stop coming, the game's over in every sport. I think our athletes ought to understand that and appreciate that more because they are what makes it. They are the meal ticket. They pay the bills. They pay the salaries by showing up, cheering, booing. They have a right to do that. Sometimes we don't understand that, but they've got that right. But, they're pretty supportive in this city, and they've always been."
On being stopped by fans on a daily basis
"Going through airports is pretty interesting. No, it's okay. It's no problem. I think I have an obligation to do those things. You know, I have the restaurants. So, I'm in the restaurants and I do it all the time anyways. So, it's okay. It's not a problem. I think when you don't have time for people, you've got a problem."
On his thoughts on Marc Trestman
"Have you watched the first half? That's a pretty good offense. (Josh McCown) is playing as good as you can imagine. What Marc is doing with this offense is so imaginative and it's so good. It's so talented. He's got great receivers. He's using everybody. He's getting the ball to a bunch of different people. The game of football is special teams, offense and defense. They've got to play a little better on the defensive side now. I know what they're doing on offense is tremendously impressive but you've got to get a couple of stops."
On reconciling any differences with the Bears' organization
"Well, I never had any, really. That was blown out of proportion. There was some hurt, yeah. But I was never mad at anybody. I understood it. I got it. It's nice to have that all swept under the carpet or whatever you want to say, but that's all gone. I have nothing but admiration and respect for what they're trying to do in the front office and the ownership. I saw Virginia tonight. She looks wonderful. It's just great. I go back with her and Ed in the beginning. I was a 22-year-old kid when I came to Chicago. I met Mr. Halas. I was dazzled by that $12,000-a-year contract. Man, I went out and bought a new car, I had it going. I got a $6,000 signing bonus and went out and bought me a '62 Olds Starfire convertible. That was a cat, man. So, it's been a good run. I don't have anything but fond memories. And, it's ironic that these two teams are playing. I spent 30 years of my career with Dallas and Chicago. Coach (Tom) Landry was the other figure in my life. He resurrected my career as a football player and he gave me an opportunity to coach, which is the reason I ended up coming here to coach. A lot of my respect and obligation go to that organization, especially coach Landry. He was my second man besides coach Halas. I have one regret - that Halas didn't live long enough to see the Super Bowl; he would have loved that. But, we used to talk a lot until '82, when he passed – talk about the different players we had and he really got excited. I used to tell him that this player was like this guy, or that player was like that guy from '63, and he really enjoyed that. Again, I want to say one thing. I think great players make great coaches. I had the greatest group of guys in the world. I don't know if that team will ever get the credit it deserves, but it was a pretty dominant team. It was fun to watch them. They had fun playing and we never took it away from them. We could never had done it without Buddy (Ryan). Buddy was the best. Playing that defense, he was innovative. He was way ahead of the game. He knew the difference between ‘come here' and ‘sic ‘em.'"
On his popularity today
"Well, I shave every day. No, I don't know. I have restaurants. I've been fortunate. I can still do some commercials. I'm still on TV. If somebody says, ‘You want to do a hearing aid commercial?' I'd say, ‘Huh? Sure.' I'm still having fun with it. I can tell you honestly that the best thing that happens is when you stop taking yourself so damn seriously. And, I don't take myself serious. Now, my golf game is terrible and that's bothering me."
On whether he misses these press conferences
"It was fun. We had fun. I actually have to admit that we had fun in those days. I think anyone that covered those press conferences in those days – whether they liked me or didn't like me – it was pretty much fun. They could write any kind of article they wanted when they came out of there."
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