Normal Friday. Red-zone work, special teams, special situations, and goal-line and short-yardage. It was a good day on a warm day here. We got a lot of work done outside.
ON CONDITIONS BEING SAME IN CLEVELAND
We anticipate that, but I thought we should definitely be outside today and it was a good day for that. Compared to what we worked in last week, it was a balmy day.
WILL LANCE PLAY NEXT SUNDAY IN PHILLY?
I'd be optimistic, yes. I'd be much more optimistic that that could happen. He got more work today and we'll see how he is the first of the week, but it raises our optimism certainly.
SO HE'S OUT AGAINST BROWNS?
He's been ruled out for Sunday.
ARE BROWNS BETTER THAN RECORD INDICATES?
They are and I'll take you through it. No. 1, offensively they've done exceptionally well the last few weeks. Jason's thrown for about 350 yards the last few weeks. They've rushed for nearly 100 yards in each game. They've made big plays. They're one of the top 10 teams in the league defensively, No. 5 against the run. They're thick up front. They're good tacklers. They play well on the perimeter. They're doing a lot of things well right now on both sides of the ball and as Chud said earlier in the week, they feel like they can play with anybody and that's certainly case when you look at the tape.
WHAT DOES Joe Haden DO WELL?
He covers well in man-to-man coverage. He takes chances, but oftentimes those chances are very successful. He's a physical guy at the line of scrimmage. He's not afraid to get his hands on you and he can make plays certainly. He's one of their difference makers and we're well aware of that.
HOW HAS ALSHON IMPROVED TECHNICALLY IN HIS TECHNIQUES?
I think he's improved. He's understanding the position more. He's been in more situations to allow himself to develop and use his hands and his body. His release is better. He's moved along. Mike Groh has done a great job with him in helping him prepare and get to know the personnel that we're playing against so he can have a good plan against the guys that he's facing, and that's all part of experience and going through the process.
He's been mature since the first day I met him and certainly since the first day we saw him on the practice field. Nothing much has changed on the practice field; his intensity, his work ethic. He's as hard a working player as we have on our team and that's translated into some good football for him individually.
HOW DOES CLEVELAND PLAYING SPOILER ROLE AFFECT BEARS?
We don't have any control over Cleveland and we don't know what their mindset is. We do know we watched them play the last couple weeks and they're playing better. They're an ascending football team that's playing with more confidence on both sides of the ball. That's what we see. We don't see records, we don't see what their intent is. We know that they're guys just like us and coaches just like us and on Sunday they'll be out there ready to compete and we wouldn't expect anything different.
WILL THEIR LACK OF SUCCESS RUNNING BALL AND GOOD PASS ATTACK AFFECT WAY YOU DEFEND RUN?
They've been better the last couple weeks. They rushed for over 100 yards last week to my recollection and almost 100 yards the week before, so they are getting some balance in their running game. Whether their running back starts or not, they have a good back behind him. I can't pronounce his last name and that's no disrespect I just don't want to disrespect his name. He's run at the fullback position, he's run at the tailback position. He's a shifty guy who also can catch the football as well, so he's a well-rounded back.
WHEN YOUR RECEIVERS BLOCK, DOES THAT HELP?
Well I think your perimeter runs certainly are impacted more certainly in the running game. Our guys take a lot of pride in it. They understand that Matt Forte is blocking and protecting for them when they're running routes at times. It's a connected issue that the other 10 guys count, whoever has the football. That's a way of showing that they've bought into the fact that people are doing things for them to get open when we have to throw the football. They're going to counter that with effective play on the perimeter when they're involved in the running game.
DO YOU HAVE PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE OF QBS WHO HAVE COME IN OFF A LAYOFF LIKE THIS? ANYTHING TO BASE YOUR CONFIDENCE THAT JAY WILL PICK UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF?
No, I really haven't. I'm steadfast to what the plan was going forward. And that's the decision that we've made. I've seen quarterbacks come off of layoffs and do very well. I anticipate Jay will.
DO YOU NEED TO GUARD AGAINST HIM BEING JUMPY AND TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH TOO SOON?
I'm not going to get into that kind of hypothetical. You can ask those questions. He's a professional football player and he's worked very hard to get himself ready to play. We expect him to play at a high level and I know he expects the same out of himself.
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT WORKING WITH BERNIE KOSAR AND DID THAT SHAPE THE WAY YOU COACH QUARTERBACKS?
Well, I learned a lot from him. No. 1, I had him in college, so that was the second time I was with him. He was starting to evolve in '85, '86 and '87, he took the team to the playoffs all three years. He had probably the lowest interception ratio — he did as good a job of protecting the football of anybody in the league at that time. And because he did he went to the playoffs each and every year for five years to my recollection. He had great leadership skills. Tremendous leadership skills and courage as a player because he wasn't a gifted athlete. And his intelligence level was very, very high. I was able to learn a lot of football from him, from his perspective. We knew a lot about each other obviously in college, so we were already very close once I got there. But he had picked up a lot over the three years he was in the league and he taught me a lot about the NFL game.
LAST MEMORIES OF THE BROWNS?
The first year I was there with Marty, we went through four quarterbacks and got the opportunity to go to the playoffs. Marty did a tremendous job of coaching teh football team through four different quarterback changes. Bernie got hurt, Gary Danielson got hurt. Mike Pagel got hurt and we brought in Don Stock and he was able to win a game and at least get us into the first round of the playoffs, which was a great coaching job by Marty Schottenheimer. And the second year, new coaches dealt with a lot of adversity, but we were able continue to fight through it and get to the AFC championship game. It was a great group of guys. I really enjoyed Cleveland. I enjoyed working there, coaching there. It was a great experience.
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.