“Just a couple of thoughts. I thought the guys handled the off day very well. Everybody got back here safely and they came out ready to practice today for the most part. We had for the most part pretty good execution throughout. We had a good special teams period to start. Keep the ball off the ground most of the day. There were a few pre-snap penalties, two or three, that we certainly don’t want to see. We certainly made note of that. We’ll look at the tape and we’ll see how the day went. Probably not as good as I thought it was today, but it was a good day and we’ll make the corrections and move on tomorrow.”
KYLE LONG’S NEXT FEW DAYS
“We’re just going to continue to condition him. He’s got to get his legs back underneath him. I think by Saturday night you’ll see him in pads. We’ll work him into individual in pads on Saturday night. That would be the hope and we’ll take it from. If we feel he’s got his feet underneath him and his pads are where they should be, we’ll see where Saturday night goes, and with Sunday off, we’ll be ready to go. That would be the plan, but we’re going to take one day at a time. We always do here. But to be forthright with you, that’s what we hope and we think we can get that done.”
TOUGHEST THING FOR HIM
“He hasn’t put pads on for quite some time and hasn’t played football for quite some time either even through the OTAs and now the time away of the first five days of practices. We’ve been here six or seven days of learning and doing those kinds of things and he’s been away some of that time. I think that all goes into the mix and we’re going to do the right thing. We’ll do what the trainers and doctors tell us to do and he’ll be in meetings and he’ll get back on his feet and we’ll get him going.”
HAS HE BEEN ABLE TO WORK OUT WHILE BEING SIDELINED
“He’s done minimal things and he’ll continue to accelerate that as we move through the week.”
ANY CONCERNS WITH SECOND YEAR PLAYER
“I don’t have any concerns about that. I think that’s just the way it is right now. He had a virus. He’s been cleared by doctors and that’s a great thing. That’s the most important thing. We’ll work him back in and he’ll be back ready to go certainly as soon as we get him out there.”
“I said it yesterday … Every player needs to practice. It doesn’t matter what year, how long they’ve played, whether they’ve been an All-Pro or otherwise. Players need to practice. This is a game you have to practice. That’s why we spend so many days between each game because you’ve got to practice to get it right. So he’s missed out, no doubt about it, and we’ll try to accelerate the process as soon as he gets back in there.”
Michael Irvin WORKING WITH WRs
“I was just getting ready to go take a picture with my iPhone and I missed out. That’s a nice picture. That man was a heck of a player and knows a lot of football. So I’m glad they had a chance to spend some time together.”
SUTTON AND FERGUSON WORKING AFTER PRACTICE
“I think that’s a personal thing, a thing that they’re doing but they’re also doing it with the encouragement of their coaches. What it takes to be a pro, and one of the things you see, or you don’t get to see it, but we start practice at 8:30 and most of the team is out here at about five after eight. Guys are getting catches, working with their hands, working on their footwork. They’re spending as much time out here that as they can because, as we’ve said, with the new CBA, this time is precious. There’s only so much time we have to learn and get ready for the season. our guys are really trying to make the most of it. I think that’s what it says, we’re trying to make the most of each and every day.”
ANY BACKUP WIDE RECEIVERS STAND OUT?
“I don’t think I want to talk up one guy individually. I know everybody has got their own opinions. I think that we’ve got guys that are competing, that have shown flashes. We’ve got to get consistent play out of them; they’re learning the offense. We have smart football players that have the ability to, and that’s the most important thing from our standpoint. The guys here are working at it and they have flashed. They’ve got to continue to work. I think these preseason games will tell a lot as well.”
“I think every guy has got to concentrate on making the team at their position on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. The value comes in with special teams. With a guy like Chris who has kind of been pinpointed as a returner principally, he’s still competing to be a receiver. Look at the value we get if he can make this team, not only as a legitimate receiver but also a guy that can return for us. That would add a lot of value to our football team.
DANNY MCCRAY IN STARTING LINEUP
“We wanted to take a look at him. He’s been practicing well. We’ve said all along the safety position is wide open and we wanted to take a look at him with the first group today. We talked a lot about it yesterday. Like I said, like we’ve all said, I don’t think you should take any one day and start making decisions on who is playing that position, other than certainly the guys that we all know. But the safety position is wide open and Danny has worked to an extent that he gets a chance to get some work there so that’s what we did today.”
WHAT’S IMPRESSIVE ABOUT MCCRAY?
“Number 1, he’s been in the right place in terms of covering and terms of the run game. His effort level has been very high. He’s a highly intelligent football player. He’s played consistently and continued to ascend over the last few days and we wanted to get a look at him with the ones. That’s what we did today and we’ll see what the tape shows.”
WHERE DO SECOND-YEAR LINEMEN IMPROVE IN THEIR SECOND YEAR?
That’s a tough one. I think you’ve got to base it all on the individual.
WHAT ABOUT KYLE, THEN?
I think with Kyle, he’s unique. i think we all heard last year. it started off slow and then it just exponentially grew. He got better at a much faster rate, both him and Jordan. Kyle is unusual from that standpoint, how quickly he learned the game to be able to play this game from Day One. I think that helps, the fact that he was out, I think we can get him back into it. But I think every player’s different.
WHEN YOU SAY LEARN THE GAME, SPECIFICALLY WITH KYLE … TECHNIQUE STANDPOINT, SCHEMATIC STANDPOINT … IS THERE ANY ONE OF THOSE TWO THAT STANDS OUT?
As you see from Garza to Kyle, you watch out here in practice. It’s first step, it’s hand-placement. It’s eyes. It’s every day. It’s over and over again, the repetition and every player needs that, from the Garzas to the Kyle Longs. We’ve got to get him out here and get him working again.
IS BROCK VEREEN GOING THROUGH A TYPICAL ROOKIE INTRODUCTION TO THE NFL?
Yeah, I don’t know what that would be and I’m not trying to insinuate anything. I don’t know what that would be. I look at these players. I look at the collective process over the time that we’re with him. I think Brock has really been sharp with his assignments. I don’t think you can read into moving Brock down and Danny up today. We just wanted to see how Brock handles the situation. How does he handle it, moving him around? And how does Danny handle moving up? It all goes into the gathering of information to make decisions at the end. Brock is a very mature guy. he’s a very bright guy. He’s done very well at that position. He’s been there a long time. It says something about our feelings toward him. I don’t think you can look too far into why we made the change today. We just want to continue to make the competition a competition at the safety position. And that’s why we went the way we did.
DO YOU STILL GET THE IMPRESSION FOR KYLE THE LEARNING CURVE IS STEEP BECAUSE HE WAS SO RELATIVELY INEXPERIENCED IN COLLEGE?
Those are such tough questions. I don’t know Kyle well enough. I know that … he grew quickly. The more he works with Jordan; the more he works with Garza; communication; all that stuff is part of this growing process for an offensive lineman. I jus think that from a standpoint of learning and doing it, we saw how quickly he’s able to learn and do it and play at a very high level. We’ll see how he does next week when he’s back in the lineup.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth 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.