CAMP COMPETITIONS CULMINATE THURSDAY
I think that if you look at us defensively, the competition we wanted to create was d-line, linebacker, safety and at the nickel. I think for the most part we still have competition going on for those positions, even in the last game, for places on our roster. You look at the returning issue, there’s going to be competition there as well that’s going to lead into this game as well. If Chris [Williams] can play — and he worked today, we’ll see what happens Thursday night. But he did work to play, and we’ll get a chance to see, like I said. Santonio [Holmes] may return one as well, along with Michael [Spurlock]. So there’s definitely competition there that’s taken us all the way through camp and really won’t be decided until after the game and over the weekend as we work numbers to try to put the best 53 together.
And then offensively we still feel like there’s competition out there at the running back position, possibly at the tight end position still at this point time — we’re still looking at that — and who our five or six receivers are going to be. There’s still opportunities there, even in the end. So we’ll look at all those aspects and see where it goes.
So I don’t know if I answered your question. I can just say that there’s still opportunity out there; there’s certainly opportunity for every guy playing to play in the national football league, and I think that’s a big part of what Thursday night is all about. It’s not only for our team but for their opportunity to go elsewhere. Because we know we can’t take everybody with us next week.
HOW BIG OF A GAME FOR SENORISE PERRY?
I hate to say how big, but it’s certainly going to be an opportunity for him. He’s flashed for us. He’s had a couple of good games in the reps that he’s had, both in the kicking game and running the football. He’s going to get that chance again, to run the football on Thursday night, as we see it right now.
FANS ARE ON THE LEDGE AFTER LAST WEEK
We know our fans love our football team. When we don’t do well at any time, they take it hard. Certainly the way we played collectively as 80-plus players last week, and certainly with our first groups, in all three phases, it was unacceptable. And we have to accept accountability for that. I can tell you that they came back to work. The areas that we looked at that we failed in, we think we can fix. We certainly can prevent pre-snap penalties. We certainly can prevent late hits. We certainly believe we can contain the quarterback and keep him in the pocket and prevent him from extending plays. The tape showed us that. And we’ve got other work to do on the offensive side of the ball. We didn’t continue drives. We didn’t finish drives. Although we matched up well against them. and our cover teams, just the specifics and the techniques of being in the right place and not stacking up to where we’re going to give the wide side of the field away, those are correctable issues. We’ve got to show that we’ve made those corrections as we move forward into the first part of this season. I think that will be the tale as we move into the early weeks of the season: did we see improvement and do we see the corrections being made?
I haven't watched him enough to know. I didn't grade him coming out, so I really don't have an opinion about him. I've caught glimpses of his athleticism, he won a lot of games in college against some really good talent, but to specifically talk about him, I haven't really spent a lot of time watching him play and I haven't watch him play in the preseason.
I don't pay much attention to the attention, with what goes on outside. I pay attention to what goes on on the field when it's appropriate, so I don't have an opinion so to speak on why there's so much attention, and what's going on out there, which would take the focus off the team which is the most important thing.
HAVE YOU SEEN ENOUGH OF CHRIS CONTE TO PROPERLY EVALUATE HIM?
Yeah, that's not easy, we're going to have to make some decisions over the weekend again, and they're not all based on just the facts, there's some feel to some of these things, there's value to some of these things, how the team is going to be put together. Those types of things are tough, we've had guys who have competed so long to make our football team.
JORDAN LYNCH’S ROLE ON THURSDAY
I expect you'll see quite a bit of him, I'm sure he'll have an opportunity to carry the football, to do a little bit of what he did a couple of games ago when he got a couple of reps and did very well running the football. So it'll be a good opportunity for him to get out there and show what he's learned and how he's improved over the last month of playing a completely new position. That'll involve pass protection as well, you know this is a team that brings the blitz, so he'll have an opportunity to get in the pass protection as well, and catch some balls outside the pocket and stuff like that. I'm excited for him and his opportunity.
HAS LYNCH IMPROVED ON SPECIAL TEAMS?
It's a tough, for him to make the transition. I think he has made improvements, he works at everything, he works at it hard. He'll get an opportunity Thursday night, I think under the lights and the fire will be a good opportunity to show what he can do.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT DAVID FALES?
Extremely bright. Understands the system in terms of our verbiage, how we get out of the huddle and get plays called, get out of plays, he's got very, physically, he's got very good feet, he's accurate, and he's not afraid to throw the football around and try to make plays. He's gotten a lot of work scout-team wise and individual-wise, I'm excited to see what he can do. As I said, when we looked at him we saw that he's a very accurate passer, which is something that is hard to coach into a player, is to be accurate. He showed the ability to do that, and to move around, he's got some mobility, so I think he's just in his developmental stage, it's going to be fun to see what he can do.
KEYS TO HIS DEVELOPMENT
I think a lot of it is watching and learning. No. 2 is he'll get reps in practice against our No. 1 defense in terms of running cards, doing those types of things. He'll face some good action running plays against some good players, very good players, so that's part of it as well. And just paying attention and using his free time wisely. We've got a library of tape in here of every quarterback in the National Football League, and I would expect he'll spend time studying everybody, including us. Try and continue to refine and grow and understand the game.
DOES THIS BODE WELL FOR FALES IN TERMS OF PUTTING 4 QUARTERS OF TAPE OUT THERE FOR OTHER TEAMS TO SEE TOO
I can't speak for that. I think the right thing for us to do with him is to let him play and to see what he can do and use this opportunity for him to grow as a player and not get caught up in all the things that might happen as a result of playing in three or four quarters.
WITH IT BEING PRESEASON HOW MUCH HAVE YOU LOOKED AT TEAM TO SEE HOW THEY'VE REACTED TO THE LOSS TO Seattle
I've looked at it. We don't miss much. We're observing everything. I think that what you see is a team that came back, they had time to think about what happened. We got into meetings. We took a very practical approach to it in terms of understanding that we didn't do the things necessary to win in the first 30 minutes that we played the game. We weren't disciplined enough. We didn't complete drives. We turned the ball over. We didn't win the contested throwing battle overall. We did compete and we did play hard. I think that's the good part about it is we went out west and we were able to have very good energy at the start of the game but it didn't result in the type of productivity that we would want to see in any phase of our football which was something that was disappointing.
HOW MUCH DOES THIS GAME REALLY IMPACT THE 53-MAN ROSTER?
I think last year is a hundred years ago. I really do have amnesia. I don't think there's ever such thing as a meaningless game. And just referring back to Rich's question, there's guys that we're going to evaluate off of this game that really have a chance to make our team. And it's more than one in my opinion. There's a good number that are going to be evaluated and have an opportunity to impact our 53. So if it's one of them, every guy has got to go out there and play hard and as I said it really is an opportunity to put on tape not only for us but for the league their abilities and their potential. That's how I see it.
DOES JORDAN MILLS NEED TO PLAY?
That's a good question. He did practice today. I haven't talked to the trainers about it. We haven't really made any decision, those types of decisions yet. And we're still working on who is going to play and who is not. But he did practice today which was a good thing.
WOULD IT GET PRETTY OLD TO BE ASKED ABOUT ONE GUY ALL THE TIME LIKE THEY'RE ASKING ABOUT JOHNNY MANZIEL IN CLEVELAND
Like I said, I can't speak for that. It doesn't happen here. I can't put myself into Mike's shoes and answer those questions for him. And I'm not going to stand on a podium for 31 other coaches and tell you how we'd feel if we were in that situation. That's the best content I can give you on this one because I don't see any reason to have to comment on another team or a player on another team. I think it would be a question I'd be more than happy to answer if we had that issue here but we don't.
HOW DO INJURIES AFFECT DECISIONS TO ACHIEVE THE 53-MAN ROSTER, LIKE WITH MILLS AND HIS FOOT
Those are all hypotheticals. Those are things that we're going to have to consider over the weekend when those situations come up. But if they do, then we've got to make those decisions based on doctors, trainers, the types of rules that are involved in putting the 53-man together. I can't comment on that. I would say that some of those issues are going to come up and if they do we'll address them on a player by player basis. That's the best we can do right now on a Tuesday before a Thursday night preseason game.
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.