BRANDON AND ALSHON
Right now, they’re day to day. They’re in treatment today. They’re day to day. We’ll be optimistic until we learn otherwise.
DOWN TO FOUR WIDE RECEIVERS
Well, that’s what we’re doing. We’re practicing them today. We’re moving personnel groupings around. We can move things around and limit some of the receivers. Other times, we’ll have them out there. But we got through practice. It went today.
AN INEXPERIENCE GROUP AT WR
Well, that’s the obvious there. Certainly, there’s guys there who haven’t played, but they’ve practiced. They know the system. We’ll make sure we’re in a position that allows them do their jobs and we’ll go from there.
STILL ROTATING THE SAFETIES?
We’re going to still stay with that. Chris and Ryan are going to get a brunt of the work, certainly. We rotated Danny in. Danny played well when he was in there. So there will be times that we’ll continue to move them around.
Martellus Bennett’S PERFORMANCE
I think Martellus had a good performance. I know he wants to do better. He thought he could have done better in his run blocking and just overall. But I thought at the end of the day, I thought he played well and he played well enough for us to win.
HOW DO PLAYERS AGE IN THE NFL?
I think it’s all relative to the player. It’s a new day of players and new training mechanisms and nutrition and things like that. When you look a player, everyone has to be evaluated on an individual basis in terms of where he is. The guys who we have playing are the guys who still have the talent level to play.
YOUR PHILOSOPHY ON OFF-FIELD BEHAVIOR, LIKE STAYING OUT LATE
Well, we’re going to go in early. We’ll go in Friday. We’re going to give guys time to walk around and move around and to enjoy dinner together and do the things they do. Then, they’ll be back at the hotel. There will be a natural curfew during that night. It’s only to just have a curfew because guys are going to be in. It’s a Friday on the road. It’s a business trip. Regarding Lance or any of our players, I’ve never seen anything significant. When guys show up to work, they’re here to work. And that goes for Lance and everybody else on our team. I’ve never seen anything lingering in terms guys not being ready to work and ready to practice since the time I’ve been here.
ANY NEWS ON GARZA, SLAUSON?
I don’t. I don’t. They both have ankles and they didn’t practice today. We’ll see where they are tomorrow.
DID YOU NOT GET THE RESULTS OF THEIR MRIs ON MONDAY?
All I know is that they have ankles. That’s all I know.
WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT THE 49ERS?
Everything. If you take all three phases, from their special teams play, they’re very physical on special teams. Osgood is a premier player on that end. Offensively, they’re loaded: Kaepernick, Gore, Boldin, Vernon David, right down the line. They’ve got a talented football team. They play very well together. Kaepernick took care of the football, completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. I mean with Gore with his physical running ability, Vernon Davis is a threat, Crabtree. It goes on and on offensively. And then defensively, they’re very solid with the guys that they’ve got playing whether it’s Brooks or McDonald or Willis or Bethea on the back end. They’re a talented football. They’re a physical football team. They run the ball extremely well. They’re going to try to make it a physical presence certainly and that starts with the run. We’ve got our hands full certainly. Guys are excited about going out there and playing on Sunday night.
ON Jared Allen’S LEADERSHIP
I think that he played, played hard, ran to the ball, got chipped around a little bit – they were doubling him at times – which left opportunities for other guys. You know, overall, he ran to the football. It’s his first time playing in quite some time. He had barely no preseason. He got his feet underneath him. I know that he expects to play even better as we move forward here.
ON GOING INTO SAN FRANCISCO A DAY EARLY – WOULD YOU CONSIDER DOING SAME THING GOING TO EAST COAST?
I think in everyone’s experience, going east to west, that time change is the most difficult, historically, and a lot of teams do that – we’re not the first team to go in a day early on West coast trips to get acclimated to the time change and so forth. It doesn’t affect us as dramatically because we’re really playing at 7:30, 5:30 there, but 7:30 game time. We’re not playing at a 9 or 10 o’clock hour, which a lot of times you can get playing a night game on the West coast. I think our guys, we want to get in there early, get settled in, have the day to work, rest, not have to travel, it’s a little bit longer distance obviously, and guys are planning for that, planning throughout the week to be ready to go on Friday and get out there and get settled in.
PREVIOUS BEARS TEAMS USED CRITICISM AS MOTIVATION – IS THERE A FINE LINE?
You know, Mark, it’s hard for me to answer the question. I look at it like this: No. 1 is every player gets motivated in their own way. You can use the noise as a positive, you can use it as a negative. The best way to get ready is to prepare for the football team that you’re playing out of respect for the team you’re playing. You want to get an edge, turn on the tape and look at the 49ers, and as a professional you’re going to get yourself ready to play. Whatever else goes into motivating a player is up to that player. He’s a professional, he knows what he has to do to get ready. And that’s really, to me, it’s on an individual basis. Once the games start, all that motivation, now you’re playing football. You got to focus in all of that energy of whatever that noise was, or whatever that aspect does that gets you motivated for that moment, now you got to start playing football, you got to know where to line up, what to do, where to go, and you got to do it emotionally and physically. Whatever it takes for a player to get that done to be prepared, that’s part of the reason why they got here.
BUT THE US-AGAINST-THE-WORLD MENTALITY IS NOT YOUR THING, RIGHT?
I don’t know, I don’t think of things that way, Mark. We have a game to get ready for, and I just think that as soon as you start working in those ways, it works for some it doesn’t work for others, and I’ll just leave it at that.
ARE FOOTBALL PLAYERS ROLE MODELS?
I think as Chicago Bears we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard as we work not only in this building but outside of this building because we represent our city, we represent our fans. And I think that we have to take that into consideration in terms of what our behavior is. I think the question is a good one. I think more as I sit here, what is our behavior inside and outside of this building, does it properly represent our city? And I think as we ask ourselves that question, we use common sense that carries us through the day, in and out of the building.
WHAT GOES INTO PREPARING FOR KAEPERNICK, MAYBE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER MOBILE QBs?
No. 1, he is one of those other mobile QBs. He’s an extremely explosive player, as explosive as they get in this league, because he can not only throw well in the pocket – he can throw outside the pocket. And then it comes down to obviously keeping him in the pocket, making him throw from the pocket. That’s always the best way when a guy can run like that, and that’s not news to anybody – we got to keep mobile QBs in the pocket. And then the second thing is we got to do a great job of doing our job on the read zone, it’s really just that simple. When it comes up, everybody has to do their job no matter what that job is. Whether it’s stopping the run or having the quarterback or whoever it might be, we just have to lock into the proper fits and doing exactly what our assignment is during that time, and that’s the most difficult part of it is staying disciplined regardless of what your role is. Because sometimes it doesn’t look like it’s the best thing when you just look at that individual person, but they’re doing what they have to do stop the play.
ANYTHING FROM A COACHING STANDPOINT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE SURE JAY DOESN’T GIFT ANOTHER PICK TO A NOSE TACKLE?
(laughs) Jay has to make good decisions. He knows that. He’s got to take care of the football. He’s got to take a deep breath when those moments come and we think and hope we can alleviate those things. Quarterbacks are going to make mistakes. They all do in this league. They all do. When they do it at the wrong time, everyone is going to point it out so each and every day we try to work to make sure those decisions are not made because they really do take away from all the good ones that are being made and they should be noted and we just have to continue to do a better job about.
WHAT WAS YOUR MESSAGE TO JAY ABOUT DISCONTINUING HIS TENDENCY TO FIRE PICKS?
Well, he is a big boy and he has been in the league a long time so I didn’t have to send him that message he was very clear, ‘I gotta take care of the football and I gotta throw the ball away. In those moments I don’t have to do everything possible. I can live for the next play and move on.’ That is the lesson learned and I believe we will see better decisions in those moments as we move down the road.
We talk about it. We talk about the team being accountable to itself in everything that it does on and off the field and in and out of the building. That is just a sense of being accountable from not only knowing your assignment and being prepared but the things that we do to make sure our environment is a good one and a healthy one and we want to have a healthy organization and environment, not only physically healthy but emotionally and mentally healthy as well and the team is responsible for that and that is the direction you want to go instead of having a bunch of dos and don’ts and lists of things we can and cannot do it is about just acting in a proper fashion, in a professional fashion in the building and outside the building.
HAVE YOU TALKED WITH THE TEAM ABOUT Ray Rice, JANAY AND AN ATLANTIC CITY CASINO ELEVATOR?
The relevance is that when we started here we talked about behavior – behavior inside of the building and outside the building and how to treat people and how to treat women. There has always been an ongoing discussion here on making sure that we do the right thing. Are we perfect? No. Nobody is perfect in it. But that has always been an ongoing discussion here, messaging of proper behavior. We’re not perfect at it but it is a message that is ongoing.
IF ONE OF YOUR PLAYERS MAKES SOME DECISION WITH TRAINING OR SOMETHING AND YOU DON’T THINK IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THEIR PERFORMANCE, HOW DO YOU ADDRESS IT?
I think if you have knowledge of it, you talk about it. We’re not in the business of being able to make everyone exactly the way we want them when we have a locker room of 53 guys plus. And so we try to reference and message making good decisions and when compulsive behavior is evident along the way, and we’ve got a bunch of young guys that are professionals that are trying to do the right thing, that we make god decisions. We do talk about it. As long as the players … there is only so much we can do. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it and try to work to try to help them do the right thing and make good decisions.
TIME ZONE? ANY CHALLENGES TO PLAYING IN A NEW STADIUM NO ONE IS FAMILIAR WITH?
You know I think we go out there and we’re going to get acclimated to the environment there as much as we can. We’re not going to go to the stadium. It’s set up like most stadiums. We are not going in there to walk through or anything like that. I think once the game starts, I am not going to throw out 15 cliches here but it is a fair question. But … no, we’re just going to go out and play the 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.