Good afternoon. As most places, big work day in the National Football League today. I think that our guys have clearly moved forward. There was excellent focus and energy and enthusiasm throughout the entire practice today. A big day certainly for special situation football. Third down. We got a lot done. A lot of good video to teach and learn from as we move into this afternoon and tomorrow. And tomorrow, we’ll obviously practice in the morning. And we’ll head out tomorrow afternoon after practice.
DO YOU SIMPLIFY THE PLAYBOOK NOW THAT YOU’RE DOWN TO TWO RECEIVERS?
We’re just going at it as if we’ve got formations. We’re not going to try to get overly complicated in terms of trying to make it hard on any of us in terms of who’s going to be in there. Obviously, we’re still waiting. So we’ve got a game plan in place that we think can acclimate to the guys that we’ve got practicing right now. And certainly if they can do it, the guys who are not will be able to handle it as well. We’ve got a practice. We’ve got to work. We’ve got to get timing and we have to practice the plays that we’re going to have for the game. And that’s what we’ve done for the last two days.
BRANDON MARSHALL UPDATE
Yes. Brandon will work tomorrow. We’ll see where he’s at. We’ve got Saturday the entire day out there. We’ll see where we are. Brandon knows the plays but certainly we want to be safe out there and we want to be healthy as well.
WHAT IF HE GETS HURT TRYING TO COME BACK TO SOON?
But it’s a hypothetical I mean it is what it is. And the bottom line is that I just said that. With all due respect, I just said that. We’re not going to put a player on the field who is in a position from the trainers and doctors (standpoint) that they would ever hurt themselves more than they already are. And that would be the case for any player.
CUTLER BEING A LEADER AFTER POOR PERFORMANCE
He’s doing it daily. The last two days he’s done an outstanding job just working through the practices with the guys that we are practicing with. He’s been a coach out there, a mentor out there. He has stayed calm and relaxed throughout. Just working with the guys and practicing. We try to make it as game-like as we can every day. And he’s done that. And he’s got to continue to do that through the week and on the weekend.
THE PRESSURE ON HIM TO DO MORE WITH GROUP IS PRETTY BIG, NO?
I don’t look at it that way. I think that with any player, what we ask of every player is just to do their job within the framework of the job description that they have on that particular play. Try to keep it as simple as that. And work accordingly with the things that he can help them with outside of the play, out of the realm of the play. Between series, between periods in practice and things like that to continue to educate and get to know them the best they can.
IS ALSHON FAR ENOUGH ALONG THAT HE COULD TRY TO PRACTICE TOMORROW?
I can't answer that and again, I've tried to be consistent with the fact that I'm not the doctor or the trainer. He did not practice today at all. Whether he will at all tomorrow in any or limited fashion I don't know at this time and I’ll let you know.
HOW MUCH DOES OFFENSE CHANGE WITHOUT Marshall AND JEFFERY?
We've got the same plays up that we normally run, basically, and the ones that we can best run with the people that are available, but the game plan's set up to do that to the best of our ability.
Well, I think that we had a good look at him up in Canada, Pat, had a chance to work with him certainly, and we feel very fortunate to have him, that we were able to have him, that Miami had released him and we were able to get him. He's a very quiet guy, very bright, has picked up the offense very quickly, the assignments, the communication and does have the athletic ability to be very versatile, That's what we saw up there and that's what we're seeing here.
DOES IT HELP HIM PLAYING BETWEEN BUSHROD AND DE LA PUENTE?
Absolutely. I think you answered the question. Certainly he's got great experience around him. He did the same thing last week he played well and we anticipate that he's going to continue moving forward.
I mean you take the personnel-wise, they still have excellent personnel. Vic Fangio's done a tremendous job there. They have a very, very good scheme. They are a multiple defense. They're an Okie defense (5-2), but they also play four down. Their coverages, they're not a big man-to-man team but you will see it in nickel and third-down situations, and they also do a great job of disguising and keeping everything in front of them. They're really very sound on the back end. They're structurally, they do a lot of different things with their underneath coverage to complicate their zone coverage and make it very difficult to attack. They're as good as anybody that we'll face in terms of a structure that on its face doesn't appear to be complicated and is extremely well coached down to the last detail and their guys play it very well, keep it in front of them. You think you're getting into something at the snap of the football and it becomes something completely different as players move through zones and into different areas of the field.
DID EVERYONE ELSE MISS ON OLA OR IS KROMER JUST THAT GOOD?
That’s one thing that we do see, I think it does start with our coaches, part of that certainly, I think that Aaron has come in here with a history of being able to develop players. Brian was cut three or four times on the practice squad before he wound up in Aaron's hands, and Pat and Aaron, I've known Pat long enough to know that he's just an outstanding offensive line coach and because of Pat's ability we were able to move Aaron into a little bit of a larger role this year, so the two of them together have been a great team in developing the guys that we have, certainly Jordan and Kyle last year and Michael this year, plus at the end of the day, it still was a personnel decision to bring Michael in here and Phil and our personnel guys did a great job of evaluating Michael and with the input certainly of Pat but to bring him in here and allow us to get him back and work with him has been awesome.
HOW MUCH PRACTICE DOES A PLAYER NEED TO PLAY?
I think that’s a great question. I’ve always done it on a player-to-player basis. Every situation is different. The position that they’re playing, the experience at the position, the experience with the players around him, I think that all goes into it. As it relates to the guys that we have, I think we just wait and see and make those decisions on a player-to-player basis.
DO YOU FACTOR IN IF A GUY WANTS TO PLAY BADLY?
I think every player wants to play badly.
BUT SOME PLAYERS LOBBY MORE THAN OTHERS
I think that every player wants to – if they feel like they can play, they’re going to tell you that they can play. We have to rely on the trainers and the doctors to know what’s best for them. That’s who I rely on, I rely on the doctors and the trainers to tell me that it’s safe for a player to go out there and play without reinjuring himself or hurting himself.
Right now, we’ll stay with Senorise. We worked today with Santonio as well back there, and Chris took some as well. Right now, we’re working principally with Senorise.
RAY RICE SAGA
I don’t know anything about that. I can’t stand up here, sit up here and talk about that. I do believe that the league is and Mr. Goodell is a man of integrity, and that I’ve seen out of our league, is that they’re always going to work out of the best interest of what’s best for the league and those people involved. I really stand by that. On the other side of it, I answered that yesterday. This is ongoing, and it has been ongoing with our football team – the messaging of respect, and holding everybody in high regard and being respectful to women, not only with our words, but with our actions, and that’s something that we talk about over a long course of time, not something that we’ve just begun to talk about here. As I said yesterday, we’re not perfect, but we do try to message at times and places to make sure that it’s not just a one time, and then we don’t talk about those things anymore. Those are important messages that have to be brought up periodically. You have different people moving in and out of the organization and people are at different moments and times in their lives where things are going on, so we try to do the best that we can in that area.
Santonio will be back there, that’s the way that we’ll start.
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.