Chicago Bears HEAD COACH MARC TRESTMAN
It was good to get back to football today. Obviously the way to put something behind is to move on to a new challenge and we have one in the Carolina Panthers and are completely focused on that. We had a very good practice today, got through our regular situation football and we'll move on tomorrow with third down. I'll leave it open to questions.
HOW CAN YOU MEASURE PROGRESS FOR D LINE?
It is game to game. And I think that if we were talking after the 49er game some of the questions would be easier to answer. And then we would talk on the Jets game, which we did an excellent job up front doing a lot of different things. Certainly we had a setback last week. We didn't play as well as we know we're capable of because we put on tape that we can do a lot of those things. It's a week-to-week thing. We go back and nothing's changed since the Buffalo game. We go back and we coach fundamentals. We have individual periods. We spend a lot of time on technique. And we just try to continue to improve fundamentally and technically each and every day.
UNDERSTAND THERE ARE BUMPS IN THE ROAD
You know, again we had two weeks of ascending. We didn't ascend last week. I think we all are accountable to that. It starts with me. We went back to work today. We made a very clear standard today that we're not going to start reaching for things that aren't appropriate right now. The thing we need to reach for is to continue to improve on the things we've been doing the last four weeks -- since April -- and that's working and try to be more consistent with our fundamentals and techniques, be in the right place, being on the edge, setting the edge or being on the edge depending on whether we're running or defending the football. And that's what we worked on today.
WHERE IS OFFENSE AFTER 4 GAMES?
I think it's a difficult question. No. 1 we haven't scored the points that we'd like to score. That's No. 1. We take a lot of pride in that and we haven't scored the points over the first four games. If we look at it game by game, we're playing in different environments against different kinds of teams. I think the most important thing is we want to take care of the football and give ourselves a chance each and every week to be in the game in the fourth quarter. This week we didn't. We didn't give ourselves a chance. I think we showed this week that we've got the ability to run the ball. I think we've shown we've got the ability to throw the ball. We just haven't done it consistently in my opinion, and consistently finish drives to where we want. Although, we've gotten down in the red zone. If you look at stats you'd say we're doing pretty good if you look at stats. But the only one that mattered is the W and scoring enough points to win and that's where we have to get better.
INJURIES IMPACT ON OFFENSE?
I don't think about that. I don't look at the injuries as being an excuse for us not to be able to move the ball and complete passes and run the football and score when we get down there. I think we've shown signs that we are certainly capable of being a very good offense. I think that's out there. We also see what the two very difficult teams we played in the middle, running the football and moving the football isn't easy. I think that's been generally proven over the four games when you watch those defenses play. But at the end of the day it comes down to whoever the 11 guys out there are we expect them to do the job. We've shown signs both running and throwing the ball of being able to do it very effectively. But we haven't finished enough drives to be able to score enough points in the games that we haven't been able to win.
HOW HAVE INJURIES FORCED YOU TO ADJUST?
I don’t think about it. I don’t look at the injuries as being an excuse for us not to be able to move the ball and complete passes and run the football and score when we get down there. I think we’ve shown signs that we’re certainly capable of being a very good offense. I think that’s out there. We also see what the two very difficult teams we’ve played in the middle, running the football and moving the football isn’t easy. I think that’s been generally proven over the four games when you watch those defenses play. But at the end of the day it comes down to, whoever the 11 guys that are out there, we expect them to do the job. We’ve shown signs, both running and throwing the ball, of being able to do it very effectively. We haven’t finished enough drives to be able to score enough points to win games that we haven’t been able to win.
JARED ALLEN CONDITIONING
He was limited today. He got some work done. We’ll pick it up tomorrow and through Friday and we’ll see how he feels going into the weekend. He’s played this game a long time. He’ll do whatever he can to get himself ready to play. I know he wants to play but we’ll see where he is after practice on Friday.
SLAUSON AND GARZA
It’s really up to our trainers and doctors. They both got out there today. They were in pads and they both got some limited work. It’ll be day to day and we’ll see where they are at the end of the week. I’ve got nothing more I can add to that. We want to get them back as soon as we can but we want them to be in a position where they’re not going to hurt themselves anymore and they’re in a position to help our team win. It’s good to see them out there. It’s good to see them in pads. They certainly want to get out there as quickly as they can and we’ll see where they are tomorrow.
IS GARZA THE STARTER?
Yeah, Roberto is going to go back and be our starting center. Brian will continue to help our football team in any way he can. That’s the direction we’re going. There hasn’t been any other thought to the process than that. Brian has played very well and we’re lucky to have him. He’ll certainly be an influence on our offensive line as we move through the season. He’s done a great job for us.
Same with Matt [Slauson].
McMANIS HELP IN NICKEL?
I think he can. When we get him back he’s going to help us in some fashion, whether it’s to play the corner position and move Tim back inside. We’re hopeful he can do that as well. Obviously we want to get him back from a special-teams aspect as well. He’s been extremely valuable in that regard.
RUN GAME FINALLY WORKED
Yeah. Like I’ve said. I think we saw a good start to the running game against Buffalo. It wasn’t our best but it was a good start. We saw that we could both run and throw it. We’ve said it to exhaustion. And with no disrespect but we played two significantly very, very talented and difficult fronts in two weeks. And we worked very hard to win. We worked very hard to win those games. And they were team wins. It was a collection of our defense turning the ball over at SF, field position, a couple of drives. You saw what happened to Philadelphia going into SF. A very difficult team. You see the type of team the Jets have. They take a lot of chances. And when they do, you’ve got a chance to get to them. But it’s very difficult to run the ball against them. It was survival in a lot of ways. And you do what you have to do to run the football. But they were both team wins. They were turnovers by our defense, offense taking care of the football, playing as disciplined as we could. Team wins. And last week, we turned the ball over twice. We didn’t get any turnovers. We couldn’t get to the passer. And we couldn’t finish drives. Again, it was a team loss in every way. And that’s what we have to continue to do. We have to continue to be, in a sense, as consistent as we were in the games that appear the most difficult. Which was the Jets and the 49ers. Going on the road in prime time and working to win a game. We’ve got to be more consistent. We have to win at home, in our house. And we have to go on the road in the next one-game season and beat a team that’s had adversity over the last couple of weeks just like we had this week. And that’s the making for a heck of a football game.
BRANDON SEEMS OK. FULL PARTICIPATION?
That’s the first time in a while. You saw them both out there working in individual and they were both at full speed. They both got through practice. Brandon got through practice, did everything. That’s a good sign. We need to get back to where everybody needs … Professional football players need to practice. And some need to go limited at times because they just need to do that. And we do some of that. But it was good to have him back at full speed today.
LUKE KUECHLY? DIFFERENCE MAKER?
He is. And with Davis back, they’ll be exceptional at the linebacker position. Two really good players. Kuechly can do everything there. They play Cover 2. He’s a classic Cover 2 linebacker. He can run down the middle, he plays faster than his speed. And he’s fast but he plays faster. So he sorts things out very quickly. He runs the show back there. He’s pointing to everybody, getting everybody organized. Really good player. Then you put Thomas Davis on his hip, he comes back and he’s a difference-making linebacker. Classic WILL linebacker, Cover 2 WILL linebacker with great burst, suddenness. Physical. Can play a couple different zones in Cover 2, which you’ve got to be able to play in a Tampa 2 scheme. Very similar defense to what we play. And two very good players. And Luke’s in his second year. Second or third year. Very, very good player. Highly talented and very smart player.
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.