CHICAGO BEARS HEAD COACH MARC TRESTMAN
How we doing? It’s a new day. I’ll just give you a little content from talking to the team today after looking at the tape. I try to give them some perspective on how we approach things as a staff trying to get our football team better. We were very clear that yesterday’s collective performance was unacceptable, hat that was a game that we were in control of and had a great opportunity. We didn’t get it done. We talked about our record at 2-3 is certainly not where we expected to be or wanted to be. But the perspective is that’s where we are and we’ve got work to do in all three phases. We’ve got to get better and the only way to do that is to get some rest over the next couple days and get ourselves ready to practice on Wednesday and move on, and moving forward to Atlanta is the only thing and the best thing we can do to resolve some of the issues that we have and we can do that starting in practice and with our meetings on Wednesday.
HOW DO YOU ADDRESS SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS?
I think so. I think we bring clarity in our meetings by talking about understanding situational football, fundamentals and techniques, which you have to go back to. You have to go back to that. Understanding the big picture conceptually offensively and then being specific in certain areas. An example would be defensively we’ve shown improvement in our run defense and we did a good job yesterday of keeping Cam in the pocket and making him work from the pocket. We limited the productivity of their best receiver. On the other side of it, we’ve got improvement to make in the red zone and we’ll go back to that. Offensively, we talked a lot about the fundamentals and techniques in our run game today and improving those things. Concept-wise in our passing game we broke down a few times structurally that would have enabled us to make the plays and certainly Jay talked about it yesterday already, just taking care of the football. Those are all the things that go into it that bring a football team together and then getting the most out of special teams. We try to break it down into something that’s a little more specific to football, which will eliminate those phrases as we move forward.
JAY’S FIRST INTERCEPTION
The issue was really very easy there. He had Brandon down the middle. It was a shell coverage. By shell we mean it could be either a two-deep zone or a four-deep coverage and it was a four-deep coverage. Brandon’s job was to go down the middle and Jay’s job was to read the coverage and make the best decision, and his decision would have to work back outside. He tried to get the ball in there, which he’s done many times before into Brandon and Brandon’s made those kind of plays. But just looking it over, coming off of Brandon and moving on would have been the best situation in that regard.
WHO WAS OUTSIDE ON THAT PLAY?
Santonio was inside and Alshon was outside.
WHY HASN’T BRANDON BEEN A BIG PART OF THE OFFENSE?
I think that he’s been targeted certainly. We’re going to go back and do some work on that to make sure we’re doing all the right things in that regard. We targeted him yesterday. He had a lot of calls. They took it away and Jay did the right thing by going other places. We want him obviously to have more productivity. When he touches the ball, good things happen and over the last couple of weeks we haven’t been able to get that done. It’s certainly something that we have to continue to work on to get him back involved where he can get more touches that will result in bigger plays.
HOW HAS MARSHALL HELD UP EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY LAST FEW WEEKS?
For the most part Brandon has done well. We’ve had an open line of communication. We talked this morning about it. We talked last week about it in terms of trying to create that environment and we’re going to continue press on and do that. I kind of looked at it at times as a little bit of a batting slump for a hitter. We don’t get as many opportunities as those hitters get certainly, but we’ve got to do a better job of getting him more swings at the plate and allowing him to take more shots.
DID YOU SEE TIMES YESTERDAY WHEN HE WAS OPEN AND COULD HAVE GOT BALL?
An example might have been early on in the game we had a hook route down in the red zone. I think we eventually scored. Jay took a sack on it or he got back to the line of scrimmage. We just had a minor breakdown where an inside receiver got an edge and he was wide open on an initial hook route. Again it’s the continuity factor of putting it all together and everybody doing their job. That’s a specific instance early in the game. The touchdown play that Jay ran, that was a called target to Brandon. He was the primary play. It was a play similar to one we ran against the Giants last year. They had been a team that has played a lot of cover two. They played a flatter coverage to take him away and they did. They took everybody away and Jay did the right thing by running for the touchdown. So we’re calling those plays. We’ve got to continue to work hard. I take responsibility for that, for trying to find different ways for him to get the football where he can touch it and not just be the target. It’s great that he’s the primary receiver, but we’ve got to make him the primary receiver when has the opportunity to catch the ball, and we’ll work at that. We’ve got some work to do on that, especially based on the last couple weeks.
BRANDON DOESN'T SEEM HAPPY AS LAST YEAR. DOES HE NEED TO BE IN A GOOD STATE OF MIND?
Brandon is not happy because he's not being as productive as we'd like him to be and he's not contributing like he wants to contribute to the offense. So he's not happy about it and neither are we. But at the end of the day he comes to work every day, he prepares, he works hard in practice. And as I said, he shouldn't be happy and we wouldn't want him to be happy, having this kind of productivity. And No. 1 is because we haven't won the last two weeks. That's No. 1. But in terms of him working to try to do the things necessary that he has to try to do on a weekly basis, he's done that, particularly last week, as I said, because he practiced the full week at full speed.
ARE TEAMS TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS THAN LAST YEAR TO STOP YOUR OFFENSE, AND HOW DO YOU COUNTER THAT?
I think No. 1 is after looking at the tape and just reflecting on yesterday because yesterday is what we really want, although there is carry-over from last week in the second half, we looked at it hard. We had good plays. I think the guys feel we had plays we could execute. There was nothing going on defensively that was any different in the first half than it was in the second. In fact, in the second half they really kind of simplified it in terms of there were a few blitzes but they came after us pretty hard and you can see what happened. We were able to get some big plays on some screens and some short throws. We got the ball out of Jay's hand. In the second half there wasn't as much of that. But as we looked at it it was about one breakdown here, an individual breakdown, continuity, not necessarily anything that they were doing defensively.
Now, we're not disrespecting them by saying that but it came down to us executing in all places within the framework of our offense and we didn't get that. We had one breakdown here, one breakdown there. We had an open guy, didn't hit an open guy. We had a 2nd and 1 and we had a pre-snap penalty. It took us to 2nd and 6, we make three yards and instead of having a first down, we don't convert. We stopped ourselves. We did on those occasions, and the turnovers as well. There were two drives obviously that were one-play or two-play drives that were turnovers. But we had opportunities in the second half to move the ball and there were ample opportunities that they were giving us defensively and we didn't get it done.
SCHEMATICALLY HOW DIFFERENT HAVE YOU HAD TO BE KNOWING THEY'VE ALL GOT THE BOOK ON MARC TRESTMAN AFTER A YEAR?
As I said, with all due respect to them, I think that if we can continue to take care of the football, as Jay said yesterday, and continue to just work at the details, we can come out of this thing. We showed signs. We moved the football. We were on a short field yesterday, we got some things done on a short field -- but we didn't manage the long field very well and we've got to do that.
WHY DIDN'T BENNETT BLOCK ON THE LONG SCREEN PLAY?
We talked about it this morning and Marty looked at it and he realizes that he had a chance to wall off Harper. He was working his tail off to try to get up the field and get a block. He was doing everything you'd ask him to do. And he put his hand out there and didn't have a sense that if he just slowed down he could make the play but certainly his effort level was high. And it wasn't the difference. It was one play that kind of stood out because it was such a good play. It started out by Matt kind of breaking that tackle on or near the line of scrimmage. But in terms of effort and trying to do the right thing, that can happen to anyone.
FIRST INTERCEPTION OF JAY, MATT CAVANAUGH DURING THE SUMMER TALKED ABOUT JAY BEING WILLING TO CHECK DOWN AND COME OFF RECEIVERS INSTEAD OF THROWING THE CONTESTED PASS. HOW HAS HE BEEN AT THAT?
Well, he's been tremendous. You've looked at where he is. He completed over 77 percent of his passes yesterday. He's almost at 70 percent. This year his rating is much higher. The thing that he knows that he's got to do and we know that we've got to help him do it and I've got to help him do it is take it one step farther in making the right decisions at the right times to stay out of that mode. And I know he's going to work really hard at it. He has worked tremendously hard to get to this point but we've got to take care of the football and that starts with me.
MODE? TRUST IN BIGGER GUYS?
Absolutely. He's made a lot of plays in those areas. And for the most part he's done that. He's moved the ball around. He's moved the ball around. He has to look at them and say they're that player, they're not that individual and move on. I think he's really hard to do that. I think we're seeing a lot of that. Do we have some distance to go? Yeah, we do. We've got to finish the job. We've got to finish the work that Jay has worked so hard at. And we've seen some of that. I think we can argue we've seen some of that. But we know we haven't seen all of it. And that's the next step we have to take and we're going to work hard to do that. That's what the next game is for.
FULLER BATTLES WITH BENJAMIN
That's something we talked about all week. We matched them up. Benjamin had 11 targets. He had three catches. So I think Kyle made a good effort in the red zone. He knocked a ball out of his hands. It's a real positive out of yesterday that Kyle could match up with a guy that size and really take him out of the game to the degree that he did other than the one red zone play.
WAS THE “BLINDSIDE” HIT ON MARSHALL WORTHY OF A PENALTY?
That’s a good question. You look at the penalties we had and really the ones I can substantiate are three pre-snap penalties and a holding penalty, which was arguable. We had a holding penalty. Other than that, Offensively, we overcame two pre-snap penalties. We didn’t overcome one because we didn’t get the first down. We got the field goal. But Brandon’s play we’ll turn in. And the play on the return and the play on Santonio’s return we have to turn in. We’ve got to ask why, Because we’re really not sure looking at the tape.
PUNT-RETURN TDIt was very disappointing. Regardless of whether we hear a whistle or not, we’ve got to get to the ball. Very disappointing with all the work that Joe puts into that end. We’re really going to have to redefine our rules based on the situation in terms of making sure that we see a signal. If we don’t see a signal, we’re going to have to play to the whistle and respond to whatever comes after that.
FROM YOUR TAPE, DID YOU HEAR A WHISTLE?
I could not tell. I could not tell.
CHRIS CONTE CONCUSSION HISTORY. CONCERNED?
You do have concerns when Chris has a history. Certainly that’s relevant. When we put him back in the game, he had no lingering signs at all. He went through all the sideline protocol and went back out there and then he came back out obviously because he did have some. So we’re hoping for the best. Hopefully he’ll have no lingering effects this week and we’ll hope for the best. We’ll do what the trainers and doctors think is best for him.
DID CONTE PULL HIMSELF OUT OF THE GAME
That I can’t answer. I know that he came out of the game. He was clearly checked out. I asked to make sure that he was cleared convincingly and he went back in. And I can’t remember how long he was in and then he came back out.
DID CONTE BRING HIMSELF OUT?
You know what, I wish I could answer that. I can’t. Probably. I would assume that he did. Because we couldn’t see the symptoms obviously. SO I would say that he did.
HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE TEAM IS HANDLING CONTE’S CONCUSSIONS CORRECTLY?
I believe they are. We have to trust the people that are doing the work to get it done. I certainly can’t make that decision. We want them to play. But we certainly don’t want him to play if there is any lingering or any doubt that there is an issue. So we rely on the people on the sidelines and we know they’re doing the best that they can. We’re not ever encouraging anybody to go back into the game with issues of head injuries of any kind, head trauma of any kind. So I think this is a situation specific to itself that Chris could go in for one play and then come back out.
OFFENSIVELY, DESPITE CONFIDENCE YOU CAN TURN IT AROUND, SEEMS LIKE IT COULD BE A PROBLEM GAME AFTER GAME. DOES THAT DIMINISH CONFIDENCE?
It’s somewhat of a hypothetical but I think we’ve got a lot of confidence in what we can accomplish. We haven’t done what we know we can. It’s our job offensively to move the ball, to not have pre-snap penalties, to not set ourselves back, to do things that are fundamentally sound so that we can continue on drives to move the football. I think we all see signs that we can do that. The bottom line is we haven’t been consistent in doing that. We have to work on being more consistent and to put in four quarters. Because that’ something we haven’t done and we’re shooting to try to get done.
MORE MISCOMMUNICATIONS ON OFFENSE THIS YEAR?
There has not been a lot of miscommunications on offense in terms of one guy thinking that somebody is going to do something else. It hasn’t been that. It might be the depth of a route, the split of a route by a receiver. Something like that. That goes on inherently everywhere, universally everywhere. But nothing dramatic other than let’s keep doing our job of getting better at what we’re doing and moving the football and staying in sequence of being able to run and throw it.
WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM JARED ALLEN?
I thought he was active. We’re still hoping he’ll get his weight back, it was his first time back. He tipped a ball, he ran to the ball, I thought he did a lot of those things. I’m sure he wants to play better, but I thought he got back in the mix and played hard for the 50-something snaps he played in the game.
DO YOU TALK TO YOUR PLAYERS ABOUT WHAT IS SMART/STUPID ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
We talk about it all the time, we talk about it all the time, making sure they take a deep breath, making sure they understand that they’re representing the team. We talk about it in terms of not being responsive to the twitter terrorists, so to speak, that are out there, for lack of a better word. I know I’m going to get quoted on it, but I believe in social media and we don’t try to stop our players – this is a generation of players – and we do, we try to get them to take a deep breath, remind themselves that even though they’re trying to protect their team and their teammates, to do the right thing. And they’re young people, they’re going to make mistakes, and we try to help them with that – we don’t police it – we try and help them with it and keep encouraging them to do the right thing. I think that for the most part they do. We’re not perfect at it, but we do talk about how we handle ourselves in public, that we do have to carry ourselves – I’ve said this before in here – to a higher standard as representing this team and Mrs. McCaskey and this organization. Like I said, we’re not perfect, but it’s a message we don’t just send once the first day of training camp and stop sending the message – it’s something that we try and be mindful of along the way.
DID YOU HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH LAMARR?
Well, I haven’t talked to him yet, no I have not. We talked to our team in general, and I’ve got to talk to my family about it, it’s the same thing. They want to protect their family, and our players want to protect their family. Their heart is in the right place, but again we’ve got to do the right thing, and we’ll work at that.
HOW DO YOU CONDITION PLAYERS TO CREATE A FILTER FROM OUTSIDE NOISE?
That’s part of what – this is the National Football League in a new era where there is more media than ever before, more social media than ever before, and it’s the noise, it’s the noise that goes on outside of this building. And we try to do whatever we can to take a mature approach and continue to be mindful of making sure we pay attention to what’s going on here, and that’s the most important thing – we stay together here.
WHERE DID BENNETT GO ONCE CAROLINA STARTED PLAYING MORE ZONE?
I don’t know if I could answer that specifically, I’d have to think through the whole thing, Dan, I know where you’re going with this. I think the play, the way I can go back to is, I really felt good about the plays we had up. I think we had the right targets and the right concepts up in the second half, prior to the two turnovers. I’m not looking back and saying, ‘were we trying to get the ball here or there?’ I just was thinking about concepts that beat coverages, and what they were doing, and I do feel like we attacked them pretty well. Could we be better? Certainly. We’re always going to look back and say, ‘maybe we could’ve done this,’ but overall, I thought we had good concepts up and again, we just gotta finish. Everybody’s gotta be in play here and we didn’t get that done.
HOW MANY IN-GAME ADJUSTMENTS DO YOU MAKE AS A PLAY CALLER?
It changed early. This was a team, they brought no pressure, they didn’t bring any pressure first or second down. And decided with the score and everything else – the score changed things – but even before that, they started pressuring a little bit more early. So we came out of our first fifteen plays pretty early to try and compensate for some of the pressures we were getting and trying to neutralize some of that and it worked out pretty good. In the second half, it settled down a little bit more – there were some – but it wasn’t, as Dan said, it wasn’t quite to the same extent. So we were calling principles that would attack the coverages that they were showing. But you do, you have to adjust. Usually at the end of the first quarter I say, ‘is this what we prepared for?’ And if it is we’ll just keep going, and if it’s not what we prepared for, then we got to start talking about ways to make adjustments. So I usually do an end of the first quarter kind of assessment on where the game is going, what’s going on, and whether or not we got to come out of some of the things that we’re doing. Most games we have not, we’ve followed through and have had pretty good success early with what we’re doing. We haven’t been able to convert, particularly in the past two weeks, in the second half.
ASSESSMENT OF MISSED FIELD GOAL
Just looking at it, I thought everything was clean. I though Robbie came right out and said it’s one he’s gotta make. And just on the operation side, on the kicking side, I was really pleased with the way Pat punted the football, he had a very good week punting the football, and I thought it manifested itself in 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.