Good afternoon. Our day started here at Halas Hall really the way it ended yesterday afternoon. It was absolutely a very disappointing loss. We talked about that yesterday. Guys came in and we did exactly what we've done the last two or three weeks and for that matter for the entire season. We addressed the game, we accepted accountability individually, collectively in our meeting rooms, talked about every single play with our players, explained to them where we were and what we had to do to get to where we want to go and moved on and set the tone for New England.
WHAT'S YOUR FEEL FOR COHESIVENESS OF TEAM AFTER LOSS?
Oh, I think our team is very much together. We've got a lot of, this is a very close football team. I think what people get caught up in is the emotions that happen after a game. In 20 years of NFL locker rooms what goes on in a locker room after a game a lot of things can go on because people handle winning and losing differently. We allow players to, we're not judgmental about players expressing themselves and we know that they care about this football team and some do it quietly when you lose, some have a smile on their face, others get terribly angry and have to relieve that anger, coming down from a game so we don't make any more out of it than it is. We've got a bunch of guys that I think are really close and like each other.
SPECIFICALLY WHAT ABOUT Marshall’S EXPLOSION AFTER THE GAME?
Yeah, that's a good question. I told our team after the game in the locker room just as I'm telling you is that we have to always be accepting of how people express themselves after a game because they're coming down from a week of working hard and building their emotions and passions for the game. I'm not reading anymore into it than that, and we have to be accepting and non-judgmental and let it pass. That's the way I've handled athletes who get into that state. It's not the first time. It's not the first locker room it's ever happened in. I'm not reading any more into it than that.
CAN YOU CLARIFY?
I think the first part of that is where I'm going. As a team we have to allow our teammates and our coaches to express themselves and we all do it differently, we're all different people and so that's how I approach it with the team and with the coaches that there's coaches who handle these situations differently than others and they all have to have a moment to be able to express themselves and not to be judgmental as that's who they are at that moment. They're being passionate about a game they love.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT PLAYERS CALLING OUT OTHER PLAYERS?
I haven't heard any of that so I don't think that's one that has to be addressed. I don't think that was the case at all yesterday. I didn't hear all of it. I heard a lot about most of it but what I did hear I did not hear any of that.
WHAT WAS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT DID GO ON?
What I understood happened after the game was players expressing themselves in different ways, at their disappointment in the loss. I'll leave it at that, that's really ultimately what happened, and I don't think it's anything more than that. I think in my experience, people get it out of their system, got couple days to get some rest and they're back to work on Wednesday -- and I've heard it in wins as much. I've heard players express themselves dramatically in wins, too, that they were angry that we didn't win the right way or that we weren’t as good as we can be. It goes both ways, I', not reading anymore into it than that.
IS THERE A RIFT WITH CUTLER AND MARSHALL?
I have no sense for that at all. I really don't, as I said last week and the last couple weeks, and I've said it in here, the dialogue that they've had in meetings and on the field and you can check your notes, you know I've said that, I don't see that at all. They've been around each other a long time. I think there's a brotherly love involved in their relationship. That's how I see it.
ARE BRANDON AND JAY AFFORDED MORE LEEWAY BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN TEAMMATES FOR SO LONG?
I don’t know what you mean by leeway.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS UNIQUE COMPARED TO …
Well, I think it is because they’ve been together for so long and they’ve worked together and they’ve been mutually responsible for each other’s success. So I think that certainly is the case.
No, I think Jay said it. He made a high throw. He didn’t see the corner and made a high throw, and the ball wound up being intercepted. I think that Marty wasn’t sure if it wasn’t going to [Santonio Holmes] or not. I really couldn’t tell by the tape whether Marty could have gotten his hands on it or not. But it was certainly a high throw and Jay said that in the meeting.
WHEN JAY THROWS HIGH, WHAT BREAKS DOWN?
I think everything is different. But usually when a player throws high he’s not getting through his left side, so the ball’s being thrown on the upswing as opposed to being thrown level.
WITH THE WAY THE TEAM HAS PERFORMED, IS THIS ANY GREATER OF A CHALLENGE THAN YOU FACED IN THE CFL?
I think we handle things win or lose is essentially the same, and that’s the way I handled things up north as well is that I try to be as honest and direct with the players as I can, firm when I have to be firm, but honest and straightforward with everybody in the room and where we are in the room.
COMPETITION WAS BIG IN CAMP. DOES THAT CARRYOVER DURING SEASON?
It sure does. It’s a process every week. Our players are being evaluated each and every week and if we see any reason to make changes we’ll do that. But it’s a collective process and we talk about it all the time in terms of our we getting the most out of these players and is there a place we need to improve.
WHERE ARR U IN THAT PROCESS NOW
That’s a huge question. I think that the process is ongoing and it’s daily, and that’s how we approach it.
CORRECT TO SAY KYLE FULLER BROKE HIS HAND
I think he said he did that. He went out of the game because of his hip more than his hand, so we’ll just see where … He said he felt good today, but it’ll be day to day. I don’t know that the hand will deter him, I don’t know that, I haven’t talked to Chris about it. But that’s what I understand at this time.
HAD HE NOT SUFFERED HIP INJURY, WOULD HE HAVE CONTINUED PLAYING
That’s kind of an inverted hypothetical. I don’t even know if that’s a word, but it sounds good. It sounded to me that the hand wasn’t the reason that he came back out. It was the hip.
BUT SHEA HAD TO HAVE SURGERY WHEN HE BROKE HIS HAND
They’re all different. Up to this point today, I’ve heard it as being a non-surgical issue.”
DID BEARS GET CAUGHT LOOKING AHEAD VERSUS DOLPHINS?
If you look at the tape, we were 100 percent ready to go from the beginning. That first series was excellent by our defense. We got caught on a third-and-two. Offensively, we had it at midfield. We took a shot and we didn’t convert, and why we didn’t move the football in the first half was that we got caught behind the chains on a couple of resets out to some bubbles that we poorly executed. We’ve just got to get better at that. And then secondly, we didn’t convert on the third downs. We had three third downs and we’ve done very well on third down. We did very well in the second half. But we slowed ourselves up. I already bring up continuity football. We put our defense in a tough position. We had them on the field too long in the first half and that’s how it works. We’ve got to work together.
ARE THE MISCOMMUNICATIONS, THE BAD THROWS AND THE BAD DECISIONS THAT ARE LEADING TO MISTAKES THAT ARE BECOMING COSTLY, ARE THEY ADDING UP OR ARE THEY JUST ACCEPTABLE PART OF MAKING JAY BETTER?
None of this is acceptable, and that’s a loaded question because you said there’s a lot of this. If you want to be specific, I’d be better to answer that question because I just can’t answer that question the way it’s been stated.
THE PLAYS THAT LEAD TO INTERCEPTIONS, JUST PART OF PROCESS OF HIM BECOMING A BETTER QB OR AT SOME POINT DO YOU SAY, WE’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY WITH JAY?
Well I think we’ve got to just continue to work at getting better. That’s what we’re trying to do. We address each and every one and we work to try … We didn’t have these questions a week ago and they’re rightfully to be questions today. We’ve just got to work at eliminating those things and that starts with coaching and myself and our players working together to get it done.
FORTE, TWO CARRIES IN THE FIRST HALF
You know, a couple of reasons. We only ran 18 plays. That would be one. We didn't convert on third down to roll anything over. We had two called runs, we had two runs called with options to throw and we had another two called where we pulled the ball with an option to throw, as well. Eighteen plays. If you don't roll it over you can't get in sync.
We threw it a little bit more early, but that wasn't the plan. The plan was to kind of do it the way we did it in the third quarter. And that's what we went back to doing. We took some of the options off and we handed the football off and we got more of what we would expect of our offense -- a good, solid drive.
IMPRESSION OF ALSHON ON HIS DIVE FOR THE GRASS SHORT OF THE STICKS AFTER SHORT CATCH
I think Alshon, we didn't execute ... Not everybody did the right thing on that play. Alshon went inside instead of outside and he did everything he could to do it. He thought he was going to take a hit so he went down. He wasn't used to being inside like that. So he went down. Normally you'd see him stretch and cut it. We didn't get a rap on the release. We misinterpreted the initial alignment. And that's what happened on that play.
ON THE PLAY THAT FOLLOWED, THE DEEP PASS ON 3rd AND 1?
It really was third and two. It was closer to third-and-two than it was to third-and-one. We had a called individual route on the outside with an option vs. bump and run to throw the ball up the field. That's what we did. We decided to go up the field on the throw. We had a chance. We had one on one and we didn't make the play.
WHY DOES BRANDON GET SO MUCH AIR TIME?
I don't know that. Everybody is entitled to their own interpretation. The team talks. The media talks to everybody. I don't have that perception. I'm not in it and I don't have the visibility or the access to see who's getting talked to and who isn't. I think Brandon is one of the guys that should be talking. I think that he does a real good job doing that. But I don't know that he's the voice. I mean, that's up to interpretation.
POST-GAME LOCKER ROOM
When I get in the locker room I'm just bringing them together. I talk to them for a few minutes. I give them my assessment of the game. And what they always do is each and every player goes around the room and shakes everybody's hand and those guys are guys that do that. Generally everybody does that. They move around the locker room and express their appreciation to guys for the effort they put into that game win or lose.
WAS IT DIFFERENT YESTERDAY?
That's what I see that happening specifically to them. I'm not trying to sidestep the question. I just don't have any other answer than that.
IS OLA GOING TO GET A CHANCE TO START AT RIGHT TACKLE?
He does every day. It's a process that we go through every day. He's obviously a contributing member of our football team but that goes with everybody.
SAVING UP TIMEOUTS AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF
That's a good question. We were going to do that. We normally do it so we can stack them. They went first down, then they went second-and-eight and that's not a real good time to use a timeout. So we're looking at the first down we're going to try to stack them and then we started calling them. But at the end we didn't want to call them because with 50 seconds left we felt we were going to get the ball back anyway so we decided not to use them, to use the clock and take the ball at the start of the half.
WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM THE LINEBACKER PLAY?
Overall I thought the guys played hard and they always do. I think that's really all I can say at this point. Collectively we did some real good things defensively and we didn't do some things as well. They had a couple of long drives. Just working together, again, it's everybody, it's not just one set of guys. It's the front end and the back end working together.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BREAKDOWNS?
Again, that's a hard question to answer on a specific play-by-play basis. I don't know if I can help you there. I just know this: We didn't play well enough as a team. We gave them a couple of long drives. I can tell you that. I can tell you that we did a great job of handling the turnovers, making the stops and keeping the team in position to win the game was excellent. On the fourth-and-one we had called a defense to stop the sneak with a check to if they were in a gun to get out of it and we didn't collectively get the check, which accounted for the long run. That was one of the big parts. They had five explosive plays in the game. We weren't as good in the run as we would like to be. We were much better on third down. So that's just a part of the some of the things that we've got to do to get better.
MISSING THE COMMUNICATIONS – HOW?
At one point it’s the responsibility of the group to make that, to see what’s going on and to make that call. We didn’t get it done, we’ve got to do a better job and that starts with us. We have to do a better job of getting that done.
YOU GAVE JARED ALLEN THE 3rd QUARTER OFF
They were on a rotation and they only had one drive in the third quarter.
Nothing happened to Khaseem. We wanted to get Christian in the game and get him some reps.
WHY WON’T YOU OPEN YOUR MED FILES?
Because I’m not doctor, No. 1. Sitting up here, I don’t want to be responsible for being specific on medical terms each and every day. I rely on trainers and doctors to put ourselves in position as honestly as we can, what the problem is, so we can give you something. But then it turns into being daily dialogue on medical conditions and that’s not what this conversation should be about.
DID HORRIBLE SOLDIER FIELD TURF AFFECT YOU?
I’m not going to go into that long dissertation. We had players on both sides slipping yesterday; that was evident from the tape. Whether it was related to the field or the footwear is another issue.
ANTICIPATE BRIGGS, CONTE, BOSTIC BACK ON WEDNESDAY?
We’ll look forward to it. We’ll see.
IS THERE ANY ROOM FOR YOU TO BE FIERY WITH PLAYERS?
I think there’s times where there is that. I think that if you asked them specifically, they would say that. But I try to be as consistent as I can with our players, and when it comes to being passionate, I think they know that I show them that.
WILLIE YOUNG SAYS EVERYONE’S A LEADER
We’re not here to build a leadership team. We’re here to build a team of leaders. Everybody can lead in their own way; that can be verbally, non-verbally, through their demeanor, through their actions, how they act during the course of a day. “That’s what we’re here to do: Build a team of leaders. We have what I would call influential leaders, guys who are decorated veterans who have been around the game a long time and the players look to them, how they respond, how they work. But you can be here for a month and you could lead simply by doing all the right things and carrying yourself in the right way.
They were playing single-safety defenses. We took a shot on third down, they had cover-1 there, we took a shot there, took a shot on deep corner route. You saw we got close; we didn’t get it done. We threw the ball deep down the field; we were facing some good corners and they didn’t win the contested throws like we did the week before. We had some guys open in the end zone. We had some close plays that weren’t good enough, we didn’t make the contested throws. We hit a couple crossing routes in the course of the game so I don’t know that we weren’t trying.
When you only have 18 plays, you can’t roll over the plays, it’s hard to roll over and take shots and get up the field. It does change some of the play calling when those things don’t occur and that’s where you lose out on the run game sometimes because you can’t roll over into some runs. You go 18 plays, you go three-and-out three times in medium situations, we got Matt on one of them, the other three we didn’t. We had the opportunity, we had the right coverages, we didn’t get it done. That’s about getting better. We’ve got to collectively work to get better and make sure we can continue drives.
And we’ve been able to do that. We’ve had about as many plays as far as actual plays called as anybody in the league prior to this game. We’re getting a lot of plays run, that’s evident, but when you don’t convert on third down, that makes it very difficult. And we’ve been doing well on third down league-wise. But each game is a new game and we didn’t do it yesterday.
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.