Chicago Bears HEAD COACH MARC TRESTMAN
Third-down Thursday today. We did a lot of special situation football, obviously, and the guys worked at it, worked at it hard. Good energy, very good focus out there. We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on with playing a heck of a football team this week on both sides of the ball — great quarterback, exceptional defense in terms of how they function, their mechanics, their techniques. Exceptional. Good players in all three phases, so we worked hard in our kicking game. Obviously, we’ve got to take care of Edelman. He’s a very nifty returner and explosive guy. He does a lot of things well. And certainly both sides of the ball on third down, a lot of things to get ready for. It was a full fledged practice today.
WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT BELICHICK?
The times I’ve played against him, been on teams that played against him, No. 1 is that they’re fundamentally sound. As complicated as they may look at times, they really function, very solid fundamentals and techniques. Certainly, they do a great job of looking at offenses and knowing what to expect. They have done a nice job of taking away key players over the years, they’ve done a great job of that. And they move people around, and they’ve done it with players that haven’t been on the teams at times early, and they develop players and they put them in positions to have success, and their coaches do a terrific job. And just the management of games and so forth. He’s certainly had a lot of experience with that. He’s been with a lot of the same coaches and certainly a lot of the same quarterbacks, which helps for situational football as well.
We’ll just continue. He worked today, he worked the entire day and got through it. We’ll talk to the trainers, but Kyle practiced the whole day today and moved around well.
DO YOU AS A COACH TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE SECRET IS TO BELICHICK’S SUCCESS WITH FUNDAMENTALS?
When I looked at our football team at San Francisco and I looked at our team a few weeks later against Atlanta, I saw a team that was fundamentally sound and playing smart, disciplined football. I think we have a lot of those elements here. We have very, very good coaches. They understand the game. They’re professionals, they’re proficient at communicating. When we were playing highly competitive in those games, we saw a lot of those same things out of our players in all three phases. Just got to do it on a more consistent basis.
FORTE SAID OFFENSE IS AT ITS BEST WITH A GOOD RUN/PASS RATIO
I think that’s a good point by Matt. The most important thing is that we feel comfortable being able to run it when we want to run it and throw it when we want to throw it. Sometimes it’s not totally balanced, but when we know that our running game is a factor from a defensive mindset, and our passing game is, that’s always the best, so we always want to put ourselves in position where we can do that. We can run the ball when we feel best about running it and throwing it when we feel best about throwing it.
ARE DEFENSES TESTING JAY’S PATIENCE?
You’d have to ask them that from their perspective. We’re seeing more zone coverage than we have. That does (have an effect), they’re trying to keep everything in front of them. We’ve seen a lot of man-to-man coverage. We saw it a couple weeks ago, we saw a lot of it against Atlanta. They played a lot of man-to-man and we were able to defeat it on third down, which allowed us to continue drives and score. It just depends. Most teams throughout the league are a little bit more simplified on first and second down, and they get a little more complex. On first and second down, they’ll mix zone and man, it’s been pretty much the tendencies throughout as we watched other teams play against our most recent opponent.
HAVE YOUR VETERAN GUYS — THE ONES WITH ONLY A FEW YEARS LEFT — SHOWN MORE OF A SENSE OF URGENCY?
I think that’s a general statement, that guys that have a sense for their professional mortality, they’re always intent. But we see that with everybody on our team. In terms of how we practiced today, you wouldn’t know who was a seasoned veteran, in terms of intensity or energy or focus in practice. They all had it. But I would imagine you have to ask each one of those guys individually. I think that’s always the case: the older you get and the more you see the end’s in sight, whenever that is. But in football, you just never know. And that’s the way our guys approach it — they know that this is the last practice and the upcoming game is the last game. There’s always a little bit of sense of that, because it’s the only one. I think that’s how we try to approach it collectively.
A FEW TIMES SINCE YOU GOT HERE, THE TEAM HAS RESPONDED TO ADVERSITY: CLEVELAND LAST YEAR, SAN FRANCISCO THIS YEAR. ANYTHING STAND OUT AS TO WHY?
I think that when I look at our team, I just go back to how we do things on a daily basis. And I really don’t see a difference. I don’t see a difference in how we’ve reacted, as you said, after the Buffalo game or after the Carolina game or after the Atlanta game. I see a team is very consistent in their weekly behavior and their practice ethic and their focus. We have got to turn that into consistent play on a weekly Sunday-by-Sunday basis, or whenever do play, and that’s we’re going to try to get done.
HOW DO YOU GET A FEEL FOR HOW FULLER’S INJURIES MIGHT AFFECT HIM?
I think the one way is just to watch him work in practice, and to have open communication with him and see how he feels. He went through the practice today and finished. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and we’ll continue to talk to him. we certainly want him to feel comfortable playing and not to have the concerns that he can hurt himself more with what he has. We certainly wouldn’t put him out there if we thought that was the case.
DID HE EXPRESS COMFORT TODAY?
Yes he did. I talked to him after practice. He said it went well.
IS BYE WEEK ANY FACTOR IN KYLE’S RETURN?
Our decisions with Kyle is day-to-day in terms of how he’s working. He practiced today to the full extent of practice. We’ll see how that is tomorrow and we’ll continue to evaluate it daily.
WOULD SPEED HELP TAKE THE TOP OF THOSE ZONE DEFENSES? MARQUESS CAN DO THAT?
I can’t speak for that at this point in time. Marquess certainly has speed, but a couple weeks ago you saw us go over the top. We threw the long ball. we threw the long ball last week on occasion, when we had the opportunities to. we don’t look at our guys as not having speed. Certainly Marquess has it, but that’s not where we are right now. We’re playing with guys that we have, and we’re going to utilize those guys to try to stretch the field, to continue to try to do that.
WHERE IS SANTONIO HOLMES?
I think he's in a place where he's continuing to show that he deserves opportunities to be on the field. So I think we're working in that direction. I'm really comfortable with some of the growth we've seen out of both him and Josh Morgan and having the ability to insert them into games. I feel comfortable about them being productive as we move forward. As you know, we've got substantial targets here and it starts with them. But they're not out of the loop in terms of what we're trying to do offensively.
YOU SAID YOU’RE OK WITH PLAYERS SAYING WHATEVER THEY WANT, RIGHT?
I didn't say that. I mean, I don't think that was my quote.
YOU LIKE TO LET YOUR PLAYERS SPEAK THEIR MIND?
I'm not trying to be disrespectful. At the end of the day, I think there's time and place for players to release in this building and in our locker room. That they should be allowed -- in an appropriate manner -- to let themselves go if they feel it's important to do it. It's an emotional game and we have passionate players. As long as there's no lack of respect involved in the showing of outward emotion, it's totally acceptable in this environment.
IT HASN’T BEEN DISRUPTIVE?
All I can tell you is, I stand by, I've been up here for 18, 19 months and I can tell you this, as I said day one of this whole ordeal, whatever it is, is that in 20 years, this wasn't the first time I've seen players let themselves go and are emotional in the locker room. This was, to me, this is commonplace and over a weekend of games, believe me, our locker room is not the only one where players express themselves when things haven't gone well. There's been no lingering whatsoever. Our players are back to work, there's a lot of energy and our focus is simply on the New England Patriots.
YOUR HISTORY WITH PLAYERS SPEAKING OUT
I haven't kept track of that. I just know that, I'm very comfortable with our players speaking their minds when they need to and feeling open to communicate when they're emotional about things. We're non-judgmental about that as long as it's done in a manner that's not indicting of any one or anybody, because the guys know we are in this together, we are a team. But guys have got to be allowed an environment where they can express themselves.
Lance got some work today and we'll see where he is.
URLACHER’S COMMENTS ON CUTLER?
I have no, I haven't heard that and I can't respond to any of that. I haven't heard any of that.
HE RIPPED INTO CUTLER
Well, as I always say, I'm not going to comment on you telling me what Brian said. I've got, certainly, respect for Brian and he has a right to say the thing that he has on his mind.
JARED A VETERAN DAY OFF?
Jon was out there today.
ANY CONCERNS ABOUT HIS BACK STIFFENING?
It's really day-to-day with John. He's under the trainers guidance there.
His size. He has ability to cover. He's a very good tackler. He's obviously a guy who is getting them organized back there. He does a good job of covering in man-to-man coverage when he's in that position. He handles the middle of the field very well. He's just really a very good all-around 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.