CHICAGO BEARS HEAD COACH MARC TRESTMAN
Well, you know we went inside today. Tony Medlin gave me the word that the winds were up and quite frankly the guys weren’t safe on the lifts, so that’s why we went inside more than any other reason, or we would have worked in the weather today. But we’ll try and get outside tomorrow when the winds die down. So we did that today and we went inside, did a two-minute period today to start practice. It was a competitive two-minute and then worked on third down and here we are. So we had a good, brisk workout today. Very competitive. Guys worked extremely hard today as they always do. I’ll leave it open to questions.
WHERE ARE YOU GUYS WITH THE O-LINE?
I’m going to be a little more deliberate. I think I’ll give you a direct answer tomorrow. Aaron and I didn’t get a chance to talk. We haven’t had a chance to look at the video but I would like to be more convicted tomorrow in terms of where we’re gonna go. We did move them around today. Brian played some guard. Ola played some tackle. Ola went inside and played guard of course. And Jordan was at the tackle position. We moved him a little bit as well. We really have tried to move some people around, based on the situation we’re in, losing Eben No. 1 and working Charles Leno into the group as well. We want to come to some conclusions by the end of the day and establish the lineup for tomorrow.
UNIQUE CHALLENGES OF FACING THE PACKERS OFFENSE?
Well, the unique challenges is No. 1, they’ve been able to establish — it all starts with Aaron Rodgers certainly. He’s got a very, very good receiving corps of players. He’s got two or three very good receivers as we all know. We know their names, we know who they are. Lacy does give them a run threat and he plays at a high level each and every week. Got a couple of turnover last week. They had a couple of tipped balls. But he takes care of the football. And obviously he’s extremely productive.
WHEN WILL YOU USE THE ONSIDE KICK THIS TIME?
That’s a competitive issue right there, Adam. I think that you have a sense for where the game’s going and what you need to do and certainly going in there where they’ve been extremely productive and just take a look at it, where they are in the first and second quarter in scoring. But we showed our guys the comparatives and the analytics to the team that we’re playing. You have two very similar teams. Really similar in a statistical comparisons as you move through the offense and defensive side of the ball. We feel we’re headed into a highly competitive game, two teams that are very, very equal in terms of their ability to move the football and do the things they need to do to score. We’ve got to do that.
No. 1, I think he’s done a very good job with leadership. He brought something with him, a championship pedigree. He’s been in two very good organizations. I think he’s really been a great asset as a mentor in our locker room. That goes without saying, just to reinforce what you already know because you guys are in the locker room. Secondly he has been one of the guys who are back there and leading, making calls, being in the right place. He’s played excellent at the line of scrimmage particularly in fitting up our run game and knowing where to be and getting people in the right spot.
HAS MUNDY BEEN EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT?
I think he’s been a real voice-of-reason back there in terms of getting people lined up. He’s been physical at the point, when he’s been up at the line of scrimmage. I think that’s been one of his strengths, is when he’s up into the line of scrimmage and he’s covered tight ends. He’s been on their hip most of the time and knows where to be. Knows what to do and how to do it. He’s been a highly competitive player for us.
HOW MUCH DO YOU LOOK TO CUTLER TO LEAD YOU OUT OF THIS FUNK?
I think it's about everybody. Your quarterback is always a significant person to do that because he handles the ball on every play. We all know that. So certainly he's part of it but I don't just think he's the only one. I think we want to do it together. We do it as coaches. We want to do it as a complete team. Everybody has got a say in this thing. Everybody does. Our guys understand this. You can tell by practice, they get it. You can tell by the dialogue they have with each other during the course of the day. But certainly Jay is a big part of that. He's a team leader. He's around the guys all the time. He's influential in our locker room. He's influential in our meeting rooms and certainly on the field his composure, his level of play is going to be indicative of where we're going to go in the next eight weeks.
WERE YOU PATIENT ENOUGH WHEN YOU FELL BEHIND IN GAMES AS A PLAY CALLER AFTER YOUR SELF-EVALUATION?
It's a good question. I didn't overly analyze that part of it, going into each and every game. I think that I look at balance as we want to run the ball when we feel it's important to run the ball and we want to throw it when we feel that's the best way to move the ball. I think most of the time I do feel that way. There's times where I try not to get ahead of myself in terms of play calling. I'm sure there's times that I have done that. I won't deny that. I can't be specific. I would assume that during the course of the eight weeks that did happen.
IMPORTANT TO DO IT AGAINST THIS TEAM IF YOU FALL BEHIND?
I think it's important to do whatever we have to do to move the ball. Certainly running the ball - I know that's where you're going - is a certainly big part of that. We've shown we can run the football against them. We have been able to do that in the times that we've played them over the last couple years. So that will be a big part of what we're trying to accomplish. But we don't know what they're going to take away either as we move into this thing. We're playing very smart people on the other side of the ball in how they play us. They may not play us the same way they played us in the last game, which may not give us the run opportunities that we would like and that's all part of it. Then we've got to be able to throw the football. Certainly running the football is a big part of what we have to do. The clock runs. It's complementary to what we're trying to get accomplished defensively and that is to limit their offense's opportunities on the field as well.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED THE FIRST THREE GAMES AS OPPOSED TO WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST FIVE?
We're focused so much on this game I'm not sure what the question is.
TWO WINS IN THE FIRST THREE GAMES AS OPPOSED TO THE FOUR LOSSES IN THE LAST FIVE GAMES?
I mean, we have not played at a consistent level. That's really it. When you look at the games that we won we were able to take care of the football and create turnovers and it always starts that way -- creating turnovers and taking care of the football is always one of the primary reasons. And then playing consistently in terms of penalties at the wrong time, and not converting on third down. It all goes into it, and not being able to get off the field on third down, as well. They were collective losses. You don't lose on one side of the ball. It's clear that when you lose a game and you look at it from a coaching perspective that all three phases are involved. And we weren't able to put it together in all three phases like we were against Atlanta, the Jets and San Francisco.
IS THERE A REASON THIS HAPPENS?
I don't know if there is ever any one reason. It's a collection of reasons. You don't convert on third down. You don't get off the field on third down, you don't get the takeaways and you give away. Those are all the things that go into winning and losing games. You don't have pre-snap penalties. They're all involved at doing that. Then at the end of the day over the first eight games we didn't play at a consistent level and that's why we're 3-5.
AARON KROMER SAID YOU GUYS ARE JUST GOING TO "RUN THE OFFENSE".
What I think he’s saying is just go ahead and do your job, don’t try to over-think your assignment or try to help your teammate out by thinking you’ve got to do this to help him. We went through those issues with our guys. We’ve got guys who want to do the right thing, they prepare, they want to do it right, and sometimes you can get caught up and try to do more than you have to do. You don’t have to carry the weight of the team on your back. Just do your job, do it with energy and enthusiasm and be in the right place at the right time, be able to adjust and make the play when it comes your way and not try to do anything more than that.
HOW DIFFICULT IS CONSISTENCY?
That’s one of the hardest things to do, be consistent. When you’re putting a team together and everybody being able to play at a certain level that’ll allow you to have success. For us, when you look at it over the past three or four weeks, we haven’t taken the ball away. Our last takeaway was Atlanta; that’s hurt us. We’ve given the ball away recently and that’s hurt us. That’s the starting point. We put that behind us. There’s other teams that have been in that position. We put it behind it, we assessed it and moved forward. Our focus has been entirely been on Green Bay.
DIFFERENCE PLANNING FOR THIS GREEN BAY GAME VS. THE LAST ONE WHERE YOU DIDN’T KNOW IF YOU HAD A FULL COMPLEMENT OF WIDEOUTS?
I can’t really make that comparison because I can’t reflect on that. We went into the game prepared as best we could with the players we had and we’re happy that we’ve got Brandon back and he’s certainly part of our game plan.
HOW DO YOU STOP JORDY NELSON/A>?
It’s like any player. If you spend too much time on him, you’re leaving Cobb and other people open, and Aaron Rodgers has no problem finding out who the single-coverage guy is when another guy is doubled. There’s a lot of different ways to go about it. We’re going to have to handle the matchups that we have, whether it’s man coverages, combination-man coverages or zone coverages; we’re going to have to be in the right place. A lot of that’s going to be reflected in what goes on at the line of scrimmage. Eleven bodies are going to have to be working together. He’s a very tough player to stop, one of the best receivers in the league, no doubt about it. We have him as one of the highest-rated receivers around. It’s difficult to completely stop him.
BUT WHAT MAKES HIM GOOD?
He’s got size, strength and speed, and he uses it all with great technique. He has the ability to beat the man in bump-and-run and hip-to-hip coverage, he can go deep and he’s very good when Aaron extends the plays. He’s got a great feel for finding space and working himself back into the play.
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.