CHICAGO BEARS HEAD COACH MARC TRESTMAN
DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE VIKINGS
Well we hope we can carry over No. 1 the effort, the ability, the ability to stop the run early get them into long-yardage situations, able to rush the passer, keep the quarterback in the pocket and from extending plays and being sound in the back end. We wereN't perfect, mistakes were made in all phases but it's something that we can build on, that's what we're attempting to do with each and every practice Rich.
MOVING CUTLER AROUND IN THE POCKET?
I think every quarterback likes to move and change the passing spot and not be sitting in the same spot. We came out of the bye week and we looked at it and have done some things to allow him to do that. We have the ability within the framework of the game plan to get that done. The running game certainly helps. When you can run the football it helps complement things to help you get outside the pocket and certainly it has a residual effect on the pass rush to be able to move the quarterback around and seem to extend plays as well. It's something we looked into, we got a little bit of it done last week and we'll continue to move forward that way.
DID THE DECISION TO MOVE CUTLER AROUND COME AFTER YOU SELF-SCOUTED?
Well, we did almost exclusively drop-back or play-action passes in the pocket so we had some movement going on but we touched on it last week where we did create some advantage for us getting him outside. We got a few balls in to Marty and so forth, so that's a good thing. Again when you move the passing spot that certainly can help.
WHERE ARE THE BUCS BETTER THAN THEIR 2-8 RECORD SUGGESTS?
We talked about this today, that when you look at them defensively they've got penetrators inside, watched the third-down tape, they're hitting the quarterback, they're pushing the pocket, McDonald and McCoy certainly get edges, Johnson on the outside has done a very good job, so they're rushing the passer. They've done a good job of creating some turnovers, the guys have seen their ability to turn the ball over. Lovie's and Leslie's defenses have always done that, their emphasis on knocking the ball out and tipped balls and things like that, so those are very evident defensively that that is all part. And the relentless play, they're playing very hard and then offensively you see the big-play ability of Vincent and particularly Evans. They've got a couple running backs who run hard so they're establishing themselves offensively, they're overcoming the fact that they've really done it without their coordinator, Jeff's been out. They're starting to make some big plays, so we're not looking at records, we're looking at players and scheme and talent. We showed them New Orleans today and it was 31-31 right up until the end so they've show the ability to play with anybody and they're finding more about themselves each and every week, so you can tell they're feeling very god about themselves after their very, very effective play last week against Washington.
MECHANICS OF QB THROWING ON THE RUN?
I'm not going to get into a symposium but obviously on the run you're cutting off the field, there's fundamental things that you do throwing the football in terms of being an accurate passer. I'm not going to go into that but there are movement skills that quarterbacks have. I think Jay showed that the other day, being able to deliver a touch ball over the top of guys. He's always done a god job of hitting the crossers and things like that, so we got an outside throw to [Marquess Wilson] last week, so just being able to move the ball around and make all the throws on the move accurately. It's just being fundamentally sound with squaring up your body and doing those types of things.
STOOD OUT LAST WEEK ABOUT ALSHON?
We all saw, he had a … we talked about it coming out, that we wanted to again start moving our targets around a little bit more. We got the targets up in those areas. He was able to get the one-on-one matchups. He was able to win the contested throws, run the bubbles and do the kinds of things he does. He’s an explosive runner at the line of scrimmage and we got some positive plays there with good perimeter blocking.
I think that what we saw in him is what we expect: when he has opportunities to go up and make the plays, which he did, and make some first downs and take a short throw and make a big play out of it.
WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS HIS MOST NEEDED IMPROVEMENT?
I think it’s just all about playing. He’s a tremendously hard worker in practice. He works on his skill sets. He’s got high football intelligence. It’s a matter of, continue to play, opportunities to make plays, giving them enough targets where he can have opportunities to do good things on the field?
IS IT HARD TO GET A 1-ON-1 VS THE UMBRELLA-LIKE TAMPA 2?
That question will be answered on Sunday. They’ve played a lot of man-to-man coverage, more than you’d think. You look at where they’ve been defensively, and they’re moving man-to-man coverage significantly. And not just on first and second down, but on third down. We’ll look for those opportunities. It looks to me like they’re doing a little bit more of it, feeling comfortable with their guys covering man to man. Now will that change? It didn’t change. That’s the way it was over the last three or four weeks: that they’ve lined up against some top receivers and played them man to man on third down in all situations and on first and second down as well. We’ll see how that goes this Sunday.
OPPONENTS SEE THAT ZONING YOU GUYS IS A MUCH BETTER IDEA THAN MAN, RIGHT?
All I can tell you is what I’ve seen. It doesn’t matter who they’ve faced or the types of receivers. They’ve faced some size and some speed. They haven’t backed down from doing the things they want to do. They could be significant because they’re practicing against, every day, big receivers and they’re feeling better about doing those types of things. Because it’s definitely part of what they do. And if it goes the other way, we’ve got to go the distance. We’ve got to find ways to catch the ball and break tackles and do the types of things you do against zone defenses that play deep and make you throw everything underneath.
CUTLER MORE COMFORTABLE THROWING BALL UP TO TALL RECEIVERS?
Jay has the ability to put it anywhere he wants, and depending on how the defender’s playing him is where the ball’s going to go. On each specific play. And that’s all relative to the type of defender it is and his positioning relative to the coverage. I don’t think it’s something josh wanted to do more than Jay or Jay does more than Josh. I just think it’s a natural occurrence during the course of the game when that specific route is on and that type of technique is being played.
HOW PLEASED ARE YOU WITH O-LINE COHESION?
It’s never bothered us. Certainly last year we went a whole season and didn’t have to make a move. I said it many times in this room — we feel comfortable with our guys and their ability to move around. They’re close. They’re great communicators. So as they’ve moved around we’ve kept on going ourselves. We haven’t tried to protect anybody or helped any particular player out. we feel good that they can go in there and establish themselves and play well at their specific position.
HOW IS STAFF BALANCING TWO GAMES CLOSE TO EACH OTHER?
What we’ve done is, we have a plan. It’s the same plan we put in last year, relative to how we work. Everyone’s assigned to different things But our focus is on one thing. We’ve got to stay terribly focused, narrowly focused on the Bucs. Everything is in place to handle next week. We’ve got guys who have done this for many years, and we did it last year. Right now our entire focus as a staff and as a team is certainly on this one game. The only game that is really in our sights right now are the Bucs.
LOVIE’S DEFENSE THRIVES ON TAKEAWAYS. WARY?
Most defenses do. We all try to do the same things, and certainly he’s got a deserved reputation for doing that. We do it every week. Our focus every day is ball security, taking care of the football and making sure we get people around the ball, offensively and defensively. Certainly as with every week, but just as much with this week, it’s of the utmost priority, certainly.
HOW DOES LOVIE’S D TEST THE PATIENCE OF OFFENSES?
You've got to call the game as you see it. You've got to put your team in the best position to do that. You got to be communicating with your team to understand what's going on during the course of the game. We'll see. We'll see, like I said, there's a lot of different ways they can play the game because it's in their repertoire. There's no doubt about it. They're doing things differently week-in and week-out and some of the same things every week. We'll see how they play us. I think our guys are well in tune to the way the different ways this could go in terms of how we're going to have to move the football and push it down the field.
IS YOUR OFFENSE POISED FOR A 40-POINT BREAKOUT GAME?
We're day to day. We've left a lot of points on the field. We did it last week, we recognize that. It certainly has not been what we wanted it to be or what we would have expected it to be so our focus has been just to really focus in on trying to get better and do the things necessary so we can stay on the field as long as we can. But not just stay on the field, finish drives and score. We have not done that. I take responsibility for that. That starts with me. We certainly feel like we're an offense that can do those types of things. We've shown that we can. But it all starts Sunday again. We still got Friday practice. That's just how we've approached it. We've made up our minds that we're just going to work on it daily and go out Sunday and try to score as much as we can. But most importantly, we're going out to win the football game. We'd like to do both, certainly.
He'll be day to day. He's day to day right now. He got a little work today. We'll see where he is tomorrow.
WILL MARC MARIANI BE THE NEW RETURN MAN?
He's getting work. And he'll continue to get work tomorrow. I'll have a little better feeling after tomorrow's practice. We'll see where we are. I'm not going to say I'm going to make a commitment at that point in time, but he'll have another day of work and we'll see where we are.
HOW HARD IS IT PREACH TO THE TEAM TO NOT LOOK AT THE BUC’S 2-8 RECORD?
We know when you play a team, it's not about their record. Everybody is 0-0 when we play them. All we got to do is look at the tape and know that these guys are just like us. You can see it in their effort. You can see it in their skill level. They're a talented team. We know that. We throw everything out and just say we're going to play everybody straight up and on that day we're both 0-0. We’ve got to do that to have the respect every team deserves coming in and to continue to create an edge and build an edge toward being in the right emotional state as we move toward the game.
RECENT PLAYERS-ONLY MEETING
We've got a close football team. They're highly motivated and they want to do well. That's really it from that standpoint in terms of what they do on their own, with each other. I think the things they're doing are the right things, in the right mindset. I think all the things that they've done down there have been extremely positive in trying to continue to build their energy. All those things are good things.
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.