They Said It: Lovie Smith

It took them all season long to do it, but the Chicago Bears finally put together a two-game winning streak that closed out a disappointing 2007 campaign. Head coach Lovie Smith addressed the media after the victory over the Saints, and Bear Report was there to hear what they had to say.

Opening statement:
"After we were out of the playoffs, all we could do is try and finish 2-0 and start looking like the Chicago Bears of old and finish on a high note. And we were able to do that. Of course the win last week was big, and we needed to follow it up this week to get back-to-back wins for the first time this year.

"A lot of good things happened. We played a lot better football when we get takeaways. Brian [Urlacher] was big early, getting the offense started. Kyle Orton again did things to help us win every time he's behind center, so he did a good job. The running game with Adrian Peterson did well again. The offense as a whole did a good job. Whenever New Orleans scored, we answered.

"Defensively, New Orleans can move the ball on just about everyone. We know what they can do offensively, but I thought we were able to control them for the most part for most of the game. They can always get their numbers and their yards. As a linebacker, we talk about the "55 Club" – getting five sacks and five interceptions in the same season. That's hard to do. It's good to see Brian Urlacher [do that], a guy who's played as well as anyone at the linebacker position these last couple of weeks. It's good to see him do that.

"Our defense as a whole, Tommie Harris had an outstanding game. He's a guy that's had a few bumps and bruises this season, but he seemed to really finish up strong. And, of course, Devin Hester. I'm looking forward to seeing what his future holds because right now there are so many things you can picture him being able to do. I think he can become a No. 1 receiver in the league, where you come into football games worrying about him as a receiver and not just as a returner, which he will continue to do for us. It was an outstanding game by him, but he played that well all year.

"We know where we are. It was a disappointing season as a whole, but we did finish strong. And before you know it, we'll be back out on the football field. I had a chance to talk to Dusty Dvoracek before the game, and we talked about the next time we line up as a football team, he'll be with us. So there are exciting things in store for us. Injury-wise, we came out in pretty good shape. We have one last team meeting tomorrow, and then we'll be off."

On whether he anticipates making significant changes in the offseason:
"I think each year you want to continue to try and get better, and we'll do that. But as far as major changes, no. I think we're close. Look at the football games we lost this year, and I know there were quite a few of them. We were in every one of those games. We'll tighten up some things and try to make some minor adjustments and changes to improve our ball club and come back strong."

On whether or not changing a coordinator would be considered a major change:
"I guess to someone planning to change a coordinator, yeah, it probably would be."

On if he plans to make any changes with his coordinators:
"No, I don't."

On the primary lesson his team learned from this season:
"It's a fine line between winning and losing. No matter where you start, you have to start back over, and you have to be ready to play each week. We weren't. With that many losses, there were a lot of things we did wrong. As we look back over the season, hopefully we learned from those mistakes. We're not the first team to go through tough times like this. I look forward to people talking about us as one of the teams who went to the Super Bowl, and the following year didn't have a great year, but the next year came back strong. All we can do now is that."

On where Kyle Orton would be on the depth chart if he had to make one today:
"If I had to make one, I know exactly where Kyle would be. But since I don't, I'm not going to go there. I will say that I like what he was able to do at the end of the year."

On how Alex Brown performed in place of Mark Anderson in the starting lineup:
"I think Alex played awesome. Alex is a good player and has been a good player for us. But as we talk about these last couple weeks, there's not a whole lot I don't like about what we did. I can talk about just about everyone and how they played."

On if there is a carry-over effect from one season to the next:
"Yes, I believe there is. I think you can carry momentum. We know our record and all of that, but you want to play good football at the end. That's the taste you have in your mouth. For us, we're able to see what we can be as a football team. Going into the season, we had high hopes. But once you lose, and you lose as much as we did, it triggers some doubt. Right now the guys have gotten that hope back, and the guys are anxious to get it started again."

On if this win can fool him into thinking they're better than they are:
"No, I don't see how you can be fooled by wins. It's hard to get wins. A win is a win. Some good things have to happen in order to get a win."

On the defense delivering a lot of big hits against the Saints:
"We've had some good defensive efforts around here, but you wouldn't notice that. It definitely stood out. We had big hits. You have to like it. Good physical defenses will have big plays, and we look forward to more in the future."

  • Could Cedric Benson's reign in the backfield be over?
  • Same problems on offense despite coordinator carousel
  • A look back at the Fog Bowl against Buddy Ryan's Eagles
  • Remembering legendary Hall-of-Famer George Musso
  • Getting to know rookie cornerback Corey Graham
  • All of that plus much more in the February issue of ...

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