John Crist: Back in minicamp, you were only practicing once per day instead of twice, like most of your teammates were. Is that an indication you're not quite 100 percent coming back from the knee injury just yet?
Pisa Tinoisamoa: Well, I don't know. I don't think it's me being 100 percent, because when I went out there I was playing 100 percent. I think it was more the wear-and-tear aspect of it. It's like, alright, we want to make sure that I get the reps in so I get comfortable, but we want to make sure we don't overdo it as well. So I think it was more on the precautionary side to make sure I didn't further damage it and things like that.
JC: Everyone knows you played this defense under Lovie Smith when you were a rookie in St. Louis. Is this pretty much the same scheme you remember from back then, or have there been enough tweaks over the years that it's not really what you knew from before?
PT: There's some tweaks to it. Like today, I messed up on something that in St. Louis we ran it a different way than we're running it now, and I referenced that. I said, "Hey, Lovie, we didn't do that in St. Louis," which was not a good enough excuse because I've been here two years now. Yeah, there's minor tweaks, and when you have a defense that was so good and things like that, and you have players that good, you kind of adjust it to your players and how teams are adjusting to your defense.
JC: The linebackers have been the strength of this team for a while, but if there is a weakness, blitzing from the linebackers could certainly be better and more productive. Is that simply not emphasized in this system, or could it improve?
PT: Well, our D-line is so good that they kind of do all the work for us. So you don't want to send all the guys when you've got guys that can drop back and get some interceptions, like Lance [Briggs] and Brian [Urlacher]. So it kind of balances out that way. We still get the turnovers, and we let the D-linemen get their sacks. We kind of work with what goes best with our personnel.
JC: What's it like defending a Mike Martz offense so far, especially with all the formation changes and motion we've seen to this point?
PT: Yeah, we've got some good vets here, whether it's Hunter [Hillenmeyer] playing middle linebacker or Brian playing middle linebacker. They get the team adjusted, and now we've had a couple practices against them where we kind of understand what we're getting and kind of get a better feel for what we need to do.
JC: You humbled yourself last year, came to Chicago and won the starting job fair and square over Nick Roach. Do you have to win that job all over again?
PT: Oh, absolutely. Every year is a new year. The difference is that Nick gained more experience last year, and I got older. So now it's like it almost gets harder for me to come back off an injury, Nick having more experience, but the competitive side of me is still there. That's why I came back, and I'm just blessed to even be considered a starter on this defense because, like you were saying earlier, the linebackers have been the strength. And I don't think a lot of people know about how good Nick Roach is and how good he's going to be. So it's going to be a healthy, great battle, but I'm up for it.
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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
OTAs Q&A: LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
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