Smith: It's A Special Time Of The Year

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith participated in a conference call with the Indianapolis media this week in preparation for the season opener Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. See what coach Smith had to say about his decision to start Kyle Orton, how things have changed since the Bears and Colts played in Super Bowl XLI, and more!

On the decision to go with Kyle Orton at QB:

"First off, we just feel like he gives us our best shot at winning with him behind the center. Kyle has full control of the offense. He has a good arm, makes great decisions. He's a good leader, and he was voted the team captain by his teammates. So all the things you look for in a good quarterback, Kyle has done. He finished off strong with us winning the last two games of the season with him leading us. So all of those things helped us come to this decision."

On Kyle Orton not playing during the Bears' Super Bowl run in 2006:

"Yes, but as a teammate and just being on a team, you have different roles at different times. To be a good teammate, you should just play your role on what's being asked of you, and that's what Kyle did. He took a step back, and he learned a lot. I think you can learn a lot from just sitting back and watching sometimes and learning. And that's what he was able to do. When he got his next chance, he took advantage of it."

On minimizing turnovers, and if that's a priority with Kyle Orton:

"I think it would be fair to say that every quarterback in the league needs to try to stay away from turnovers. It is about ball security. On the defensive side, we preach about taking the ball away. That can and most times it is the difference in who wins and loses the football game. We put a premium on it just like other teams do, too."

On if it makes the Colts tough to defend when the run game gets going:

"It's very hard. It's enough to deal with the passing game, but once you balance it, it creates a lot more problems. And that's what happened last time we played. In the passing game, they hit a couple of big passes, but we weren't able to stop the run and that ended up beating us."

On even though the Colts have injuries on the offensive line, that not lessening his concern about the run game:

"No. Everyone has injuries. Everyone has a 53-man roster and you know that some time during the course of the year, guys will have to step up. We're sure that the guys that will replace the injured players will be more than worthy to get the job done."

On if he likes the radio headset on defense:

"I like it. I was always in favor of it. Anything to even out the playing field a little bit we're in favor of. But it doesn't solve all the problems by any means. It's still cutting off with 15 seconds left, so a lot of things can happen after that. But I think it helps the situation."

On how the preseason has gone:

"It's been a typical training camp for us. We haven't had a lot of injuries. We've made progress. We've found a lot out about our football team. And I'm talking about things you can find out before you play the first game that counts. So we're anxious to get into the first regular-season game and see exactly where we are."

On his expectations of what his team will run into with the game being prime-time and the Colts opening the new stadium:

"Whenever you go on the road, first off, just the opening weekend of the National Football League is about as exciting of a time in sports as you can have, to me. Then you throw in the national TV audience. That of course gets our guys' attention a little bit more. So it's a special time of the year and we're looking at it as a great opportunity. We think we're going to have a good football team this year, like every other team in the National Football League. But no one really knows. So as much as anything, we're just excited to play a game that counts and see exactly where we are and go from there. We realize it's opening the stadium and there's a lot of other things, but that's kind of secondary to us. Just starting the season and getting it started is important."

On if he anticipates QB Peyton Manning being a different quarterback Sunday because he hasn't played in preseason:

"I wouldn't say different. I think he's been in that situation before. I think when you're a veteran, it doesn't hurt you as much as it would hurt some players. I think there's still a reason why you have training camp for that period of time. Every day you have a chance to practice benefits you. It has to hurt a little bit when you've missed that amount of time."

On DT Tommie Harris not being healthy during the Super Bowl and if he is healthy this time:

"Sure, we have all of our players healthy as far as I know. They all participated last week. We expect them all ready to go this week."


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