Head Coach Jay Gruden
"Perry Riley — we're going to rule him out already, he's got the foot, obviously. Did not practice were [Jason] Hatcher, neck and ankle; Jeron Johnson, hamstring; [Stephen] Paea, toe; Andre Roberts, knee; Chris Thompson, shoulder. Limited were Keenan Robinson with his shoulder and Dashon Goldson with the multiple injuries. Full were [Derek] Carrier, Will Compton, [Quinton] Dunbar, [Deshazor] Everett, and D-Hall."
On the plan if DE Jason Hatcher is not ready for Sunday:
"We're going to wait a little bit on Hatch. We're still optimistic about it, but if not, we have a couple guys on the practice squad we can possibly bring up. We can dress five defensive linemen and go from there."
On what he has done in the past as a coordinator to get the running game on track:
"Well, you can't totally abandon it, if that's what you're asking. We have to stick with it. We have continue to work at it. Like I've said many times, we have a young offensive line. They're still working together but that excuse is going to wear out pretty quickly in these big games coming up. We have to just continue to work on it, be persistent with it, be demanding of these guys. I know [Offensive Line] Coach [Bill] Callahan is working with them and [Tight Ends] Coach [Wes] Phillips, obviously, with the tight ends and [Running Backs Coach] Randy [Jordan] with the backs and see where it leads us. But we've had some good runs, obviously, but for the most part, the average per carry has been not good enough the last six or seven weeks."
On if he has been satisfied with the pass rush and pressure they have put on opposing quarterbacks:
"Well, when you're talking about satisfaction, when you're 5-7, there's not a lot. You know you're never really satisfied as a coach. You're always going to demand more… Our run defense has been good as of late, but our pass rush, I think we can get better. I think [Jason] Hatcher has shown flashes of being a good pass rusher, had some good rushes. I think Ricky [Jean Francois] had some good rushes last week. Obviously, I think Preston [Smith] did some good things. But as a group, we do have to get better. In order to get better, we need to get more third down and mediums to longs so we can really tee off and rush. But overall, I'm pleased with the way our defense is playing but there are areas of the game we need to improve and pass rush is probably one of them."
On how TE Derek Carrier looked today:
"He did good today. He looked good today. He ran around pretty well so I feel positive. We still have one more good day of practice but he felt good today. We'll see how he does tomorrow morning with all the work and see if it swells up or not."
On what has contributed to the defense's increase in takeaways:
"Well, I think once you pull a couple out of there you start to get more confident and it starts to be contagious for defensive players and everybody wants a piece of one. Everybody is working hard to get the strips. It's been a focal point of our defense since day one of OTAs and it's something we continue to work on. I feel good about it. We've got just keep flying to the football, keep ripping it out when we have an opportunity and when the ball's in the air, we've got to make sure we do the best we can to go get it. That's what it's all about. Defensively, it's all about getting the ball back and that's what we preach."
On the injury to Jeron Johnson and if that leaves the team thin at safety:
"Kyshoen [Jarrett] is back at safety, pretty much, full-time role now. Luckily, like I've said before, all those guys have taken a little piece of it. We have three solid safeties going in and, really, [Deshazor] Everett if he can play this week, he's been playing a little bit of safety, too, to maybe a fill in as a fourth. We should have it covered but we are a little thin with experience."
On the reason reserve players have been able to step up and play well in the absence of injured players:
"Well, I think it has to do with a little bit of everything – coaching and I think the players in general. They've gotten themselves ready to play. I think the big thing is when you're not active, when you're not playing, you're on the practice squad, the ability to keep yourself ready — mentally ready — and prepared so when you're number is called because of injury or performance, you're ready to go. Those guys have done a nice job of getting themselves mentally ready to play and then when you're out there, taking advantage of the reps. We have a lot of guys that have done that. Will Compton is a great example. He was ready to roll. [Will] Blackmon, obviously. Mason Foster, last week, another great example. We have got a lot of guys that have done that and hopefully it'll continue because, you know, tough game. Hopefully, we don't lose any more [players] but it could happen."
On what he saw from the players at practice today:
"It's pretty good, you know, despite the injuries. Guys are beat up this time of year. I know that's the way across the league. So, it's for us, as coaches, to make sure we just try to keep grinding on them and keep trying to get the energy level up. But I think these guys are in a good state of mind right now. Everybody's still a little disappointed and sick feeling over that Dallas game Monday night — a chance to show people what we were made of and we didn't do so much, didn't do a very good job of that. I think we're eager and that's the good thing about football, man. This stage of the year, you don't play very well, you have a chance the next week to redeem yourself and get yourself back in the position you want to be."
On his level of optimism for RB Chris Thompson on Sunday:
"That's a tough one. My level of optimism is not very high with him right now. Hopefully his pain and the range of motion gets better as the week progresses and there's a chance he could play but that's a concern."
On the team's depth at the running back position:
"Well, [Running Backs Coach] Randy Jordan played halfback for a little while [laughter]. We have Christine Michael on the practice squad. We just signed Mack Brown to the practice squad. We might have a couple more options possibly, but if not, we still have Matt [Jones] and obviously Alfred [Morris] and DY [Darrel Young] has actually done some third-down stuff also."
On being ranked fourth in a recent 'game management' ranking:
"They liked me? Oh jeez [laughter]. I'm going to have to frame that article. That's the first article written positive. You know what? We work hard at it but every game is different. There are certain things I wish I had back. There were certain situations at the end of the half I'd like to have back, but for the most part, I feel we have great communication amongst the staff. You know, I talk to [Tight Ends Coach] Wes Phillips upstairs and he's a very good game manager also and I rely on him. [President] Bruce [Allen] is still up there and [Special Projects/Assistant Special Teams Coach] Bret Munsey up there so I've got a lot of people I talk to — [Offensive Coordinator] Sean [McVay] and obviously [Defensive Coordinator] Joe Barry. So, working hard at it. That's all I can say."
On if they have changed the process for evaluating potential replay challenges this season:
"No, not really. Like, Wes Phillips is my main guy up there and Bret Munsey on the defensive side of the ball are the two guys I talk to pretty much. Bruce [Allen] still is up there if there's a rules question that I might not know of. So far it hasn't been an issue. The big issue is getting the replay. Sometimes, on the road, it doesn't even show the replay. I can't see it very good on the sideline from where I am and if they don't get the replay upstairs, they don't have a great view of it either. That's the biggest issue. We have to wait for the replay. I'm holding the flag out, but luckily for us, there hasn't been too many circumstances where it's been an issue but, you know, I think a couple against the [New York] Jets, they had a third down and one that I might have been able to challenge and I couldn't tell the spot and we never got the replay and a catch by [Eric] Decker I might have been able to challenge but we never got the replay there either. Those are the tough ones, but overall I'm happy with the process."
On if the team would play more nickel and dime packages if Hatcher can't play Sunday:
"Well, it depends on what they're in. If they're in big people, then we're not going to play nickel. So, no, we still have the big guys covered. We still have Terrance [Knighton]; he counts for two [laughter]. We have [Chris] Baker, so we're good. We'll be good there."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
On Bears QB Jay Cutler's improvement each week:
"I think it's kind of just par for the course for us with the quarterbacks that we've been facing. It's the National Football League. You face good quarterbacks every week. We've had a string of five, six guys in a row, but that's part of the deal."
On Bears WR Eddie Royal:
"As far as the Eddie Royal question, phenomenal player. I was with him in San Diego for two or three years. Unbelievable player, big play capability all the time in the slot. But, I don't know, did he practice today? .... OK, I haven't seen the report yet. But, yeah, anytime you inject a player into a system that has big play ability it's obviously a concern. No. 19 is that for them, no doubt."
On attacking max protection:
"Well, I think you've got to be calculated with it. You've got to do four-man, five-man, six-man. Again, like I tell you guys, we didn't have sacks, but I thought we did a fairly decent job. They were 11 percent on third down. We were getting off the field on third down. We had three takeaways. Now we did only have one sack, and that's our objective every week – first down, second down, third down, it doesn't matter – to harass and to get after the quarterback. You know, with the offensive line that they have and some of the protections that they did with keeping people in, it limits you, but I still think at the end of the day we did a pretty good job."
On sending more pressure on third downs last week:
"I thought we mixed it pretty good. I think that's the biggest thing. Again, whether you rush three, whether you rush four or whether you come all out and rush seven, I think the biggest thing is to get a quarterback off-balance a little bit. I thought we did a fairly decent job of that, especially on third down."
On if a coach's confidence can grow as the season progresses:
"Yes, I definitely think that, but that's the nice thing – that's what you have the offseason for, what you have training camp for. You know, you kind of go through the growing pains of getting to know guys then and then be able to go through a season with them. With us with the injuries that we've had, we've had a number of guys that weren't even here in training camp, let alone OTAs, the off season. So, yes, obviously anybody, relationships are built by being around people and getting to know them on a personal level, but then on an athletic level – knowing what they're good at and what they're not good at. Yes, of course, the only way to do that is through time, so yes."
On being able to integrate LB Mason Foster and CB Will Blackmon in-season:
"Well, it seems like it's been a common theme up here with you guys. We believe it, we preach it. From the day a guy gets here, whether he was here in Phase I with us of the offseason or we signed him Week 4 like we did Will or Week 6 like we did Mason, we coach guys not as starters and backups. We coach them all the same. We prepare them all the same because like I tell you guys all the time, if you're not starting you're one play away from being a starter. That's the approach we take. We're starters in waiting if you're not currently starting. So when your chance comes, next man up – you're ready to go. Very proud of those guys the way they've played and continue to play."
On if the Bears' use of screens will change what the defense will do:
"I don't think it necessarily changes anything you do, you've just got to be obviously conscious of it. They do a number of… No. 22 [Matt Forte] has been not only a phenomenal back carrying the ball but he's very good out of the backfield in the screen game, always has been his whole career. But then also with all the different screens that they do – whether they're bubble screens, when I say bubble going towards the sideline, or tunnel screens coming back inside and going up the middle of the field – they do a wonderful job with it. It's something that we've practiced, we've talked about. It's a big part of their offense."
On if the Bears use screens more than other teams:
"Bubble screens and what we refer to as tunnel screens are pretty much… every team in the league uses them. No, I wouldn't say we've faced a team that uses them to the extent that these guys do. They're very good at it. They do it with everybody. They do it with tight ends. They do it with wideouts. I know No. 83 [Martellus Bennett] went on IR but he would be at No. 3 run a bubble screen, he'd be at No. 1 and come in and run a tunnel screen. They don't discriminate with who they throw them to. They do a good job of them. Linemen do a great job of getting out and blocking. It's a big part of what they do and we're going to have to stop it."
On LB Carlos Fields:
"I think he's a young kid that in a perfect world is a practice squad guy that you love to be around and you love to have to work with. Had an opportunity to get brought up to the 53-man roster. He's in a backup role for us but he's playing, shoot, I think he played 10 or 12 snaps on special teams. Another guy we're getting to know, he's learning the system. We really are going to obviously heavily rely on him covering kicks and playing on special teams. Young kid that's got some ability, no question."
On LBs Will Compton and Mason Foster:
"I think Will and Mason work really well together. That's the thing with Mason Foster, obviously he's a guy that was on the street that we brought in, but Mason Foster has played a lot of football in this league. He was a three-year starter down in Tampa, played a lot of ball. I don't know what his career starts are but it wasn't like this was a guy that we signed off the street that made his first start on Monday night. Shoot, I'd say he's probably started, what, 30-35 games in his career? . But, no, I thought Will stepped up to the challenge when he became the full-time starter. Mason followed his lead and was no different. They not only are going in there and playing, they're making plays. They're contributing. That's what you want. You just don't want a guy to round out the 11, you want a guy to go in, you want all 11 players to make plays. They're both doing that."
On the stability at inside linebacker:
"That's good, to have two inside linebackers – the same two – start two games in a row. That's good. Obviously it'd be great to get Keenan [Robinson] back. It will be great to get No. 56 [Perry Riley, Jr.] back. Those will be great things when they happen, but like we said, we don't sit and dwell and wait. Mason and Comp are playing good football for us and they're going to continue to."
On DB DeAngelo Hall:
"I think that's the great thing again,[we were] kind of talking about Mason as a veteran. The great thing when you have veteran players, when you have guys that have been around… Until a month ago DeAngelo had never played a snap of safety in his life. But there ain't much that he hasn't seen in 12 years. To classify his role, it's multiple. We're able to do a lot of things with him. He can play corner. He can play nickel. He can play dime. He can play strong. He can play free. He can do a bunch of different things. He can go and match up late in the game on Jason Witten if we need him to, like he did the other night. It's just great when you have, not only a very good football player, but when you have a smart, heady player that understands football, understands coverage, you can do different things with him. I thank God that we have him."
On NT Terrance Knighton:
"Well, I think Terrance is another guy that… Terrance is our starting nose guard, but Terrance is not just regulated to playing on first and 10 in base. He can play a three-technique, he can play one-technique, he can do multiple different things. Especially with some guys – you know, we've got a couple guys banged up right now – so his role is going to expand as some other guys. Terrance is a veteran that we expect when he's out there to make plays wherever he lines up."