HC Doug Marrone

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q: What is Sammy [Watkins]’ status for the game?

A: I think we’re just going to wait and see for the game. It’s hard to judge right now.

Q: What’s your level of concern with the offense as you head into the regular season?

A: I’m excited. I’m not really looking at it and saying, ‘Oh gosh.’ It’s [the gameplan] real tight. I’m excited. We’re game planning. I feel great about what we have and we need to go out there and execute. It’s a matter of us just going out there and executing.

Q: Did EJ [Manuel] show enough progress over the last five to six weeks?

A: If you’re asking me, yes.

Q: What did you see specifically in him that makes you confident that he’s ready to make that next step this season?

A: Better reads and [he’s] better with the throws. The one thing that’s a little bit different for me is that I look at it overall for what you do on a daily basis. We’re watching everything from every practice rep to every route versus air rep. We know that in everything we do, offense, defense and special teams, the last thing that happens is that you see that on the field. We’re close to getting our stuff carrying over onto the field, where it’s consistent.

Q: How much is it on how him to prove his progress?

A: I go back to the same thing. I think that if everyone does what they’re supposed to do and everyone has a role – there’s 11 guys out there – then it’s really not as much as people think. You just have to go out there and do what’s asked of you and try not to press and just go play football.

Q: Do you expect your defense to be better this year?

A: I think so. I think we expect everything to be better. I think it’s hard to say we’re trying to be the same. Like I said before, you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, but you’re not staying the same. We’ve got to keep pressing forward to keep getting better. I do think that they will play better. That’s what we’re preparing for.

Q: You gave up a lot of big plays on defense last year. Does that need to change?

A: Yes, that has to change as far as the big plays. We’re playing a team that has the potential to make a lot of big plays with the guys that they have. Also, the have an outstanding running back [Matt Forte] and we have to make sure that we’re getting a lot of people around the ball to limit him. He’s probably a guy that not a lot of people talk about, but is probably one of the best backs in the league.

Q: Are you excited to see Sammy back on Sunday?

A: Excited is the right word and then to see how he is. I think it’s early for me [to know on his availability], but I’m excited to see him get out there. And the let’s see what happens. It’s your first time playing in the National Football League. I’ll be excited to see how he reacts to that.

Q: With Kiko Alonso out for the year and Nigel Bradham suspended for the first game, how do you go about filling that spot this weekend?

A: There’s so many different things in that question with nickel and dime and all of those personnel groups. I would say this: obviously, Kiko is a very good player. That’s very disappointing when he can’t play. Obviously, Nigel was suspended [due to] a very poor decision. He’s really played extremely well. Better than he ever has as long as I’ve been here. I would have more of a concern if Preston [Brown] wasn’t playing as well as he has. Randell [Johnson] has flashed at times and Ty Powell has been playing pretty well. For us, we have a combination of Preston Brown and Ty Powell that can help us out and fill that void.

Q: Do you like this opener in the sense that you’ll learn a lot about your team?

A: I’ll tell you after the game. We’re going out there to win. I’m not going out there and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to learn a lot about what we are.’ We understand what’s ahead of us, so we’re excited. We’re going to go out there and play. I’m fired up for the team. We had a good practice, obviously. The plan is tight and we’ve got to go out there and execute.

Q: How much did being overly aggressive contribute to giving up so many big plays last year? Do you need to dial that back this year?

A: I think what happened was, when you go back and look at it, the ones that I would say we gave up early on was really due to matchups and personnel. We had a lot of injuries on the outside with our corners. We had some guys in there that maybe we could’ve, looking back, helped more. We said that even when Mike [Pettine] was here, but that’s what we were doing. When you look back at what we could have done differently, then yes. We could have done some things to help the corners more, but the big plays were there. In the run game, though, that wasn’t the case. We lost some gap control at times and we wound up giving up some big play there. I think it’s important to note that, when we talk about the defense and the big plays, also offensively we didn’t have many. We’ve got to get our share on the offensive side of the ball also, where we create big plays whether it’s a missed tackle and a big run. But, more so from that standpoint, we have to have ours too.

Q: For your offense to succeed, does CJ Spiller have to be the dynamic player that many think he can be?

A: I think, for us to succeed, I would say that we need everyone.. The reason why I want to answer the question this way is because, god forbid if something does happen, I don’t want you to come back and say, ‘Hey, in week one you said that if CJ was hurt then you’re offense would not succeed.’ That’s not fair to the rest of the players that can do well. But, do we need CJ Spiller to stay healthy and does that make us more explosive? Absolutely. No doubt about it.

Q: Do you think CJ Spiller is truly a 20-touch guy?

A: I think that with the right touches, yes. I think with the right touches, yes. And where they come from, absolutely.

Q: Meaning receiving too?

A: I think every which way you can. When we talk about touches, I would assume you mean touches every which way you can get him the ball as an explosive playmaker. Yes.

Q: Has CJ learned better about how to run in the NFL?

A: I think one of the things when you’re an explosive player, it is learning to a certain extent for anyone when you come into this league. The holes in college for some players are so much wider than when you get to this league. And when you do see a hole in this league, it closes so quickly. One of the things is that you see a lot of flashes and someone with speed and making big plays like CJ does, you jump sometimes when you see that hole open up. And then you sit and say, ‘Oh, what is he doing? What is he doing?’ But, I think, as you get experience in this league, every single back gets better and better at knowing when to take it up in there and when to take it out based on the situation or how the defense is playing. I think everyone learns to an extent as they keep playing.

Q: Can you talk about what you like about the starting offense lineman?

A: I probably wouldn’t compare them [to last year’s group] because that’s really not fair. I would say, if anything, when you look back at training camp, one of the things was that we couldn’t get that right until Cordy [Glenn] came back. When I say right, meaning the best five out there. That took a little time for us to do. If I had my druthers I would have much rather that happen very early in training camp, as all of us will. But I will say that they’ve worked well together. Chris Williams has done a nice job in there. Erik Pears has really been good. I think what you’re going to see from them is getting better and better as the year goes on. That happens and you need that from everyone. But they need to come out and play well. It’s a good group. It’s big, both tackles can move well as they’re athletic, both of the guards [are athletic]. We’re pretty athletic even though we have some size.. Our challenge will be how powerful we can be.

Q: Chris Williams wasn’t on the injury report. Is that an indication that he’s healthy and ready to go?

A: He was practicing today. I’m not going to guess what’s going to happen tomorrow. He was practicing today.

Q: You said that when he got back the left guard spot was his.. Does that still hold true?

A: Absolutely. Yes.

Q: What’s something new you’ve learned about Mike Williams in the last three months?

A: I didn’t know we could have so many conversations socially. Do you know what I’m saying? I felt that it was a great situation for us to bring him back, to come back. I think players, when some things happen to them whether it’s right, wrong or indifferent, they come back home and they think about it and they dream about it. There’s a lot more pressure on them to perform and do well. Mike has always been a great man, even when I was with him at Syracuse. It’s just a matter of when you get older you grow up, you learn some things, we both learned some things and  he’s done a very, very good job. He’s been very, very good for this football team. He works extremely hard in practice, which helps. He is a willing blocker, which you’re looking for. He has a toughness about him. He can make plays and he has fun at practice and I think that’s what we needed.

Q: When you look back on your time at Syracuse, were you just two different people at that juncture?

A: I really can’t speak for Mike, but I would’ve done things differently. I would’ve handled things differently.

Q: How?

A: I’d rather keep that to myself on what I would’ve done or not. I wish I had been able to have the team where I wanted the team at that time. Again, we’re talking about Syracuse University and not the Buffalo Bills. But I wish I had the team where I wanted to at that time, early on. And then I think I could’ve handled things differently. I made the decision based on what I need from that team in that moment in time.

Q: How much of a problem do the Bears receivers present, especially if Stephon Gilmore isn’t 100 percent?

A: I think they would be a tough matchup no matter what; to anyone in the league. You’re talking about height, you’re talking about guys who can go get the ball, you’re talking about a quarterback [Jay Cutler] that’s going to be able to throw it to them. So when you look at it overall, the two outside guys [Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey] and the tight end [Martellus Bennett] and don’t sleep on the running back coming out of the backfield, they’re probably, from a skills standpoint, one of the toughest, if not the toughest matchups that you can face.

Q: Do you change how you cover those guys based on the penalties call in the preseason?

A: The penalties actually went down quite a bit from week one to week three and week four. Those penalties have gone down and the officials are going to call penalties and we’re going to do everything we can as coaches to make sure that we abide by those rules. So it’s not really going to change.

Q: Why do you think the penalties went down from preseason week one to preseason week four?

A: I just think it was the officials and the players knowing what was going to be emphasized and what was going to be called.

Q: Not saying that the Bears are the same team as last year but does it help in Jim Schwartz’s preparation and going against that offense to at least be familiar and having scouted them to at least be in the same division and having played them twice a year? 

A: Yeah, absolutely.  With Jim being on the defensive side of the ball and Todd Downing on the offensive side of the ball for us, having to play in that division this year, that’s a great help for us.

Q: For you personally, going into year two, with this being your second season opener, how are you different as a head coach in year two?  How do you feel with last year being new for you?

A: For me, last year I just had a check list with offense, defense and special teams and not spending some of the time where I wanted to spend some of the time on being able to help and contribute and now I feel much more comfortable and I’m able to contribute more.

Q:  Is there a possibility of getting CJ Spiller involved in kick returns?

A: Possibly, yes.  Absolutely.

Q: How do you weight the risk there using one of your best offensive weapons on special teams?

A: What’s the risk?  I look at it as how many guys have been injured returning the football compared to how many guys have been injured with the ball being handed off to them.  I don’t look at it as a risk as maybe some people would, but I can understand how maybe some people could see that because of the distance and the way some people are running down the field, I understand that.  Again, I don’t look at it that way.  As much as we can get our playmakers out there whether it be punt returns or kick returns…whichever way we have to do it, we have to make sure we explore that.

Q: Given the relative new pieces on offense, how would you assess the offense schematically from preseason heading into the regular season?

A: Progress.  We’re growing.  That’s the way I would assess it.  What are the answers to the assessment here?  Are you looking to say, “Where we are now to where we’re going to be?” or schematically or things that can be done differently?

Q: Did you show much of your offense in the preseason?

A: We didn’t game plan at all.

Q: Coming into the season, are you confident with the schematics that are in place?

A: Yes I am.  Absolutely.

Q: Are we going to see anything new?

A: I’ll let you guys watch it and see and we’ll see how it goes.

QB EJ Manuel

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q: How much better are you at handling outside criticism this year compared to last year?

A: I’m just focusing on the task at hand.  We play Chicago this week, that’s the main focus for myself, the main focus for our team.  I’ve just been keeping that first priority.

Q: How difficult has it been to maintain that focus knowing that there are a lot of pressures going into this season?

A: Yeah, well it’s always pressure.  It’s the NFL.  Our team, we want to do great.  We have weapons, we have a bunch of talent so I think it’s about, like I said, focusing on what’s most important right now and that’s just preparing for Chicago and making sure we go out there and do what we need to do offensively.

Q: After the fans and media saw what happened in the preseason, why should people be more confident about you and your play now that the regular season is here?

A: Well I think being able to show that on Sunday is huge.  Coming out there in a regular season game, it’s a huge game, Chicago has a great defense, great offense and special teams.  I think it’s a huge  match-up for us.  I think I need to go out there and continue to prepare this week and that’s why I say I want to continue to focus on Chicago because that’s the most important thing to me.  I can’t control what’s happened in the past.  You have to move and look forward.  Chicago is our first opportunity for this regular season and we want to come out there and start it off how we want to.

Q: Given what the offense failed to do in the preseason in terms of reaching the end zone, did you get enough done?  Were there some disappointments there?

A: Well the fact that we had an extra week definitely gave us a lot of practice time and whether it was in the game or in practice, I think we had a lot of good things going for us and certainly some things that we needed to fix going into this week.  I’m feeling very positive about the Chicago week.  I like our game plan going into what they do defensively so I’m excited about it.

Q: How long have you been looking at the Bears?  Has is it been a couple weeks now that you’ve been looking at them?  Like you said, you don’t really game plan in the preseason so have you spent some time looking at them during the last couple of weeks?

A: Yes sir.  Really two weeks now.  Probably starting out during that last week, that Detroit week of the preseason I shifted my focus toward Chicago and I didn’t play very much in that game anyway, but we still watched a bunch of film and a bunch of tape on Chicago so it’s good to have almost a two week jump on those guys preparing for this Sunday.

Q: How much has Kyle Orton helped in the short time he’s been here?

A: He’s been a huge help in the film room with Jeff and me..  When the coach isn’t there, he’s offered some of that veteran experience and some things that he’s done and other quarterbacks that he’s been around while he’s been in the league.  He’s been a huge help for me with certain things that he may see on the film or he may look for on the film, he may pass down to me so he’s been a huge help.

Q: Do you like this opener and the fact that it’s on the road and you’re probably going to face some adversity?  Do you feel like it’s a good opportunity to learn about the team and the offense?

A:  Definitely.  It’s a huge opportunity.  I’ve never been to Chicago.  It’s my first time playing at Soldier Field.  It’s obviously going to be loud because it’s the season opener.  They have a great team but we have a great team too so I think it’s going to be a huge matchup for us and I’m excited to see us come out and play.

Q: In terms of schematics, you guys didn’t open up your playbook very much in the preseason.  How would you compare the regular season playbook versus the preseason playbook?

A: It’s quite different.  I think there’s a bunch of formations and different gadgets going into this game but nonetheless we still have the basis of our offense, we still want to move the ball, we want to run the ball, we want to have play action, we want to also throw the ball down field with the vertical passing game.  That’s why I said, I’m excited to get into this game because it’s a true game plan week.  We really put in a lot of work and Coach Hackett has a great plan for these guys and I think it’s just a matter of executing what he has for us.

Q: Does it concern you that you still haven’t had your five offensive lineman starting together yet?

A: Not really.  I think the O-line’s done a great job..  Those guys are working extremely hard every day making sure that we communicate back and forth.  I know communication has been a huge thing that I’ve talked about in the past couple of press conferences just picking up these protections and things like that.  E-Wood’s done a great job leading those guys and whether we have a rookie: Seantrel’s been doing a great job or a veteran guy like Chris come back from an injury or whatever it may have been…he’s been doing a great job getting back.  Those guys have been busting their tails and making sure they’ll be ready to go by this Sunday.

Q: What do you make of some people raising questions of why you weren’t voted captain?

A: Well I think you have to earn your stripes in the NFL.  I didn’t start the whole season, we didn’t win and we didn’t win as many games as we would’ve wanted to so I just attribute it to earning your stripes.  I think all the guys that got voted captain, at least the guys that I voted for, they’re veteran guys and they’ve so called, “earned their stripes in the NFL,”  they’ve played for a bunch of seasons so I just think that’s something I have to work toward and just use that as motivation.

Q: Does that become an objective then because that is really the quarterback’s role to earn their stripes?

A: Of course because as a quarterback, you automatically assume leadership just because you’re the quarterback and I know I’ve done a good job in terms of leadership and I know my teammates feel the same way, but nonetheless you have to earn your stripes to get that “C” on your chest and on your jersey every Sunday and I’m just going to continue to use it as motivation and get a full year under my belt and play all 16 games, I think I’ll be able to do that next year.

Q: A lot of quarterbacks earn their stripes from wins and making the playoffs.  Is that where you feel you need to be?

A: Exactly.  I just owe it to earning your stripes.  Nothing’s going to be handed to you in life and nothing’s going to be handed to you in the NFL.  You have to work hard for it and I’m just going to continue to allow it to motivate myself and be better for my teammates.

Q: Along the lines of what John is talking about there, after you look at everything you went through last year; your time you did spend on the field, your injury, the offseason, and the preseason, what’s the biggest difference in you now?  Whether it’s your experience or your approach as you head into year two?

A:  I’m more comfortable with the offense.  We didn’t put in a whole lot of plays in the preseason games but like I said the things that we put in and the gadgets we put in for this game, I’m very excited about. We’ve had confidence and we’ve had success out there on the practice field against the looks that Chicago will probably be giving us so that’s what gives me confidence knowing that if we practice hard and put in the time during the week, it’ll pay off on Sunday. I think just having that first year under my belt and staying here in the facility until 8, 9 o’clock whatever it may be to make sure you get a full gist of what they’re going to do defensively, that’s what gives you your confidence knowing that you’re prepared and you put in the work.

Q: What are the areas that the Bears’ defense presents some of the toughest challenges?

A: Overall they’re veteran players.  Lance Briggs is very good and the D-line that they brought in; Houston and Jared Allen are going to be very good on the edge so I know it’s going to be a great test for Cordy and Seantrel on the outside.  They plan a lot of man defense so our receivers are going to have work hard at getting open on these man concept routes and things that we have going in for those guys so I think overall, across the board it’s going to be a huge matchup for us.

Q: Are you excited about the speed if it is man coverage?

A: Very excited.  I think that’s definitely something that we can take advantage and we just have to be good on third down and have to be great in the red zone and I think that’s what will help us get W’s.  

Q: How would you respond to the criticism that you’re not going through you’re not going through your progressions all the way, check downs, especially last season…are you different from that?  How do you respond to people who think that?

A: Well I just focus on what I need to focus on and that’s being in Chicago. That’s the first thing.  I don’t focus on answering criticism or anything like that.  I think that if we win games, that’ll leave it at everything.

Q: Is there any worry that because Sammy’s injury limited him in the last half of the preseason that you guys won’t have that game before knowing where he’s going to be or when he’s going to be there?

A: I don’t think so.  I think Sammy’s been working extremely hard making sure he’ll be ready for Sunday so I don’t worry about that. 

DT Marcell Dareus

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: Do you view this as a potential tone setter for you guys?

A: Every game is a tone setter. It’s just the first step, the first step of many.

Q: What do you see from the Chicago offense?

A: They have a lot of weapons and they can go anywhere with it. We just have to anchor down and do the best we can to be prepared for whatever their going to throw at us.

Q: Everyone keeps talking about Forte as an underrated running back; obviously he has your guy’s attention

A: I’m pretty sure he’s on everybody’s radar if they’re about to play the Chicago Bears. Forte is a big part of their offense, he generates a lot of force, a lot of energy from the fans and he demands it from their offense. He’s a big part of their offense and of course he gets a lot of our attention because he’s the man with the ball.

Q: The ball comes out very quick too, Cutler doesn’t hang on too it very long. It seems like he’s all about rhythm.

A: He’s very confident with the ball. He has the arm for it and if he feels like he can squeeze it in their he’s going to do his best.

DE Jerry Hughes

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: The sack numbers, you will be happy if the numbers aren’t as high if you can improve the other numbers right?

A: Right, more wins. With fewer sacks if we get 10 plus wins and an AFC East championship I don’t think anybody in this room is going to be complaining by any means.

Q: Can you talk about what the Bears present?

A: They have a lot of explosive weapons on offense. We know they’re going to try to come out and establish those guys early. We know that they can score points. It’s a home game for them so we know that history with Chicago football and how they tend to be Week One for their home opener. With that being said, we know what we have to do, to just go out there and execute our game plan and stay tight on our film this week and just go out there and get ready for the test. It’s going to come one way or another, but I’m pretty sure everybody in this building is excited to get this season started. It’s going to be fun.

Q:  How much do you think big plays can really change the game? You guys proved last year that you can really be a big play defense..

A: We know that big plays can change the game a lot. But we know the game is going to come down to the fourth quarter, whoever is going to make the least amount of errors, whoever is going to go out there and verbally communicate when their tired. We know it’s going to come down to the fourth quarter and were getting prepared mentally and physically for that to happen.

CB Stephon Gilmore

Wednesday September 3, 2014

Q: Coach said you were limited today in practice, how are you feeling?

A: I feel pretty good. Getting my feet (under me) and just going out there and playing hard.

Q: Don’t feel like there is going to be any problem with playing Sunday?

A: No I don’t think so. Just going out there, getting better, and just being smart.

Q: Do you guys feel like you had enough time on the field to just kind of tighten it all down and be ready for the regular season?

A: Yeah I feel like we will be ready to go. We just have to take care of ourselves, take care of our bodies and go out and compete. It’s the whole defense that has to go out there and play, not just us. But we have to hold up on the back end and make plays, and the D-line has got to rush and the linebackers have to play ball. That’s what we have to do.

Q: When you have a quarterback who get it out as quick as Cutler does, has the arm strength that he does, how does that change what you guys do on the back end if at all?

A: A guy like him, he’s going to let it go no matter what. He trusts his guys to make plays so we will have a lot of opportunities to make plays and create turnovers. That’s my main goal, going up and getting the ball against their guys because he has trust in his guys to go up and get it on us.

Q: Do you guys feel like you have the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed where you feel like you’re ready for the season even though it’s a new system?

A: I think the back end pretty much is the same thing. It’s the same thing cover the guy, tackle the guy, and know your assignments so I think we will be good.

RB Fred Jackson

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: You have been around many quarterback changes. You know what’s in store for second year players, entering their second year here, that do need to show something, right?

A: (EJ Manuel) said it himself, he has to earn his stripes, and he has to go out there and make plays for us and lead for us and put guys in situations to make plays. We expect that from him. He knows everybody in this locker room is behind him and we’re going to do everything we can as teammates to make his job easier. We don’t want him to feel like that it is all on him and he’s got to do it all by himself. When you get guys pressing too much like that it can have an adverse effect so all we have to do is go out there in the running game and take some pressure off of him, establish that and give him some play action passes and things like that. The pressure won’t all be on him, it’s a lot of pressure on him, but it’s not all on him. We all have to make this thing go as well.

Q: What gives you confidence that as an offense, this thing can turn on this weekend?

A: We’re confident in everybody in this locker room. We’re confident in what their abilities are. We didn’t game plan anybody. We went in with very vanilla playbooks, didn’t break down defenses, certain situation and things like that. Its game week, we’re going to do that now. We’re going to try to attack tendencies and things like that so knowing that and the guys that we have and the plays their capable of making, we feel like we can score against anybody in this league.

Q: Does it feel like this game is just taking forever to get here?

A: It feels like it’s been forever since we have played a regular season game. Having five preseason games and a long training camp, it feels like it’s been a while. We’re all excited about it, we get to go out there and prove ourselves so we’re looking forward to it. Everybody in this locker room has had this date circled on their calendar. It’s time for us to go out there and prove ourselves, and we got a great team to do it against.

DE Manny Lawson

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: How much does it help to have a coach that has been in that division the past five years? He knows the Bears.

A: He knows them very well. He knows their tendencies, he knows their strengths, and he also knows their weaknesses. Therefore, were going to try to exploit them.

Q: How deep is this defensive line?

A: Very deep, I think all across the board. Especially up front and just our defense in general. We can substitute guys at any point at any particular time and not lose a beat. We don’t have to come up with something else because we substituted a guy. Our guys step in and we are just as good as the first team.

Q: Personally, how have you embraced your role?

A: Just by taking it with my head on straight. Whatever they ask me to do that’s what I’ll do.  As far as this defense goes, as far as this scheme goes I’m going to put myself and hope the coaches will put me in a position to make plays and that’s all I’m here to do.

WR Sammy Watkins

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q: Sammy, how are you feeling?

A: I’m feeling pretty good. Great practice, everything went well for the offense and defense and everybody worked.

Q: Would you say your 100% or just not there yet? What would you say, are you ready to play Sunday?

A: Yeah, I’m ready to play. With the ribs you don’t know, whether you feel one hundred percent one day, or eighty, ninety. Until I get that first hit, that will explain it all. Now I know how it feels to get hit, and what the outcome will be. A lot of pain, losing your breath but it’s not going to take me out of the game. Just get a breather and come back in.

Q: What number are you at now?

A: I don’t know. I feel good practicing and running around catching balls and doing the things I’ve been doing. With the ribs you just never know when it hurts or when it doesn’t you just have to move on from it.

Q: Is it something that is in your mind at all, or is it just when you get popped or something?

A: Yeah, it’s when you get hit. When I’m out there running around, I don’t feel it. I’m out there basically just practicing and getting my job done. Thinking about it, I got hit the other day and it felt pretty funny but now I know what it takes and how it feels.

Q: How excited are you for your first NFL game?

A: Very excited. We’re playing against a great staff and organization and it will be a big win for us.

S Aaron Williams

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: Do you feel like this could be a tone setter for you guys?

A: Absolutely. You always want to come out there and set the tone for the season, not just for one drive or the first half. You want to come out of the gates and come in hot. We’re preparing ourselves well; we had a great day of practice. One of the best we have had coming off a fresh week and I feel like our preparation is there.

Q: Giving up big plays, is that something you guys have made a conscious effort to worry about?

A: Absolutely and especially for a vertical team like the Bears are. They love taking shots down the field and Cutler has a lot of respect and trust in 15 (Brandon Marshall) and 17 (Alshon Jeffery). I feel like our matchups are there, I have no problem with Leodis, and Stephon, and Robey and whoever else is in the game for us to matchup with the guys across from us.

DE Mario Williams

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: You’re going to play one of the best offenses in the league in the opener, it will be quite a test for you guys.

A: We’re happy to play. A game is a game; you should have the same feeling for each game. It’s very important.

Q: Were you honored to be a voted a captain?

A: Yeah, definitely. To have your peers look at you like a captain and put you in that position is great, I’m really excited. But at the same time, everybody knows that they have to be a leader.

Q: What gives you the confidence that this defense has a chance to be better this year under Coach Schwartz?

A: The biggest thing is the athletes in this room. We definitely can get it done. It’s all about the attitude, going out and executing and getting it done. It’s as simple as making plays, not missing your assignments and tackling the guy with the ball.

Q: As starters you guys were successful against the run this preseason. Does that give you encouragement that maybe that problem has been addressed?

A: I guess you could say that, but I don’t take anything from the preseason to this. To me, this is live bullets, this is real. That’s how I see it. At the end of the day you could stop the run every play or you could give up the run every play. This is Sunday now, so you can’t take that to the season.

C Eric Wood

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Q: What do you see from their defense that makes them better or more capable of stopping the run, which is your strength?

A: I think they’ve done a good job this preseason. Their starting defensive line is excellent, linebackers: everybody knows (Lance) Briggs, but they all seem to be playing pretty good. Their safeties help out with the run. To me, it’s not evident to me why they would’ve struggled so badly, but we obviously didn’t play them last year.  We’ve looked at their scheme from last year but a lot of our focus is on their guys up front for this year.

Q: How much does the run game need to become a factor to take the load off of EJ Manuel?

A: We try to be a balanced offense; we’re always going to strive to do that. If our run game stinks, it’s not always a good day..  We’re going to get teed off on upfront and that’s not good for us and the defensive backs know the pass is coming. The emphasis is going to be on the run, but our emphasis overall is to stay balanced.

Q: Four running backs on your roster, would you agree that the key guy of those 4 is CJ?

A: Yeah, I have confidence in all four of those guys. Obviously C.J. (Spiller) is a heck of a player and we all know that and we want to get him the ball a lot. He’s explosive, he’s strong, he’s a great player but when any of those four comes into the huddle, I’ve got a lot of confidence in our running game.

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