(Yesterday after the game you said you didn’t consider letting the Bears score at the end. Having thought about it more, do you change your stance on that?)
Decisions you make in game management, they’re options. It was an option at the time. It was the option that we chose not to make. I believe in our defense. Prior to that particular set of downs, a takeaway was something that we had a number of opportunities of being successful at. I made a decision not to, and I can’t change the decision. But that was definitely an option to let them score, and it is part of your game-management call sheet. But I can’t look back on it.
(How do you respond to the apparent confrontation between
Nick Collins’ incident in Chicago, I was made aware of it by our security department. I have not seen the video. I know the NFL is looking into the matter. I understand Nick’s story as far as what happened and what our security people that were there, and I support Nick 100 percent.
(Can you talk about what happened?)
I’m not going to talk about the specifics. That’s a league matter right now.
(Do you have a message for players in dealing with fans?)
Do I have a message? It’s a situation that, A, I was not there. I have an understanding of what happened. I think Nick addressed it after the game. You don’t want to get into interaction, particularly with opposing fans. It is an emotional time, particularly after a game, and I think it’s something that we can all learn from.
(Rodgers wasn’t sacked but he did a good job of moving around. How did you think the tackles played?)
Well, the offensive line going into the game, we knew we were going to put some stress on the tackles, and we tried to help them some. I thought the overall performance of the offense as far as the productivity moving the ball down the field, we definitely hit the target. The penalties, which directly affected our point production, is what cost us. People want to talk about the penalties, but two of the three holds were on interior linemen. I thought the tackles’ performance from a grade standpoint, they just did OK. We knew they were going to be stressed out, down in Soldier Field, loud environment against a prime player in Peppers. But as far as the opportunity to throw the ball as many times as we did in the game, I was very pleased with our ability to move the football.
(Are you concerned about how those guys are going to hold up given their age?)
Well, it’s really part of our roster design. Concerned? It’s all part of the navigation of a season. I think
(So at left tackle this week, will you take the same approach in practice as you did last week?)
Well, this week is going to be a challenge just because you’re coming off a Monday Night Football game, a big division game. Our practice is going to be very limited tomorrow. Thursday’s practice will be a shell practice. I don’t have the plan in place until really Pat McKenzie sees Chad in the morning. So I can’t tell you exactly what his rep plan is going to be, but it’s going to be limited.
(How did you come out as far as injuries?)
Injuries, we had the one new injury that I did not talk on yesterday was
(When you went back and watched the tape, how did you evaluate the run game?)
The run game? Well, I think you have to look at what’s the definition of the run game. I looked at this particular game going into it, the production of the running backs, and I felt that our running backs were productive. I thought Brandon and John played well with the opportunities that they were given with the ball in their hands and what was put in front of them. Productivity doesn’t always just come from the backfield. We went into the game with a specific run plan, they played us a certain way and we went to a little different direction, and I felt the ability to spread them out and deal the football, I thought
(Do you see those two splitting carries going forward?)
I would think so. I think I’ve talked about that every time we talk about the running back position. I think we have to be smart with Brandon and John, because those two have the experience to carry us forward. I don’t think it would be very smart to getting into running either one of them 25, 30 times. We have a lot of football in front of us. They have a lot of experience. They can play on all three downs. I think our staff has done a very good job from a game-planning standpoint of using those two on the different packages, and we’ll continue to go with that format as we move forward.
(Special teams had some issues yesterday. Is that an indication of a deeper problem there? Did they regress?)
We did not win the special-teams battle yesterday. We have had three opportunities this year. I’m not sure what you mean by deeper problem, if you want to be more specific about that.
(Just overall because there were so many problems…)
Going into the game, one of the key objectives for our football team, if you look at the past games against the Chicago Bears, the team that made the big play in special teams directly factored in the outcome of the game, and that was a key focus of ours. We obviously didn’t accomplish that. They made two big plays with the punt return and the blocked field goal in the game, so I think you have to really, like I do when I write down special teams, you start with the specialists. I thought their ball placement was better than ours. Their coverage units, they probably played better than ours. I thought our kickoff return was fine. We had the block in the back on the punt return that brought back the one return there on Tramon. It is the fundamentals that we really didn’t do a very good job of and we need to do a better job. Philadelphia, I thought we played very well. I thought we played well against Buffalo, a very good special-teams unit. Chicago is a very good special-teams unit. We need to take this opportunity and we’ll stay after the fundamental focus. That’s not going to change. Our volume is low, like it should be, and I think our players are getting better. We were challenged last week with all of the different players in and out on the depth chart. Every team goes through it. Special teams is the first group that is always hit. Hopefully we can do a better job of getting players repped at the positions they are going to be playing in games. That’s one thing that looking back on the week’s work that we discussed as a staff this week that I didn’t think we hit the mark on.
(Are Jackson and Kuhn good enough to take this team where they want to go?)
Yes. You ask me that every week. I like our running backs. We are going to use them accordingly to get the ball down the field. I’m not trying to sell something that is not true. Just because you don’t line up and run it 25 times from the ‘I’ doesn’t mean you are not committed to being productive with your running backs. If you look at the dynamics of our offensive personnel, we have the ability to play in a box offense. We have the ability to play in a spread offense. That is to our credit, and we’re going to utilize that the best we can to score points. We didn’t score enough points against Chicago. That’s my biggest disappointment in our offensive performance because I thought our quarterback play was definitely there to have a lot more point production than we came out of that game, and really the failure was the penalties.
I thought the offensive and defensive player in that particular situation were really in very similar positions. You get into judgment calls, you are banging your head against the wall. It’s the judgment call. Obviously they all saw it the same way; there were a number of flags thrown on that particular play. But when you are dealing with jump balls like that, the offensive and defensive player should have, it should be a 50-50 right to the football. Not the case on that particular play.
(On Hester’s punt return for a touchdown, did you think
Please, I’m not going to get into opinions of officials. Obviously nothing positive comes out of that. They made their calls. I am sure they have an evaluation process that they go through and you can ask them those questions.
(Are you leaning at all toward going with Bulaga this week over Clifton?)
Chad Clifton, it’s not a personnel issue. Chad is our starting left tackle. It’s not a performance issue with Chad, it’s a medical issue. So if he is medically ready, he’ll play. Now, if it affects his performance issue, then we’ll deal with it at that time, but I’m not at that mindset right now.
(Have you looked at the penalties overall, some of the unnecessary roughness ones. Was there a pattern there?)
I looked at all the penalties. We had a meeting about all of the penalties. We have a process that we go through when you send them into the league, just like every team does every week. There are some of them, they are gray area calls and there are some you just have to live with. A perfect example is