(Is there an update on Chad Clifton?)
Chad Clifton is getting treatment right now. With the extra day, we'll see if he'll be ready for Thursday practice. Dr. McKenzie is not sure yet. He feels better today than he did yesterday.
(You said yesterday that he didn't look good; could you be more specific in what you saw?)
Didn't look healthy. Chad has been having an issue with his knee, and we need to get him healthy. I thought it was affecting the way he was playing.
(You have been careful with him, giving him rest. What does Dr. McKenzie say is going on?)
He's played a lot of football. He's had a number of surgeries, both knees, shoulders, and it's some wear-and-tear. We just feel that we need to treat him accordingly. They're trying different things, and hopefully he'll be ready for Chicago. There's really nothing else to talk about.
(If he isn't 100 percent, are you better off waiting until he is?)
What is 100 percent? This is the National Football League. We'll evaluate Chad. We have a lot of history with Chad. The medical staff has a lot of history with Chad, and when we get him to the point where we feel he's ready to go, he'll go. He's our starting left tackle. He's battling through a rough spot right now medically. We have Bryan Bulaga getting ready. I thought Bryan played well with his opportunity yesterday.
(Is it nice to have an extra day of preparation if you need to get Bulaga ready?)
It helps you. It helps you, one more day of preparation. We'll take advantage of that, and I'm sure Bryan will take a lot of the practice reps this week. We'll make sure Bryan's ready, and we'll do what we need to do to get Chad ready.
(How did the run-blocking look after watching the film?)
Watched the tape. I thought the run game was OK. Kind of consistent with what I said yesterday after the game. Particularly I thought the front-side blocking was where it needs to be. I think it can get a little cleaner, do a little better job on the backside, and when you get that coordinated I think that cleans it up for the backs. We missed some decisions. But I thought overall as far as the run-blocking unit and the running from the backs, we were just OK, solid.
*(Aaron said after the game it was good enough to set up the play-action pass. Is that the litmus test until you can get somebody going in that position?) *It always starts up front, and I'm fully aware of what the numbers are. But if you don't run the football effectively, on paper, it affects half of your passing game. Because as we plan and game-plan for teams, you start with your run game and then you go through your action passing game and then you have your drop-back game. It's no different going into a team that we're getting ready to play with Chicago. You have to have the ability to run the football, because they do a very good job the way their defense is built against drop-back passing. I'm not looking to run the ball just to set up the pass. I'm sure some of you may disagree with me. When we run it, we want to run it very well. When we want to throw it, we want to throw it well. But you talk to any offensive lineman, when you're kicking and sitting, doing drop-back all day and don't have any threat of play-action or any attempts of action passing game in your game plan, that's tough duty for an offensive lineman.
(Joe Philbin was saying he didn't want to go from Jackson having just a few carries to 25. Is that kind of your approach, to build him up to be the feature back, or to go by committee?)
Frankly, if you take the snaps the way we've played here in the past, it has been by committee. Now, whether the run game was not because Ryan Grant had the bulk of it, really our plan of how we utilize the running backs as far as how many plays they play in the game is very similar to our approach to the past. Now, Ryan Grant didn't play on third down all the time. Brandon Jackson does. I never had an intent and will not going further to see Brandon Jackson carry the ball 30 times in a game. Brandon also plays on third down and plays a lot in our sub packages. It's a long season. We're not trying to play one running back 55, 60 plays in the game and have the other two or three sit on the sideline. We've never played that way.
(Did you see any opportunities missed for explosive runs?)
I think if you sit there and freeze the film and say, 'Oh, my goodness, there is a hole there,' but I can't also project if the defender is not going to get off the block as he gets on to the second level. It is the responsibility of the run-blocking unit to create the opportunity for the running back to get to the second level, and the second level is on the running back. That's the way we look at it. We were OK. It was not to the standard that we feel we can play. We need to do a much better job as we get ready for Chicago.
(Can you talk about the strides the special teams have made in the first two games?)
We have played two games. I was pleased with the special teams until the end there. They had the sideline returns that came out against our kickoff coverage that we were very effective earlier in the game with. Just had a couple of individuals that did not get off blocks, lane integrity and things like that, but I think overall we are off to a good start. You can go through each phase and I think that is a big part of coaching. When you are trying to accomplish improvement in a certain area, you emphasize it. We have obviously spent more time in the area of special teams. We have changed some things we do schematically and fundamentally in special teams and so far in two games we are off to a good, solid start, but there is still a lot of football left.
(How about Jordy Nelson…it seems like things have started to click with him?)
I think we are doing a better job tailoring to Jordy too. Our kickoff returns are more suited for Jordy Nelson's return style too, and I think that is part of the adjustments I felt that we made in the offseason. I think Jordy has been making very good reads with the football, and I think we are doing a much better job fundamentally of blocking in the return game than we did last year. As has already been stated, the holding penalties were a big negative for us last year and it is all about fundamentals. I can't say enough, our players have done a very good job with the fundamental work and we need to continue to get better.
(Can you explain what you mean by tailoring it for Nelson?)
I think it is obvious. I think certain returners are better at certain schemes. It's no different than zone blocking and pattern blocking as we like to talk about in here in the run game. It is no different in the return game.
(How do you prepare for Chicago with a new coordinator in Mike Martz?)
We have two games of regular season to look at Mike Martz's offense. From what I am told, they were conservative in the preseason but we'll still look at that. We spent time in the offseason looking at our division games. These are the most important games. This is a huge rivalry game, Monday Night Football. We'll be ready for that, but Mike has a history in this league. There are things that he likes to do. He has done a good job everywhere he has been. Dom Capers has a history, and we'll just look at all of those things and come up with a good game plan.
(Do you expect anybody to miss practice to start the week?)
Chad, we'll see how he responds to treatment. Brad Jones, I think he is going to be OK. He may be limited Thursday. Nick Collins with the hip flexor, we'll probably be smart with him on Thursday and Friday. But other than that, I think we are going to be OK. I'm still waiting for more information on Desmond Bishop and Korey Hall, and hopefully Mike Neal can go too.
(Was Raji's injury a minor thing?)
I just saw B.J. I think he is going to be fine.
(On the challenge…?)
It was a bad challenge.
(Was the clock running down?)
No, it was a bad challenge. I should have never challenged it. The clock was running down. I got some advice that I shouldn't have taken, especially when the guy in my ear was telling me that he was out of bounds. So it was a poor challenge, I shouldn't have challenged it. My intent was just to take the timeout. We were down to six seconds on the 40-second clock when I made the decision. I should have taken a timeout there.