(How do you feel about the defensive line situation?)
Our defensive line health situation, I think it's starting to clear itself up. Johnny Jolly practiced today, and I think he felt better as the practice went on. Cullen Jenkins I think is going to be OK. Ryan Pickett is the furthest away, and we'll take him all the way up until gametime. B.J. looks to be doing OK also.
(If Ryan can't go, do you need to bring up a defensive lineman from the practice squad or can you get by?)
Those are options, but we're preparing for B.J. to play the nose position. He's been working there, and we feel good about giving these guys a chance to come all the way back in the next 48 hours. But that's definitely an option.
(How did Barnett look today?)
Nick Barnett was a full participant in practice and he looked fine.
(So you're not discouraged with Pickett? You're hopeful maybe he can go?)
I talked to Ryan at the middle part of practice before he came up top to conclude his rehab, and we're going to take him all the way to the game. I'm going to visit with him when he gets to the locker room at Soldier Field, and we may or may not work him out. We're going to use the next 48 hours. We're going to give him a chance to go.
(What kind of week did Tramon Williams have in practice after that tough outing?)
Tramon Williams is probably one of our most professional young players. He's the individual that takes excellent notes in the meetings. He's always doing extra, whether it's special teams or defense, and that did not change this week. I hope they go after Tramon Williams. I hope they throw the ball in our secondary. We like our secondary. We like the ability we have back there to play the football, and that's part of the game. Our secondary is going to be tested this week just like it is every week. I'm aware of the penalties, but he'll continue to compete and he'll continue to play that position. I have all the trust in him. He's playing opposite of Charles Woodson, so I think it's only natural that he'll probably get more opportunities. But there's not a defensive back on the team that doesn't want the opponent to throw the football, and that hasn't changed.
(Normally when you want to work on something, you can do a drill. What about Tramon's case? Can you practice him being a target like he could be in future games?)
I think we've been going at this just this year alone since March. We've had a lot of opportunities to practice the different skill sets for every one of our players. We continue to do individual drills throughout the season, and I think that's a big part of winning games in December. Having fundamentals part of your practice structure, and you don't give it up, which is easy to do when your team gets beat up and it gets later in the year. Those things are in place. I have all the confidence in the world in Tramon and our other players to play with good sound fundamentals because it's something that we do every day.
(Did Tramon have as tough an outing as it appeared, or did he play better than he's getting credit for and just a couple of calls didn't go his way?)
Well, it's ironic that we're sitting here talking about Tramon Williams in the Baltimore game because of his penalties. But he made the two biggest plays in the game in my view. He made the interception in the end zone, which takes points away from Baltimore, but he also chased down the long kickoff return. Those are two huge plays in that game, and he should be recognized for that. That's a part of grading your players. You grade every single play, you grade their technique, you grade their production, and we're very happy with Tramon.
(How did you grade those pass interference penalties?)
Really they're competitive penalties. There's some technical aspects of it that we'll continue to stress like we do every day.
(How big a concern is kickoff coverage with the Bears having two threats back there?)
I think that special teams as a whole is our biggest challenge, offensively and defensively. There's a lot of familiarity, but they've done a good job against us on special teams. We felt like we played very well in the opener in Week 1, but if you just go back to the game down there last year, special teams was a huge part of that football game. We felt at one point we were controlling, and then they made a few plays, got back in the game, and then we had an opportunity to win it there at the end of the fourth quarter and did not. Kickoff return, kickoff coverage, all the way through, they've been very good on special teams, and that still holds true for Sunday's contest.
(Are you staying with Jordy on punt return?)
Jordy, yes, he'll continue to do the punt return.
(How do you feel about how this team is built to compete in 2010 and beyond?)
Not really thinking about it right now. But I would think you'd have to say we feel very positive. We're the youngest team in the league. With that, it means we have growth and the ability to get better and continue to improve. I've said it before, it's a title we'd like to give up here soon, being the youngest team. But yeah, I think our days are very bright down the road. But I'm not really thinking about 2010 right now.