(Any update on Chad?)
Chad Clifton, I just had an opportunity to watch Chad go through a workout. He's making progress. He will go through a workout Monday over there in the dome. Whatever status that puts him in, that's what we're looking at.
(Are you still considering him as a starter?)
That's something that I'd like to determine Monday.
(Is it more complicated than just saying 90 percent of Chad is better than the alternative?)
I think that's convenient conversation. Personally, I don't know how you judge that, when individuals say they're 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent. There were some things that he did in his workout today that were very encouraging compared to the workout he was put through two days ago, and there's a couple things that we need to see him do Monday. And if I see what I like, and Dr. Pat McKenzie is OK with it from a medical standpoint, he'll have an opportunity to play in the game.
(So you'd start him if ...)
I'm not there yet. Once he gets past the health part of it, ... I fully anticipate Daryn Colledge starting at left tackle, if you're looking for a statement.
(Were they worried about him aggravating it in the walk-through?)
I was more worried about getting Daryn ready. It's more getting Daryn ready to play. Chad's played a lot of left tackle. It's really not taking the opportunities and the reps away from Daryn Colledge.
(How confident are you in Daryn going against Jared Allen?)
I'm confident in Daryn Colledge. I think fully another week of practice being out there. He has experience playing left tackle. He's up for the challenge. I think he's really improved with each practice. He looks a lot more comfortable this week than he was last week.
(Did Raji look any better today?)
Yes, I thought so. I thought he practiced well. I'm curious to see how he feels in the morning. I would anticipate that he'll go, unless we have a setback in the morning.
(Are you glad this part of the week is over and the game is just on the horizon?)
Fridays are really always the same for me personally because now you know you're getting close to the final chapter of the week. Frankly I always believe Friday is more about the players than the coaches. Wednesday's and Thursday's practice, which is obviously Thursday and Friday this week - I know today is Saturday if you're worried that I don't know what day it is - but it's the fact that they're getting ready to play the game. Everything's in, it's kind of your last dress rehearsal and so forth. I feel good about where we are. The media part of it, that's all part of the game. It's a big game for a lot of different reasons. It's an exciting game. It really is still only our fourth game. We're in tune with all that.
(You've had good and not-so-good practice weeks. How did the team practice this week?)
I thought that the two padded practices were good practices. I was not particularly happy about today's practice, but it was more about our opponent squads. We didn't do a very good job frankly. We'll get that fixed for Detroit. We had some players that play other positions not natural to them, and it just showed up more today than it has in the past. We had some repeated plays today because of that.
(Is that why you were a little longer than normal?)
(Are you happy with what you're getting out of the tight ends? The receptions maybe haven't been there, but the all-around play with the blocking?)
I think so. I think Donald Lee clearly is playing much better than he did both in run-blocking and pass-protection part of it. I thought Jermichael Finley has had winning performances two of three times in the blocking part of it. I really like the way those two guys are playing. Yes, I'd like to get them the ball more often. That's always the case when you look at your perimeter guys. Also they play with a very good wide receiver corps. I think they're off to solid starts, both of those guys.
(Does Jolly seem to be OK?)
Yes, Johnny practiced today, so I think he'll be fine.
(You have a short flight and then it seems like forever until you actually play. Is it a challenge to keep everyone focused and occupied?)
I think there's two schools of thought when you take your team on the road. I've been part of programs that feel you needed to use up all their time. I don't believe that. I believe in making the road as close as you can, as similar as you can to a home weekend. So we finish at exactly the same time on away games and home games as far as when we're done here and work on our Saturday schedule, which will be Sunday this week. We fly at the same time. I'm a big believer in that. I think continuity is very important. I do not have a problem getting to cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit early. I think it's important for our players to go to dinner together, no different than if it was a home game, with their families, and we just keep them on the same schedule. With the Monday night game, we'll have our walk-throughs in the morning. I think it's just important to stay on schedule, to keep your football team in a routine and not get to where you're hurrying to this place or hurrying to that place. To me, that's just added anxiety or stress that's not needed.
(Before the Bears game, you talked to the team about the history of the rivalry. Are you preparing anything extra for the Vikings in that regard?)
No, we'll meet tomorrow and then we'll be done here. We'll have our flight over there at 12:45. We have chapel at 8:30 tomorrow night and then we'll have our team meeting at 9 o'clock. It will be a pretty standard operation.
(Is there anything magical to your division record so far? You're 14-5 ...)
Yeah, I still can't get over some of the ones we've lost. But 14-5, it's a good record so far. We're really focused on the next one. We've won over there two out of the last three years and we're focused on making it three out of four. I think we're probably similar to most teams. Division games are very important. We spend time in the offseason on division games, we spend time in training camp on them. We put a big emphasis on it. We just try to play our best football.
(Does the bye week factor into the decision with Chad because he gets to rest after this game?)
I think it would be different if you were talking about a player that you didn't have as much history with or experience with. Chad's played a lot of football here. The medical staff is very familiar with him as far as coming off of injuries and so forth. I'm going to trust their opinion. This is my fourth year working with Chad, and if I think he can go on Monday night and I think he can contribute, then he'll contribute. But if he cannot, then we have two weeks to get him ready for Detroit. It's really as clear as that.