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Conference Call: Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith

Posted Oct 31, 2012

BEARS HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH

(on if it was good to win last week despite not playing their best)

Yeah, we’ve been asked a lot of those questions. I think it’s pretty simple: the best team wins each week, and sometimes you’re pleased with everything that you did during the course of the game, but most of the time you’re not. There’s some things that we didn’t do well, but we always talk about finishing, and we finished in the fourth quarter.

(on if he things playing well in the fourth quarter is an attribute of the team)

I think, yes, we finish well and for the most part, we’ve played pretty good ball throughout. We didn’t play our best ball throughout this past week. You have to give Carolina a lot of credit for that too, but we just keep telling our guys it is a 60-minute game, and you need to go through a game like this past one for guys to really see that.

(on how important the defense and turnover ratio have been to compensate for inconsistency on offense)

Well, we also tell the team that through the course of a 16-game season, from what I’ve seen through the years, is there will be games when the offense has to carry the defense, the defense has to carry the offense, and special teams have to help us win the game. So, early on during the year, the defense has played outstanding ball, but that turnover ratio has been, I mean, that’s a team statistic. We have protected the football for the most part, offensively, had pretty good ball protection, ball security, but defensively there is a mindset around here, guys know how important it is to take the ball away and just not take the ball away. Our first goal defensively is to score, just like it is with offense and special teams.

(on Tim Jennings having six interceptions in just seven games)

I just know that the guy worked awful hard in the offseason to improve on some things he didn’t do well last year, and he was in position a lot of times and he didn’t make the catch. He’s really worked on his hands a lot. Tim Jennings really has had an outstanding year this first half, or these first seven games. You know, six interceptions, one touchdown, and he tipped the ball on two other plays where we intercepted the ball, and he’s a tackler. So our cornerbacks, Charles Tillman, too, and our secondary, Major Wright and Chris Conte, they’ve all played well.

(on if the interception by Tim Jennings against Carolina is one of the best he’s seen)

Well, that one definitely meant a lot. It’s one thing to take the ball away. It’s another thing, of course, to score a touchdown, but some games, you need someone to make a play at a certain time. We had just scored, and momentum had shifted our way. We needed to come up with a quick turnaround, a quick score, and just a great play, just a great play by Tim.

(on Jay Cutler’s development in the Bears’ system and handling the pressure that comes with being a Bears quarterback)

Well, I think you hit it on the nose. There is a lot of pressure that comes with being a Chicago Bears quarterback. Look through the years, but for us, and you know, being a Chicago quarterback, you’re going to be criticized, and every little thing you do will be critiqued, just from the moment you walk out on the football field, the camera will be on you the entire time. You have to realize all those things, which Jay (Cutler) does. We just know he’s a heck of a competitor, a heck of a player, and I think you judge the special quarterbacks based on what they do at the end of games. Jay’s developing a reputation, the two-minute drive that he engineered this past week was special.

(on if having familiarity with receivers Brandon Marshall and Earl Bennett has helped Jay Cutler adjust to a change in offensive coordinators)

I think that helps a lot, just (having) people you are familiar with, because it takes a while for a quarterback and receiver to get on the same page, so that has to help when you’ve been through just about every situation that can come up for a long period of time. Of course, you mentioned Earl (Bennett), but he and Brandon (Marshall) coming into the league at the same time, that does help a lot, and we see that chemistry really paying dividends for us.

(on if becoming a father has changed Jay Cutler)

I think (fatherhood), of course it changes you quite a bit, and Jay (Cutler), just like everybody else. For us, here, we haven’t seen a big change. I’m sure Kristin (Cavallari) can tell you an awful lot more about that. Even before he became a father, he was a guy that showed up every day ready to go to work, and that’s what guys want. They want you to come to work with your lunch pail each day. Jay did that before he became a father, and of course, he’s doing it now that he is one.

(on what he sees in Tennessee’s offensive line)

Well, they have an excellent offensive line. (Michael) Roos, as you mentioned has been a very good football player for a long period of time. When you have a head coach, and your offensive line coach, who are both, you know, their expertise is the offensive line, they’re Hall of Famers, you know what you’re going to get from the offensive line and the running game, so that’s what we have to be mindful of this week. We know we make a statement when we get off the bus, you know, running the football. Tennessee does the same thing, and it’s a mindset that you have, and you have to be gap sound. You can’t make a mistake or it can really hurt you.

(on what problems they can create for opponents by moving Julius Peppers inside)

You know, without going into detail; we don’t go into detail an awful lot on even when he’s going to move in there. We’re just trying to get good matchups. When you have a player like we have in Julius Peppers, you just don’t want to pin him down in one spot. You want to move him around and let him have a chance to rush and play against different guys. It’s not just Julius (Peppers); Henry Melton, and most of our guys along our front can play just about every position, so it just gives us flexibility to do a few things.

(on if he is seeing a resurgent Chris Johnson on film)

You know, we haven’t played Tennessee a lot. I just know that he’s one of the best running backs in the game. We knew that before this week got here, and I know you go through spells where you don’t have as many yards as you would like, but you have to respect the player for what he can do at any time, and that’s how we look at it: we’re playing one of the best running backs in the game this week.

(on if the offensive line or quarterback can do anything to reduce the number of sacks allowed)

It’s just all of the above. Normally, when you have a sack, it can, of course, most people are just going to blame the offensive line, but we’ve probably held onto the ball a little bit longer. It’s normally a combination of things, and all I can say is that we recognize what we’ve done to cause most of the sacks, and hopefully, we’ll be better at it this week. We can’t allow our quarterback to take that many shots. It’s as simple as that. When you have a special guy, like we have in Jay (Cutler), we have to protect him better, and we will.

(on if he sees a Titans defense that the Bears will be able to attack)

Just like we look at every defense, we have to be able to attack every defense for us to be able to win a football game. I don’t think you can get too caught up in statistics, too. It’s about what you do this game, and yes, if you accumulate them all, sometimes you can get what you want to see. But I just know that we’re going to play a defense that can rush the passer, that’s capable, that plays hard and has good personnel. That’s how we’re looking at it: we’re going to have to play our best ball to be able move it.   

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