Head Coach Scott Linehan

Friday, December 08, 2006

(Opening statement)

“There’s really no new developments other than O.J. (Atogwe) and Tye (Hill) were able to get most of the work today. They look significantly better than they did yesterday. They really didn’t work more precaution, and to get time off the last couple of days. We actually held (Will) Witherspoon out of practice today because of an illness. He should be fine, but he didn’t feel very well the last 24 hours. With the extra day we should be alright there.”

(On Atogwe’s evaluation)

“They just did an evaluation and everything checked out fine.”

(On LB Isaiah Kacyvenski’s condition)

“His is, again, just because of the symptoms aren’t…he’s progressing some, but he’s still having the…there’s just really no urgency to do it until we’re planning on possibly playing him. We’ll do a similar thing with him that we did with O.J. probably early next week.”

(On DE Victor Adeyanju’s status)

“He’ll be out. He’s not ready. He tried. I like his attitude and the way he’s thinking, it’s just there’s still a little bit too much pain in there. We’ll see next week.”

(On how to determine if Adeyanju’s ready to play)

“You play…you bump it. Do some individual drills. You can tell when a guy’s grabbing at his hand he’s not quite ready. Again, I like his motivation, and he’s thinking the right way, getting himself ready for possibly next week.”

(On weight being a factor in keeping Adeyanju out)

“I don’t know if it’s the weight, just I think, you’ve got to cover it…he’s not far away from when he originally injured it. I think the swelling is still in there, and hitting it is pretty excruciating. We’ll see about next week.”

(On TE Aaron Walker)

“He’s done a real good job in that area. He’s played a number of snaps situations where we possibly felt we needed a pretty good point blocker there at the tight end spot. He’s been very consistent. Haven’t asked him to do a whole lot other than playing that role that backs up Joe (Klopfenstein). Those are the kinds of roles that you have, especially on offense, because you have so many different personnel groups. You need to have guys like that in your system so you can operate. He’s done a great job for us.”

(On the pace at practice this week with the extra day)
“It’s the same. We didn’t change anything up to today. In fact, we kind of increased our tempo a little bit. Kind of got to push guys through it when you’re beat up like we are. We’ve got a number of guys that are out, so a lot of guys have to fill in. We didn’t really cut anything back, other than we did take pads off for a number of snaps just because of where we are. We didn’t cut back repetition-wise or anything. Tomorrow we’ll really work another Friday-type practice, modify it a little bit and work it that way. Try to take advantage of having an extra day.”

(On what it means to be coaching on Monday Night Football)

“As a head coach this is my first. I’ve coached on Monday night. We talked about it earlier in the week that we all grew up with it. It’s a special venue. I know the players get very excited as well because family and friends all get to watch, the ones that aren’t able to attend. It’s the greatest football game of the week, and everybody looks forward to it, marks it on their calendar. It’s special.”

(On Bears’ LB Brian Urlacher)

“He’s arguably the best player in all of pro football on defense. The man in the middle, he exemplifies that. He sets everything up. They play off of him. He seems to get…he’s around the ball constantly, seems to always be a part of the big plays that occur for them. He’d be one of those guys that you couldn’t replace if you lost him, that’s for sure. He’s playing at the top of his game like nobody else that I’ve seen.”

(On the vast majority of the Bears’ sacks coming from their defensive line)

“They do have the unique ability to rush the passer from different spots on their D-line. I know Tommie Harris is out, but he’s a guy with 5.5 sacks. That’s hard to do as a tackle. I know (La’Roi) Glover has a number of sacks this year…they just have a lot of speed there. Their goal is to get you in long yardage situations. They’ll blitz you some, but they also know that by the nature of their coverage, that they can hold off the quarterbacks from throwing the ball and get there with the four-man rush, and they have the speed to do it. it’s a combination of their players, number one, but they a system similar to what Tampa Bay used in the ’02 season when they won the Super Bowl where they can really get after you on third down.”

(On the Bears running the ball more to give QB Rex Grossman extra time)

“Their thing is they’ve got…their system’s built on…they want to create big plays if they can establish the running game and force you to play the run, and then they can get one-on-one’s and try to create big plays in their passing game down the field. That’s what negates a guy maybe like Leonard (Little) who’s got to play both. A similar thing we want to do is force them in long yardage where we can put our guys in position to pressure their quarterback as well.”

(On the challenge of gearing up an offense to attack Chicago’s defense)

“It’s not easy. You’ve got to be smart with what you do. They can wreck the game pretty fast if you get careless or greedy, or you force yourself in long yardage, which is what you can’t do. If you’re in long yardage all day with them, good luck. The challenge is how we do on first down, in my opinion. If we’re successful on first down, for the most part, we can establish a number of things, even against a defense as good as they are, because their goal is to win the first-down battle, and that’s our goal as well.”

(On having a night practice this week)

“We’re going to do our Sunday night…we’re going to do our walk-through and our meetings and everything at night. I think it’s effective more 24 hours before the game, get acclimated to that, so we’ll adjust our schedule Sunday night.”

CB Tye Hill

(On preparing for the Bears’ passing attack)

“Basically, if you watch them on film, if they do throw the ball they throw it downfield. That was really critical and really important for me to be able to run this week. That’s really my main focus right now. My number one job is to defend the pass. I feel like this team gets a lot of big plays, so I have to be able to run with those guys.”

(On his excitement for playing on Monday Night Football)

“I definitely don’t want to miss Monday Night Football. I think I’ve been taking the right precautions this week, getting the right treatment, and taking the right steps to getting back to being able to play on Monday.”

(On his injured thigh)

“It’s actually getting better than what it was. I just felt like it needed a little extra rest and a little more treatment. I can tell today, because practice from Wednesday to today is night and day. I couldn’t even run on it Wednesday. I’m going to do everything in my power to get out there. It’s Monday Night Football and everybody’s watching. It’s something I’ve dreamed about doing since I was a kid.”

(On Bears WR Bernard Berrian’s 17-yard per catch average)

“Like I said, you get a 17-yard average from big plays down the field. From what I’ve seen on film, he’s a pretty good receiver. He’s definitely a vertical receiver and he definitely goes downtown.”

(On Bears WR Mushin Muhammad)

“Mushin Muhammad is more of an everything guy. I feel like he can do it all. They have some dangerous weapons on their team, not only in the running game, definitely in the passing game.”

(On how he injured his thigh)

“I was just playing football really. I just remember running. I think it was when I ran DeAngelo Williams down in Carolina. It was already hurting before then, but doing that hurt it a little more. I guess it was a little cool that day. When it’s really cool you need to keep your muscles warm. I guess I was on the bench and wasn’t taking the right precautions to keep my muscles warm. You have to manage it. It’s just a muscle and you can get it warm enough and hopefully it will perform just like it always will.”

G Adam Timmerman

(On how he feels the Rams running game has been this year)

“I think pretty well. When we’ve been able to stick with it and stay in our gameplan early on in games I think we’ve done pretty well, except for probably the Carolina game where we didn’t have many attempts and we didn’t establish it early on either. I think for the most part we’ve been doing pretty well. I don’t know what our yards per carry or any stats say, but for the most part we’ve been able to. Steven (Jackson) has been running hard and I think last week was his hardest running week.”

(On RB Steven Jackson)

“I think he’s just gotten better and he’s running harder. I think later in the season those guys have seen enough film and they don’t want to come up and take him on, especially when you get him through the front seven into their safeties and cornerbacks they don’t want to tackle him.”

(On Bears LB Brian Urlacher’s chances of being the NFL’s Most Valuable Player)
“I think he’s always in the running. He’s got the speed and he comes up and hits guys. You definitely want to know where he is on the field at all times. He’s one of those players that can take a game over and you really have to account for him in your gameplan to get him blocked and keep him blocked. Even when guys have gotten him blocked, they haven’t stayed on him; he’ll still run down the field and get big hits on your running back. That hurts later in the game because those kinds of hits add up.”

(On how the younger players have responded to the challenges of this week)
“The attitudes have been good all week, as it has been all year. I think guys have really worked pretty hard and been very sharp and mentally into the weeks of practice leading up to the games. Sometimes it’s kind of hard to put your finger on why it’s not carrying over to the game because you can usually tell how the game’s going to go by how your preparation has been. For the most part I think the preparation has been good, we just had some lapses during the games.”

(On the change that playing on Monday Night Football brings)

“I think it is a nice change up. It’s something a little bit different mentally than coming in playing a noon game against a division opponent or NFC opponent. It’s not going to have a lull to it. I think it’s going to have some excitement because it’s a little bit different type of game with a different schedule leading up to it. Hopefully, we have to bring our energy and enthusiasm and I think that will carry over in a way.”

WR Torry Holt

(On how this week’s practices have gone)

“I think everybody’s responded pretty well. It’s still the same locker room, still the same guys, still the same tempo, and the same attitude. Not that we haven’t been sharp in practice, but we’ve been very sharp this week in practice. We’re doing situational things in practice and trying to put ourselves in the game and work on those in practice, so that once we get in the game, there shouldn’t be any problems. I think there have been very good practices this week on both sides of the ball as well as special teams.”

(On being excited to play against the Bears on Monday Night Football)
“Especially against a good defensive team like the Bears. They’re 10-2, their defense is phenomenal, their offense has been struggling some of late, but they still have some playmakers on offense, like Mushin (Muhammad), their tight ends, the way Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson can run the ball. They’re going to pose some problems and their special teams are probably underrated. They’re very good with (Devin) Hester as their return man, so this will be a tremendous challenge for this football team on the biggest stage in football, other than the Super Bowl and playoffs. We’ll either get embarrassed or we’ll do some embarrassing.”

(On protecting the ball because the Bears defense forces a lot of turnovers)

“That’s definitely one of the things that we’ve been talking about and stressing all week. We need to be conscientious of their team punching the ball out. That’s something that Lovie Smith prides himself on and that’s something that they start their practice drills out on. That’s what they did when they were here, so I’m sure the same thing is going on in Chicago, which is trying to get the ball out of the opposition’s hands and get it back to their offense. We have to catch it, tuck it, and get as many yards as we can after the catch and after the run when Steven (Jackson) runs the ball. We need to protect the ball because they probably do the best job in the league as far as punching the ball out and creating turnovers.”

(On the Bears secondary)

“They’re good players. We know Ricky (Manning, Jr.), Ricky’s very aggressive, (Charles) Tillman is an aggressive, tall, big guy, (Nathan) Vasher is probably not as aggressive as those two guys, but he’s very skilled in his footwork, he does a great job of getting his hands on the ball, deflecting passes, and punching the ball out when you’re running with it. They’re a very good secondary that’s going to challenge us for four quarters so we’ll have to be on our P’s and Q’s as far as protecting the ball, running precise routes with the proper depth, and getting what we can get protecting the ball.”

(On being excited about playing on Monday Night Football)

“This is one of the reasons you play the game, for a stage like Monday night, to go out and showcase your talents to millions of people so they can see what you’re all about. To have an opportunity this Monday against a good Chicago Bears team should be a good statement for us.”