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27 December 2015

Chicago Bears Postgame Quotes - Sunday, December 27, 2015

(Opening statement)
“Just on the injury front, Eddie Goldman left the game with an ankle [injury] and did not return. Matt Forte left the game with a back [injury] and did not return.”
(On the importance of the defensive takeaways today)
“It’s one of the more critical statistics other than winning or losing. I think we were plus-three on the day. I think all of them were rookies. Jonathan Anderson was responsible for one, [John] Timu recovered [two] and then Harold Jones-Quartey had the one interception that was key. That was down in minus territory. Those are always big, to be on that side of the turnover margin and that helped us win today.”
(On if he knew players would show up to play this week after the tough loss last week)
“As I told you, I never had any doubts. This team has responded pretty well. Last week was not one of our better performances. They knew it better than any of us standing here. I like the way they responded. The game didn’t start real smooth – [Tampa Bay] blocked the punt that went in for an early touchdown. But our guys just kept clipping away and I liked our toughness.”
(On safety Harold Jones-Quartey)
“He’s a guy that obviously we thought well enough of to pick up late in the claiming process. He did play and start earlier in the season. Chris Prosinski stepped in, did a good job, kind of owned the spot for a minute and then it was time to give Harold another shot. I thought he did good.”
(On what he saw that made him name Jones-Quartey the starter again)
“He had zip. He was fresh. This part of the season, you get worn down a little bit. It’s a long season. But he had a great week of preparation. I saw him improve. He got better just in practice. We get to watch him every day. So I was proud of the young man and the way he performed. I know it was a great pick. He played the ball well on that one. He’ll just continue to get better.”
(On the key to eliminating penalties and other mistakes on offense)
“Well, we made the same penalties. [On two of the first three] possessions, we had three holding penalties, so I think we just did a better job overcoming them, responding to negative stuff. Penalties are always hard.”
(On the limits to the passing game when without a downfield threat for third downs)
“It’s not new to us. It’s not the first opportunity that we’ve had in that situation. Like I’ve said, Jay [Cutler] has done a great job. He doesn’t care who’s out there. Our coaching staff has done a great job of getting guys ready spur of the moment. Eddie Royal is sick today – not really, really sick – so he was in and out of there. It wasn’t an injury, but he was pretty sick. Other than that, it’s kind of a tribute to our players. They just keep handling it and don’t look for excuses. It’s next man up and they always keep fighting for it.”
(On eclipsing last year’s win total)
“We feel it; those guys feel it. We’re getting there. We need to improve, they know it, but they’re still trying to finish this year well and we’ve got one more game to try to avoid a double-digit losing season.”
(On who is to blame for the blocked punt)
“I don’t really call guys out. I’ll just say we didn’t execute very well.”
(On what changes in the offense without a deep threat like Alshon Jeffrey)
“Yeah, it’s difficult, especially against a defense like this where we’re going to be a lot of Cover 2, keep things in front of them when they’re playing single high. So we knew going into this game it was going to kind of be a dink and dunk. We get some plays on the outside to get them, but we wanted to rub the ball efficiently and try to get in the fourth quarter and make some plays.”
(On his mindset going into this game and knowing he can’t be too aggressive)
“Yeah, I practiced against this defense enough, you kind of just have to have that going into it, and a play caller has to do a good job of putting us into that position. I think Adam [Gase] did all day long, not getting greedy at all and just saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to be methodical and just kind of, if it’s boring, it’s boring.’ That’s how we have to do it.”
(On if it is frustrating not being able to pass downfield)
“We didn’t have a lot of opportunities, anyway, coverage wise, the two times we got man, it was kind of  the end of the game, we were trying to burn up the clock a little bit, so we just weren’t getting a lot of opportunities even if we wanted to, to be honest with you.”
(On what made a difference this game)
“I don’t know, it’s not a significant amount I think that’s going to make that big of a difference, and there’s so many new guys on this team, so much turnover, in a good way. I think Ryan [Pace] and John [Fox] are doing a great job at putting the right guys in this locker room. The coaching staff is doing a good job at putting us in position each and every week, we just have to continue to get better.”
(On keys to eliminating the amount of penalties this game)
“Being patient, harping on it every day at practice. In that first quarter we put ourselves in a few holes, we had a few holdings that kind of hurt us a little bit, but for the most part it was a pretty clean game. Against a defense like this, that’s how you have to play. Second-and-long, third-and-long, against a Lovie [Smith]-type defense, it’s not going to go very well.”
(On his emotions after being intercepted but having the ball returned due to a penalty)
 “I came off and I was like, ‘Yeah I’m not throwing a screen until 2016, I’m done with screens,’ and you got to laugh at that, then you see the flag and you don’t really know what it’s for. Usually you don’t get that break, so to get that turned around, I think we went down and scored after that, that’s a huge break for us.”
(On running the ball efficiently)
 “Going into it we knew we were going to have to. We didn’t do a lot of play action, because we didn’t have a lot of opportunities with the coverage they were playing. We knew it was going to be a run the ball, hopefully get 5 yards a carry, maybe bust a few and maybe dink and dunk and make some plays on third down and that’s what the guys did.”
(On minimizing mistakes and how to credit that)
 “We’ll take a look at it at the end of the year. I mean obviously the numbers are down, so there has to be improvement. I don’t think it’s solely on me, though, with the guys around me, with Adam [Gase] and Dowell [Loggins], they deserve a lot. They deserve as much credit as I do.”
(On using the tailbacks to make plays)
 “Just getting some more dynamic playmakers back there, be able to give it to the first guy, the deep guy, we had a play action to Ka’Deem [Carey] that came off of it, so the more dynamic guys you have on the field, the better, so that’s just kind of what we’re trying to do.”
(On Tampa Bay’s defensive line)
 “Played well, [Gerald] McCoy is really good. They got a few other guys – 54 [Lavonte David] can fly around. Played a lot of base coverages, didn’t blitz that much, so blocking the front four which panned out for us, I think we kind of wore them down as the game went on with our tempo. Kind of helped our running game.”
(On center Hroniss Grasu)
 “I knew he had that in him. That’s nothing new, he’s such a tough player. He takes things really personal out there, it’s extremely important to him, which is what you want, you want more guys like that in our locker room.”
(On wide receiver Marc Marini’s big play)
 “I was thinking throw. We were actually working left, didn’t like it, we got a lot of depth over there, so I kind of stepped up and Marc [Marini] was going down the middle of the field in flash for me, and just put it on him. It was a huge play for us, guys just being in the right spot.”
(On the mentality of the team going into this game)
 “I thought we had a really good week of practice, but we have had other good weeks of practice and it didn’t convert to Sunday, so you never know. We got a lot of young guys, we got a lot of new guys in and out. With Alshon [Jeffrey] being out, Eddie [Royal] being doubtful, you just never know how it’s going to go. Our whole offensive line kind of set the tone. Adam [Gase] did a good job at play calling for us, and just kind of keeping us in rhythm, not letting us get out of control. Defense, I think, stepped up, they played great that second half, forced some turnovers, gave us some short fields, and a good team win for us.”
(On the familiarity of playing against Tampa Bay’s defense from his years with Lovie Smith)
 “Yeah, just going against them at practice all the time, you know where their soft spots are, you know how to attack it, and they played true to their colors. They played their defense, and we stayed in the rhythm, didn’t really have penalties. We did all the things that typically we have to do against a defense to win football games.”
(On being the unexpected star of the game, given Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin)
“[Doug Martin] was having a decent game, but our defense came out ready for him.”
(On showing that a three running back system works)
“We definitely showed that three backs is definitely better than one. Everybody did their job and we got the win.”
(On whether he has had fun the past few weeks with his carries)
“It’s been fun, definitely. Just seeing the coaches grow more trust in me and just going out there and making plays for my team. The line did their thing. It’s been a journey so far this year.”
(On being given opportunities to get in the end zone)
“That’s definitely the goal. Like I said, there’s one yard there and if you can’t get that one yard, they’re going to have to find a fullback or somebody else to get it. I had to make sure I was getting in there.”
(On his touchdown run)
“Jerm (Jeremy Langford) hit the dive with it against Detroit for his first touchdown, so we put it back in the playbook and Jerm had a little success, so we put him in the backfield for the defense to get a little trickery, and then I just slide in there.”
(On rookies taking it upon themselves to make a name for themselves)
“We don’t really think about us being rookies going out there playing. It’s just a matter of a team, a Chicago Bears team, each having each other’s back, and going out there being well prepared and executing well. Some of those big plays they had but majority of the game we did our jobs and did our jobs well.”
(On having success with takeaways today)
“It was a big emphasis. Each week is a big emphasis on taking the ball away. If we can do that as a defense, it’s creating more possessions for the offense, the chance of winning just goes up. The more we can do that, the better we are as a team.”
(On getting to play the last two weeks after only practicing)
“I mean it felt great, but that went over my head a long time ago. To be out there, I just want to make this team the best that it can be and if it includes me then so be it. If it doesn’t, then so be it also. But I’m just going in, preparing very well so these guys know the answers to the test and go out there and just go grab a win.”
(On if he was just in right place at right time for his two fumble recoveries)
“Yeah, I think so. I just did the last part, get the ball. The defense did a great job of taking it out, I was just there in the right place at the right time, grabbing the ball and celebrating with my teammates.”
(On if it’s an important factor to always be around the ball)
“Yeah, that’s always an emphasis from day one in camp. Guys got to run to the ball because you never know what happens. In this case, we had a couple balls end up on the ground and I happened to be around there, so you just got to grab it so you can celebrate with your teammates.”
(On what skills he worked on to return to the field)
“Just prepare better. Just being a rookie, trying to figure how to prepare is a lot different than college. Listening to the old guys, watching the old guys and just taking everything they say and produce. I’m trying to make plays out there that will help us win.”
(On transitioning from college to the professional level)
“I was at a little All-Star game, there wasn’t many guys. I had a tryout at Arizona, made the team, got cut from the 53-[man roster]. They wanted to put me on the practice squad. Ryan Pace and those guys brought me in here and that’s how my journey went.”
(On if a team picking him up make him feel wanted)
“For sure, for sure. Ryan talked to me and you know we have a good relationship. He talked to me when I first got here, told me what he wanted and I’m just glad to get the opportunity.”
(On which All-Star game he attended)
“Gridiron Showcase, it was a small one out in Austin Texas, I think. Yeah, for sure. Coming from a small school, it’s not easy to make the NFL, so every time you get an opportunity you’ve got to kind of push your body out there and kind of play your heart off and that’s what try to do every time my number is called.”
(On his forced fumble)
“I saw him run, I saw him cutting back, you know he’s a tough runner, he’s very strong. Coach has been preaching on it all day, just to come out there and put it on the line for your brothers and your teammates and that’s what I tried to do out there.”
(On if he and other first-year players have has graduated from being rookies)
“The vets probably wouldn’t say that, but no we still got one more game left. We’re still learning and we’re still trying to be better pros every single day.”
(On where his swagger comes from)
“My swagger? It’s just the confidence that I have to carry. I mean, I’ve been an underdog all my life. Small-school guy I’ve played against big time guys and I’m not afraid, so I’ve got to do something to make them know that timid out there.”
(On emphasis coach had wanting secondary to make more plays)
“Big-time emphasis. Coach Sam Garnes is our safeties coach and he preaches that every day. Take the ball out when you’re running. When you see a running back you’ve got to come strip the ball. That’s just our chance to flip the game. Turnovers are huge and coaches have been preaching that all week and I think we came out there and executed.”
(On the message in locker room coming off of three straight losses)
“Focus, because a lot of our issues over the last couple of weeks have been mental breakdowns. It’s been us beating ourselves. So the message of the week has been ‘Tighten up, focus more on the details.’ That way we don’t get the holding calls, the false starts, whatever else that causes our drives to stop. We still had a couple penalties today but to clean that up, it ended up not being a huge issue for us.”
(On having three running backs that each get carries)
“It is rare. The only other time I have experienced that was my third year at the Jets. LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Green and Bilal Powell, so a pretty good group of three there. But it is rare, and all three of those guys run tremendously hard.”
(On mixing in fresh runners help offensive line)
“Oh yeah. And we can’t afford to think about what back is in and what their style is. We’re just going to block the way we block and they’re running with their heads down and they’re trying to find contact and that’s great.”
(On liking physicality in the run game)
“I think all across the board, the whole team, it was easy to see guys were flying around trying to hit. They wanted to show Tampa our physicality.”
(On the feel of getting three turnovers on defense)
“It felt awesome man, it was a blessing man. It just came with the excitement leading into the game. It just made all of us go out there and just play.”
(On rookies making plays)
“It was awesome. We’ve got talent all around the field and we have a lot of young guys that have talent and it showed today. The two inside linebackers played a lot, the two rookie safeties. We have some special young talent on this team.”
(On rookies showing up today)
“That’s what we need. When people lock in on older guys, we need the young guys to step up. And they did it all year. They answered the bell. It was fun out there today.”
(On importance on ending losing streak)
“It was real important. I don’t want to go into the offseason with double digit losses. So it’s something at least positive we say at least we didn’t go in with double digit losses. It’s something we can build on, especially ending the season with two wins. Of course we’ve got to go get the one next week, but that’s just going to be something to build on, momentum and strive for the best next year.”

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