Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on injury updates) "As far as practice today, (RB) Ben (Tate) is obviously still out. He did work with our training staff today. So we took a step in the right direction with him. (NT) Shaun Cody and OD (TE Owen Daniels) were both totally out of practice, did not attend practice. (WR) Kevin Walter was back at practice today and actually did probably more than I thought he would do. So that's where we're at today."
(on what TE Owen Daniels' injury is) "Something on the back of his hip, back here. The way it's been described to me is when they do the hip-pointer bad. It's somewhat related to like having a bad, bad hip-pointer. When he can get the soreness out and how much he can handle, then he's back on the field. But obviously, it's been a problem for a couple days. It was really a problem yesterday. He has improved today. He's in meetings, moving around pretty good. So I think we're just moving day-to-day to see how far he comes."
(on if TE Owen Daniels will be a game-time decision) "Yeah, like I said yesterday, (TE) Owen (Daniels) is very capable without practicing. But at the same time, he's missed two days of practice and we've got to get him back the right way. So we're just totally committed to the training room right now with him and (NT) Shaun (Cody). And we'll see where we're at. I don't worry about those guys from a practice standpoint."
(on NT Shaun Cody's status) "Like I said, he hasn't done anything in a couple days. He's dealing with a rib issue. As I said yesterday, he had some type of procedure performed along with that. It's just a matter of him getting the soreness out and getting back on the field. We expect him back. Is that going to be this week? I don't know. I would say that he and OD (TE Owen Daniels) are in the same category as we move forward. We're expecting him back, but I don't know when, so we'll go day-to-day with it."
(on solutions if NT Shaun Cody and TE Owen Daniels can't play Sunday) "Well we have five d-linemen since we signed the young man last week. We've been playing with five anyway so we can go there from that standpoint. As far as (TE Owen Daniels) OD, that situation at tight end is something that it's been a concern of mine all year long with our roster because we've carried three this year or really two if you're counting James as a fullback. We carried four last year. That guy does a lot for us so it made us have to rethink a lot of things offensively. It'll make us adjust as coaches, but we got to figure out a way to move the ball."
(on FB James Casey possibly playing tight end) "He'll play both. He plays both. We've got those two guys that still go in and run forms of what we do with James playing the tight end position we do have another fullback on the roster with (FB) Tyler (Clutts). He's only been with us throughout half of this season from that standpoint with our system and stuff. If there's a player, a group of players that could make us adjust offensively; it is the tight end position because we do so much with them."
(on how he'll handle possibly dealing with rain on Sunday) "I just think you got to handle it. I guess I could go out there and bring buckets and that type of stuff. I know as a quarterback I didn't like that when the coach did that. That's probably why I don't do it. Hey, they're pros. If we show up and it's raining and the winds blowing we got to play good. If it's a nice night we got to play good. Whatever we got to do to win, they understand. We're working really hard on protecting the football. Defensive guys are giving us a really good look, but it's going to be as tough as it's going to be all year long to do that against a great group."
(on how ILB Darryl Sharpton is going) "You know, he's doing good. I think he's moving forward. We did not put on our pads today. I took them off today but I liked the way we practiced. So the next step for him is to get in his pads. So I think, to say that he's going to be ready to go this week, I don't think we're there yet. I know I'm probably early to say that but I just think it's the smart thing right now because I think he needs a few more days of work and make sure he comes out of one week clean. But he's had two good days."
(on if he's putting a special emphasis on special teams this week because of how good Chicago WR Devin Hester is) "Oh, yeah. Really, it's almost like the same thing we faced last week. The group we faced last week, I think was at the top of football. And then now, I think after two weeks, these two teams have switched. Chicago is now at the top and then Buffalo. We know what we're facing. (WR Devin) Hester is a Hall of Fame returner. I mean, he's been the best in football and has been for a long, long time. We obviously have to execute a game plan but he's going to find a way to touch it and there's nothing you can do about it and you better cover well."
(on how former Broncos Head Coach Dan Reeves used to prepare his teams for rainy games) "Yeah, I've had some guys bring the water bucket out there and stuff. For (John) Elway, too."
(on if bringing water buckets out to help prepare for wet conditions helped) "I don't remember, really, to be honest with you."
(on if NT Shaun Cody had a punctured lung) "You know, I'm not a doctor. So I'm not going to sit here and try to explain all that stuff to y'all. I know he had a procedure done that is tied to his ribs, somehow associated with what took place with his ribs. The procedure went good. It got him back in position, working back toward the field. I know he's in there moving around good and feeling really good about what he's doing. We'll have to see. Like I said, I'm not going to try to answer something that I don't have the complete knowledge to give you."
(on Chicago CB Charles Tillman) "Well, he's a great player to begin with. Just a heck of a corner, but a finisher. That's what you're always trying to get your players to do, finish plays. IF somebody makes a play on him, catches a ball, they better finish the play or he's going to come get it out. When he comes in to make tackles on backs and stuff he just has this knack for getting the ball out. If a back's down the field, he will come behind him. He's got an uncanny ability to create turnovers. And really, they all do. (LB Brian) Urlacher's been doing it for years. Those guys, they've been playing a lot of football together and they do it better than everybody."
(on both teams having a great defense) "I mean, you're looking at two groups at the halfway point that can stand up and say, 'We're pretty darn good right now with where we're ranked,' and stuff. There's a whole half of season to play. For us to go down to Chicago and win, we're going to have to play great defense. We've been doing that consistently all year long and this one will be just as important. I know they accept that as a personal challenge, but I think that's a challenge for us every week and they've been answering the bell."
(on if the team practices different knowing there is going to be a night game) "No. We stay on the same routine, so there's nothing different."
(on using starters more on special teams helped last game) "Not really. We actually improved on (special) teams because some of the other guys were able to suit up. We had been bouncing around with nine linebackers. When we made the move with (ILB) Mister (Alexander) last week, we suited two safeties, which gave us a little bit more speed on the field on special teams. (FB) Tyler (Clutts) is playing better on special teams. (FS Shiloh) Keo had been a little beat-up. After the bye week, he really came back and played well. So I think if anything, we found a little bit more speed on the field during our time off, freshening up and getting a few more players on the field."
(on what the one thing he feels best about, that won't keep him up on Saturday night) "Everything keeps me up on Saturday night."
(on what he feels good about heading into Sunday's game) "I know how tough it is to play there and I know the challenge we have as a team. I guess if anything helps me sleep, watching my team practice, watching them work. They continue to be very consistent in what they do and very consistent working up to game day each and every week. That's a nice feeling as a coach. They're very business-like. I think we practiced better this week than last week and I think it's more so just getting back in the normal routine and not coming off the bye week. We'll have six practices under our belt going into this game. Coming off the bye, last week, you could see a little rust through the course of practice with the bye week."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on the Bears' defense receiving all the national talk) "I don't pay too much attention to all that. It's not the other team. It's how we play on defense. I'm proud of the way our guys are playing. I think we're a really strong defensive team. I don't pay a whole lot of attention to that. They've got a great defense. As many turnovers as they have is special. They've done something special in that category. We try to do special in ours."
(on how NT Earl Mitchell has played) "(NT) Earl Mitchell has played well. I think he's solid inside. He's played an end for us besides nose guard and actually played probably better there than he had at nose. He's a good, versatile guy to have. Of course, we're going to count on him more."
(on the team's options if NT Shaun Cody can't play Sunday) "We worked (DE Jared) Crick some at nose guard. He's played end the whole time. If (NT Shaun) Cody is not able to go, those other guys will just have to play more. Crick, he's played well, but he hadn't played a lot of plays so he'll get more time. (NT) Earl (Mitchell) was splitting time. He'll just have to play more, and then we'll see what (NT Terrell) McClain can do for us."
(on if the ball-swatting on defense has become a competition) "Yeah, it's something we've worked on a long time. I had Jamal Williams at San Diego way back that did it, and that's when I started saying, 'Hey, all you guys can do it,' because he wasn't very tall. It's something we worked on all along, but when you have a guy like (DE) J.J. (Watt) that's proficient at it certainly it shows up."
(on the effects of swatting down passes) "You look at our passing percentage, we're probably the lowest percentage against us and when you count all those knockdowns, that makes a big difference. They could've been completions and certainly bouncing them up in the air and getting four interceptions is really, really something special. That's something special that we do and do well."
(on Bears QB Jay Cutler) "(QB Jay) Cutler, a real talent, I think everybody can recognize that. He's a little bit Favre-ish. He'll run around and make a play that nobody can make, that kind of thing. I think, they don't have a problem, but they've only thrown it to one guy basically. They do a great job of that. He's a tremendous receiver. We had him at the Pro Bowl and he was MVP. (WR Brandon) Marshall is a great receiver, but they haven't thrown it to the other guys very much, except the running back a little bit."
(on Bears QB Jay Cutler's sack numbers) "We had that with different quarterbacks with (QB Tony) Romo when I was with him. He got sacked some. They get sacked some, but they also make big plays, so if you take away their movement, then you don't get sacked too much. We all understand that. Sometimes you have to give them a little freedom, the quarterback, to be able to move around to make his plays. If you just say, 'Hey, go back and throw it every time.' Well, then you lost some of the spontaneity and some of the big plays that those kinds of guys can make."
(on why Bears QB Jay Cutler gets sacked often and how the Texans will attack him) "Each game is different. They've had some games were they weren't sacked hardly any. We try to rush as hard as we can rush every down, try to come up with some schemes, certainly, that put some pressure on the quarterback and then the sacks come or not. We didn't think we'd get many sacks against Buffalo because they'd only been sacked eight times. We got him four times, so you don't know in a game how it's going to go, the matchups and that kind of thing. We just try to rush as hard as we can against every team we play."
(on beating the Bears' defense) "That's really how you play it all the time. I've always told our players that. If our defense can play better than their defense, whoever we're playing, if we can hold them to less points than they hold our offense, then that way you don't ever point fingers and say, 'Well our offense didn't do this or didn't do that.' It's just, 'Hey, we've got to do our job and our job is to outplay the other team's defense.' That helps win the games so that's what we're trying to do."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus earning more playing time) "(OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) has earned more time, certainly. We're going to play him more. It's one of those things were the guy plays good, you've got to keep him in there. I've had it with rookies throughout my career that sometimes it takes them a while to come on, but when they start coming on the light goes off, let them play."
(on DE Jared Crick's playing time) "He's forced to play more. He's playing well, but he's forced to play more with our numbers right now, which is a good thing because I think he's doing a good job."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus' play in the last two games) "Three sacks and two caused fumbles, that's pretty good. There is a lot expected of a first-round pick. Everybody knows that. We expected a lot of (DE) J.J. (Watt) last year and J.J. really came on towards the end of the year and played tremendously well and carried it over, we hope. We hope this guy does the same thing, but maybe steps it up a little quicker."
(on the plan against Bears WR Brandon Marshall) "We double cover him every play. That's our plan. We're going to double cover him every play, so see what happens."
(on how the bye week helped CB Johnathan Joseph) "It helped him, obviously. The last two games he's played have been really what we expect from him, but he's a prideful guy. This is a big challenge this week. We might not double him all the time so he'll be one on one some."
(on being in big games and what he tells his defense heading into the game) "About 400-500 so far. Every game is a big game. We tell him, play as hard as they can play and as good as they can play and prepare the best they can. That's what we try to do. That's what we try to do every week. Every game is a big game, especially when you're winning like we are. These are really important games for us. They can make your season. We've had of several those already. We won most of them. We didn't win one of them."
(on Bears WR Brandon Marshall's performance against the Texans last season and if CB Johnathan Joseph covered him) "No, he didn't. Actually (CB) Jason Allen played him quite a bit last year, but we really didn't know our players last year until we got into it. It takes time sometimes, so we didn't matchup (CB Johnathan Joseph) J Joe as much early in the season as we did later on. It'll be a different guy on him than who was on him in Miami, that's for sure."
(on why NFL passing numbers are so high this season) "Everybody is throwing the ball. Everybody is throwing the ball more. We're seeing more open offense. Buffalo played as did Green Bay as did almost most of the teams we played, Miami, they're opening it up, college type, wide, everybody out wide and throw it. We'll see if that works or not. It's not necessarily the formula to win, you have to be good at doing that."
(on giving up lots of passing yards) "Anytime you throw it 40 times a game, which you're seeing 40 and 50, and we had 63 one game I think, anytime you throw it that much, you're going to make some yards. Darrell Royal said it, I think."
(on if he looks at Sunday's game as a chance for the defense to make a statement) "We try to make a statement every game. We try to play as well as we can every ballgame. We try to prepare as well as we can. That's what we're in the process of doing. We expect to play well. When we don't, we're disappointed."
(on if cheap shots are a sign of respect from opponents) "It's like a great running back or a great receiver, I think it's the same thing. They're going to look out for them more. They're going to try to be around them more. That's just part of the game I think."
(on the defense's success on third downs) "Our third-down stuff, our guys are familiar with what we're doing, certainly. We've been doing it for two years now. It's still matchups. It's still being able to match up and say, 'Hey, most of the third-and-short stuff, everybody knows.' You're going to have to play tight coverage and our guys are able to play tight coverage. Some of it's the matchups. Some of it's the pressure we get. That combination of both those things really helps."
LT Duane Brown
(on facing Bears DE Julius Peppers) "Another day at the office in the life of a left tackle. Get to block one of the best in the game. Been playing at a high level for the last decade. It brings a different challenge, an incredible combination of size, strength, speed, athleticism, and facing him on the road is another challenge. I have a pretty good game plan going into it and got to lock up and load."
(on the importance of starting fast against Chicago) "We definitely have to start fast against these guys. If you come off sluggish, then they're very physical, very fast. You can't get behind on them. Once you get behind, the crowd gets into it, you have to throw the ball a lot. That's a situation that we want to avoid."
(on if the team's approach changes going through this national stage setting again) "No, we haven't changed the approach. I think mentally we know that we have to have a greater sense of urgency and come out with a lot of intensity. Also, being on the road I'm sure they're going to come out ready to go. We just can't start off sluggish. That's our main thing on both sides of the ball, have to come out fast and come out physical."
NT Shaun Cody
(on his injury) "I had a little rib injury during the game and we're working our way through it, hopefully until Sunday, and be ready to play."
(on if he thinks he'll play on Sunday) "That's the goal. We'd like to be able to do that, so I'm working my way towards it. If I can, we'll do it and if I can't, we won't."
(on dealing with the pain of his injury) "Definitely, it's definitely pain management and we'll see how much pain I can take. If I can do the certain things I need to do at nose tackle to be successful and to help the team, not hurt the team."
(on if he had another procedure done besides his ribs) "No, no. Just the ribs. I was bruised and ribs, but nothing major. It wasn't like we had a surgery or anything."
(on if he had a punctured lung) "Yeah, they were worried about something they saw in a lung after the game, but I never had a punctured a lung. We checked some things out, but everything checked out okay, it's just the ribs were a little beat up and that was about it."
(on how his back feels) "It's workable. It is what it is. It's a back issue, but Coach (Gary) Kubiak has done a great job of really limiting my reps in practice and then taking care of me and making sure I'm there on Sunday."
(on separating his desire to play from what is best for him) "Well, my wife tries to do that for me. She tries to decide when, 'That's enough, babe. No more.' We know when it's, when you're helping the team when I'm out there and I'm feeling like I'm doing good for the team. Then you know when you're out there and you're trying to survive and that's not good for anybody. That's not good for the team. That's not good for you. It's a fine line, but I think we've done a good job of really figuring it out this year."
(on if he can go into any further detail on his rib injury) "It's a rib injury. It is what it is. We can get detailed. But in the end, it's a rib injury."
(on if he's limited in any way with mobility and flexibility) "I mean, there's pain, there's pain in the area with some stuff that I do but as far as limited, no. My job is to hold the point and keep guys off linebackers and I think hopefully I can be able to do that."
(on if a flak jacket is an option for him) "I don't know how much it helps in my position. Maybe a quarterback, but at nose guard, I would say it's more using my core and my arm movements than getting hit on it, than the actual pain. It's movement than getting actually hit on it."
(on if there is a concern that his injury could get worse if he was hit on it) "I guess there's always that concern, but that's not something we need to worry about."
RB Arian Foster
(on what sticks out when he looks at Chicago's defense) "Turnovers, they are extremely good at getting the ball out of the offense's hands."
(on if holding onto the ball has been a point of emphasis for him this year) "It's a point of emphasis every year. You can't drop the ball as a running back or any skill position. You always got to be cognizant of it."
(on Chicago's defense trying to shut down the run first) "I think the run is different than the passing, whereas you feel physically dominated if you get ran on successfully. That breaks you down and all aspects of your defense. Then the pass is open because you have to defend the run. You just don't feel very confident in what you're doing. Stopping the run is an emphasis for every defense."
(on if a wet ball and cold conditions bother him) "Everybody is going to be in the same conditions, so I've got to deal with it accordingly."
(on if he feels like the team has grown from their primetime experiences) "I don't really pay attention to the primetime anything because when the ball is kicked off, you're not really thinking about any of that. You're just playing ball."
(on if the primetime games are good preparation for the postseason atmosphere) "Playoffs are different, but it's the NFL. It's always a big game. There's never not a big game, but playoffs are just, I don't know, it just has a different feel for me."
(on how the playoff atmosphere is different) "It's different. It's just the feel. It's just the different feel. You get a different atmosphere."
(on if teams are defending him and taking away some of his receiving opportunities) "Yeah, there is that and then you got a lot of guys stepping up in the passing game. (FB) James Casey is doing well, (TE) Owen Daniels, (WR Andre Johnson) 'Dre is back from last year. I think all those factors combined, they're not really needing me a lot in the passing game. I'm okay with that. I'll play whatever role I need to play in order for us to get wins."
(on if his running opens up receiving opportunities for teammates ) "I would like to think so, but I just go out there and if they focus on me, we have so many weapons on offense."
(on if these are the type of highly-anticipated primetime games that he dreamed about playing in as a kid) "Yeah, any kind of primetime game, you want to feel like it's different and feel like it means that much more. At the end of the day, you still have to run your playbook. Coach calls the play. You have to execute. You're not thinking about, 'Oh it's Sunday. I've got to take my steps a little better.' It's something that's there before the game. There's a lot of hype. It's two 7-1 teams. It's the top of AFC vs. the top of the NFC and it's just a big game. When the ball is snapped nobody is going to be thinking about that."
(on if he prefers night games or noon games) "It doesn't matter. I get paid to play so I'll play whenever they tell me to."
(on being even-keel from the start of his career to this stage) "I've learned in my professional career that you can never get too high or never too low because I was always taught when I was growing up playing ball that you know it's never as bad as it seems and it's never as good as it seems. You always have to remain even-keel. We're 7-1. That's awesome. We drop these next eight games, then we're 7-9. So it doesn't really matter. Our first opportunity to play and build on our record is on Sunday, so we just have to take it one game at a time."
(on how he feels health-wise halfway through the season compared to seasons past) "I feel good. I don't have any major issues, just little bumps and bruises and sores and things like that. I try not to compare too much to last season or the year before because it's too many other different variables and factors that went on. I'm getting a lot of touches, but I'm not getting a lot of touches in the receiving game so I think it's kind of evening out."
(on if he's stuck to the vegan diet) "I've been dabbling back and forth. I just like to eat healthy. The whole vegan thing, a lot of people are really interested in my food."
(on what he means by dabbling) "I've had meat since I said I don't eat meat anymore, but I like to stay with the plant-based foods, but every now and then I'll eat something."
(on why he had meat) "I just wanted some. I'm not in a cult. Nothing's going to happen to me. I just wanted a piece of chicken. It wasn't like temptation. I felt like I could use one."
(on if he feels a difference this year based on his diet) "That's what I'm saying, it's hard for me to compare because there is different mindsets, different things going on and it's just hard to remember how I was feeling exactly. It was a year ago."
(on RB Justin Forsett's championship belt) "We have this little thing here in the locker room where we shoot basketball hoops. Him and (WR) Andre (Johnson) they're on a team. Me and (RB Ben) Tate are on a team. We pair up in teams. There are a couple other teams. They won the belt today. Whoever wins that day gets the belt and they won whatever."
NT Earl Mitchell
(on receiving more playing time) "I'd just like to make sure that there is no drop off when I'm out there on the field. It's just a bigger responsibility and just making sure that I understand my role and understand that I'm taking care of business when I'm out there. When I have an opportunity to make plays, I definitely like to take advantage of them."
(on his past success) "It's just making sure that you're in the right spot at the right time and a lot of the times, playing nose tackle, you have to make sure that you're occupying two blockers and making sure that you're dominating your responsibility."
(on if it's comforting to hear that Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is happy with his play) "Definitely, you like to make sure that you're doing your job when you're out there and making sure that you're proving the coaches right when you're out there. I just like to make sure that I'm handling my business and doing what I have to do."
C Chris Myers
(on Sunday's primetime matchup) "It's primetime for everybody except us. It's another game. It's another game that we have on the schedule. Obviously, the Chicago Bears are a talented team and nothing to take lightly. You go in it and you prepare the same way. This past week with Buffalo, we didn't as an offensive line, play exactly how we wanted to play. We want to come out and be able to establish the run early and often. With a talented front like they have, their front seven is one of the best in the league. We know we have our work cut out for us. But you prepare the same and you go week in and week out like it's any other week. We got a tough test ahead of us but we're up for it."
(on what stands out in the Bears' front seven) "All seven of them, they're all talented. Obviously with (LB Lance) Briggs and (LB Brian) Urlacher back there on the second level they've been doing this for a long, long time and all front four are talented guys. They got all the way from the end with (DE) Julius (Peppers) being one of the premier defensive ends in a long time to their nose tackle who's only in his second year, so it's one of those things that you have to prepare for every single one like they're all going to be able to have talent."
(on being named a team captain) "It means the world when your guys are able to vote you in like that. It kind of just speaks volumes. I'm real humbled by it. I was real humbled by it last year. It's one of those things you don't take light hearted. I'm real appreciative for all the guys on the team for doing that."
(on his teammates saying he was a leader in the offseason as well) "Like I said, I appreciate that from them. I think it's one of those things that you should look at as it's your responsibility to do those types of things. You don't look at it as a job, but it's just part of the business."
(on starting fast against the Bears) "That's what I said before. You've got to be able to come out and establish it early. If you don't and you get down especially in an environment like that, like you spoke of, primetime, it's going to be a nice little chilly game, which I'm sure they're used to more than we are, but that's one of the things I'm looking forward to. I'm looking forward to it being a little cooler than it has been down here in Houston over the past few months."
DE Antonio Smith
(on facing the Bears defense and striving to be the number one defense in the NFL ) "Like I've been saying it all year, as a matter of fact I've been saying it since I've been here, (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) installs in us to be the best. When we came into this season, that's what our goal was. We know who this defense is. We know what they are and we know that it's going to be us against them. We take it like that. Each and every game, you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't say this game is more than any other game because this game, we're all playing a defense that is up there. They've had the reputation of being the number one defensive team for years. We've got to go take that if we want it. If not, then just let them do what they are. If we want to be the number one defense we got to outplay them."
(on what the team has taken away from the last two primetime appearances) "What have we taken away? Get your nap in before the game because you're normally used to playing around 12, so then you stay up the whole time and come by the game time, your body is kind off of. You learned that and you also learn that it's turn-up time. What you do normally, it has to raise up a level because, in my opinion, Monday night games, Sunday night games, primetime games are like practice for playoff games because that's the type of environment you're going to be in. That's how every game is going to be so we got to turn it up a little bit more, same focus, same determination, but you also got to have that extra fun out there where you're making plays and flying around."