Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
OLB Connor Barwin
ILB Tim Dobbins
TE Garrett Graham
WR Andre Johnson
FS Shiloh Keo
FS Danieal Manning
OLB Whitney Mercilus
SS Glover Quin
OLB Brooks Reed
QB Matt Schaub
ILB Darryl Sharpton
DE J.J. Watt
Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith Conference Call
Bears LB Brian Urlacher Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's health in practice today) "Guys that did not practice today, (NT) Shaun Cody, (WR) Kevin Walter, and (TE) Owen Daniels. Other than that everybody's out at practice, a couple of guys on a limited basis, but everybody was out there."
(on RB Ben Tate' status) "(RB) Ben's (Tate) still out. It's been a little slower than we thought. We had hoped to work him over the weekend a little bit. That didn't happen so then we went to today. We're hoping possibly he's doing something with the trainers tomorrow. It's just going a little slower than we thought, but yeah he was not out there."
(on WR Kevin Walter's injury) "(WR) Kevin's (Walter) got a sore groin and really just kind of us resting him today. If he does practice tomorrow, it'll probably be on a limited basis too, but I'm expecting him to be ready to go. (TE Owen Daniels) OD obviously got a, I don't know how to describe it. It's a sore back of his hip, very, very sore. Actually, we decided to do some more tests on him this afternoon, so that's why he was not even on the practice field. He was not out there, so I let you guys know more about him but he's just very, very sore coming out of the game, so we'll see where he's at."
(on TE Owen Daniels' status for Sunday) "I don't know right now. It's just probably how much progress he can make. (TE) Owen (Daniels) can go play without practicing. That's not a problem. I know it's a big game. I think Owen is from somewhere right around there, so it's close to home, but we've got to get him back the right way. Like I said, today we just totally held him out."
(on ILB Darryl Sharpton's practice) "(ILB Darryl) Sharpton, you know what, he did pretty well. Obviously, I'm looking at a bunch of people out there, but I'll go back and look at the film. He took half the scout team reps. He took some special teams also, so we'll go back and look at it. If we put on pads on tomorrow, it'll be good to see him bounce around in pads a little bit. I've got to make a decision there. We'll proceed this week. There is no pressure on him. It's strictly, we've got our window here to figure out when we think we can turn him loose. Today was a step in the right direction."
(on Bears LB Brian Urlacher saying that the Texans' play action and bootleg plays look the same all the time and are very effective) "The biggest thing is if we run the ball well, then I think we're very effective in those things. If we're not running the ball effectively, it's hard to boot. It's hard to play-pass, those types of things. Everything we do starts with the run and you're right. Offensively, it has to look the same for us. If it's different, people like that, especially a player of his caliber, he's been doing it so long he can sort it out. That's one thing great about their defense. They've got a group of players that have been playing a lot of football together. Boy, they've been together for a long time and they've been special this year. We got our work cut out for us. It'll be a tough, physical battle."
(on NT Shaun Cody's health) "He's doing better. It's going to be a day-to-day deal. Basically, it's getting the soreness back out of him, getting to where he can get back out there and function. (NT) Shaun (Cody) has always been able to work through things. We're just 100 percent committed right now to the training room. I think he's a weekend decision all the way."
(on if the Texans pay extra attention to ball security this week) "We always do that, but we upped it a little bit today. I think our scout team defensive guys did a great job trying to poke it out, making them work all the way down the field. These guys are exceptional. They never give up on a play. If you catch a slant or something, and you're 7 and 8, 15 yards down the field, they're coming behind you to poke it out. Obviously, we've been good at protecting it but they're the best at getting it out. We pay attention to it all the time. We better pay special attention to it this week. I think they've gotten two turnovers at least in each game so that's unheard of."
(on the importance of ball security for the Texans) "I think it's a matter of guys playing a lot of football together. We emphasize it big-time. We could show our players on paper what it does for our team if we handle the ball, so I think that's important. (RB) Arian's (Foster) played a lot of ball with (QB) Matt (Schaub). All our guys have played a lot of football together. I think the more you keep a group together, the better they'll perform from that standpoint."
(on if the team named new captains) "Yeah we did. We named three new captains today. Special teams was (FS Shiloh) Keo. On offense it was (C) Chris Myers. On defense it was (DE) J.J. Watt. I like doing it at the halfway mark because your teams are always different. It kind of lets the guys stand up and say, 'We see what you're doing. You're leading us in the right direction. Keep doing it.' I think they picked three great players there. Had a lot of guys get votes."
(on if the original captains remain captains as well) "Actually, we'll keep going with those guys. They deserve that. They only let you send so many to midfield so I'll get them a jersey with 'C' on it, but it's more of a respect thing than anything."
(on the death of former University of Texas coach Darrell Royal ) "I just heard about that coming in. When you think about, obviously as a kid watching college football whether it was Texas and A&M or Texas and Arkansas, the Southwest Conference, I met coach many times, that's just a tremendous respect for him. What he did at the University of Texas. I think of him and Emory (Ballard) and people like that. Those are my great memories as a kid watching football, watching those games. Boy, he did it for a long time, tremendous influence on not only the University of Texas, college football, but think about how many kids lives he's touched, men I should say, lives he's touched along the way, so my prayers are with his family."
(on if he was too young to be recruited by Darrell Royal) "Fred (Akers) was there when I was coming out, but I did know coach real good, especially when I got to coach and make some rounds and visited some places and stuff. He was still at the University of Texas a lot and very much involved with their program. I've been up to Horseshoe Bay. You always tend to run across him at Horseshoe Bay if you're up, so I've run across him a couple times. He was a special man."
(on what Coach Darrell Royal would say about the Texans' offense ) "He'd say you're running too many different plays, coach. He didn't run many, but he ran them good. I can tell you that."
(on the Texans' special teams) "I think our biggest thing special teams-wise going into last week was 'Hey guys we're not trying to go from the bottom here to the top in one day. We want to improve.' We improved last week. Our return game was better. Our coverage game was pretty darn good against one of the best teams in football. We had some mistakes we've still got to clean up. We come right back with the best the game has seen in a long time. Our challenge gets bigger, but hopefully we keep moving in the right direction. We've got a few new faces that helped us, too. (ILB) Barrett Ruud came in and helped us a little bit. We had (SS Quintin) Demps and (FS) Troy (Nolan) up during the game. That helped."
(on FS Shiloh Keo being named a new special teams captain) "He's a real sharp player. You watch him in the meetings. He's on top of what he's doing. He's an effort young man. That's his big role on our team, playing special teams. Our guys respect his effort, how he plays, how he goes about his business. He had a heck of a game last week. I'm sure that was just the icing on the cake."
(on the Texans' running game against Buffalo) "We ran the ball well in the first half against Buffalo. Not as well in the second half. I think we're a work in progress all year long. I hate to say that after nine weeks, but we are up front and we'll continue to be. Like I said, I think we can improve a great deal. Our commitment to it won't change. If we're not doing it good, we're going to still do it. It's something that is very conducive to us winning football games."
(on Chicago's expected cold weather on Sunday) "That's what I heard. It's supposed to be maybe a little rainy and cold, but that's what you expect when you go there. I think our guys get excited for a little cool weather. It's still 80 out there today and here it is, middle of November. But no, you've got to handle that. You've got to protect the ball. You've got to handle that. You've got two teams with great defense and two offenses that are a lot of ways built a lot alike, what we do. We know it's going to be a physical contest. That's the thing we got to prepare for."
(on if his offenses were tailored to cold weather in Denver) "I wouldn't say that. You've got to be able to do everything in this league because you play everywhere. Actually in Denver, I thought the weather, a lot of people think it snows there all the time. It wasn't that bad. I thought it was great. Chicago is built a lot that way. They can line up and run the ball on you, but (QB) Matt (Schaub) handles the ball pretty good. I thought we went to Green Bay, he handled it very good a few years ago in that cold, cold weather. The times we got some big rain in Jacksonville this year, he handled the ball very good. That's part of being a pro. Whatever you get, you've got to deal with it."
(on DE J.J. Watt being named a defensive captain) "That's pretty impressive for a guy to be that young. He's a year and a half into this year and for those veterans or everybody in that locker room to vote for him like that. He's pretty quiet. (DE) J.J. (Watt) is an all-business type of guy. We've got a lot of married family guys on our team. J.J. is still a young, single guy. He handles his business so well. He's all about the game. He's studying all the time, working all the time, and all about his team. For a very, very young player, that's a tremendous compliment."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on Bears LB Brian Urlacher) "He's played a lot of football obviously and you're not going to fool him for sure. He's seen it all once or twice and he plays right next to (OLB Lance) Briggs. They've played together for a long time. He's always in the right spot and the right place. He's a talented athlete. You've got good guys up front, good corners. They've got a lot of talent, and he looks like he runs the whole show."
(on RT Derek Newton's performance on Sunday)"I think he had some ups and downs like we all did. There were some flashes of good and some flashes he didn't do so good. We're taking each of those reps good and bad to coach from and trying to get him to progress. Each week, he'll do things to improve certain areas. We just got to make sure we shore them all up."
(on G/C Ben Jones) "Same thing, did some flashes of good and then he did some things that we wish he hadn't done. That's the way it is right now. We've got to keep coaching them up. Every rep matters good and bad, compliment them on the things that they do right, make sure we don't have any repeat of the things that weren't so good."
(the Bears' ability to create turnovers) "They're all getting the ball out. It starts with (No.) 33 (CB Charles Tillman). He popped quite a few out last week. To have 28 in eight games is incredible. Some teams wish for that in two years, so they're always looking to get the ball. It all starts up front. They do a great job of pressuring and making sure you rush and putting your offensive linemen on an island at times from what they do. They work very hard at it and they're good at it."
(on the difference in the Texans' running game ) "We popped to the line first half. We got some things going. They started stunting a little bit in the second half. We had our bust out. One could have been even more and that's the thing. You've got to take the good with the bad. Hopefully we get a hat on a hat. We don't get creased, but when we get in the secondary we've got to make huge plays."
(on the Texan's ability to not turn the ball over) "Certainly we stress it and we stress it even more when you play a team that does so well at getting it out. We just like to make sure that we get all of our turn when we have the ball. We don't want to give them any more extra reps. They're good enough at what they do. We just like to complete our drives and a big part of that is hanging on to the ball."
(on C Chris Myers being named a new captain) "Anytime when you lose two guys that have played a lot of football like we did last year in free agency, somebody's got to step up. (C) Chris (Myers) has always been a leader. But I think you can see him being more of a vocal leader. His experience, not just here, but around the league, has been great for those young guys. He's coaching them up as they go and always working because he understands that those five have to work as a unit. He's really the cog. He's the only one that could push a call from one side or the other to make sure all five of them are working together."
OLB Connor Barwin
(on the Texans playing on Sunday night) "It's Sunday Night Football. Last time, we didn't play very well. So hopefully we can go out and have a better showing and show that there is another really good defense that will be playing on Sunday night."
(on playing at Soldier Field) "Yeah, I've been excited about playing this division all year, Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay. It's exciting to go back to Chicago. I have a lot of family there. To play at Soldier Field, it will be a lot of fun for me."
(on growing up in the cold climates of the Midwest) "Yeah, it's not a big deal. I like playing down in Houston in the heat, but cold weather, I think people make a big deal out of it before the game, but once you get playing, any guy will tell you after the game that you barely even notice it."
(on Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith saying to make sure the Texans know it's going to be really cold) "We're aware. We know it will be cold, but like I said, I think once the game gets going, the intensity of getting excited about playing, you forget about how cold it is."
(on if it fires you up to see another good defense on the other side of the field) "Well, yeah. Special teams and offense are going to be a huge part for us. We're going to say whatever defense goes out and plays better will win the game. So that's the challenge that we have for our defense. We want to go out and play better than their defense."
(on if he is in awe of how many turnovers the Bears force and the touchdowns they score) "I wouldn't say that I'm in awe, but it is impressive the way they've been able to get the ball out. This is just for me, reading and watching Sports Center. I haven't watched the Bears defense really, but from what I've seen their ability to get the ball out is impressive."
(on if there are opportunities for sacks against the Bears offense) "Yeah, yeah there are opportunities. Every week there are opportunities. They've given up some pressure. (QB Jay) Cutler is a guy that can make plays with his feet. He gets out of the pocket and makes plays, which always gives you an opportunity to get sacks and kind of chase them down."
(on how dangerous RB Matt Forte is) "He's the number one guy you have to stop first, before you can get pressure or do anything else. You have to stop the running game. He'll be the first thing to stop."
(on if he feels they can rattle QB Jay Cutler) "Our job is to try and rattle every quarterback, every week. Like I said, he can make plays with his feet. He has a huge arm."
(on if he is on a roll now that he has two sacks) "Yeah, I'm hitting a little stride. I think I was playing fine before, but the Green Bay (game), I got some pressure and missed some opportunities but ever since then, I've hit a groove a little bit and hopefully it keeps going."
ILB Tim Dobbins
(on if colder weather bothers him) "Not at all. I went to school at Iowa State, so I'm used to the cold. I'm pretty sure they've got warm benches anyways."
(on how special Bears RB Matt Forte is) "He's very special. He's a slash kind of runner. He's in. He's out. He can make you miss. He's a special runner."
(on how important it is to contain RB Matt Forte) "Very important to bottle him up because they try to get him the ball, you know that. You really just try to get to him quick before they even give him the ball."
TE Garrett Graham
(on TE Owen Daniels' injury and if he can't play Sunday) "Just go about our business like any other game, just prepare for it, (TE Owen Daniels) OD is a tough guy, so just get ready for the Bears."
(on the opportunity if TE Owen Daniels can't play or is limited on Sunday) "Just try to keep doing what I'm doing, contributing anyway I can, whether it's catching the ball or blocking, whatever it may be. But just take advantage of the opportunities that I get."
(on what it feels like to get rewarded with a touchdown reception last Sunday) "I'm not going to lie. It's a lot of fun. Anyway I can contribute, but catching the ball and getting in the end zone is definitely a plus."
WR Andre Johnson
(on Bears CB Charles Tillman) "Great, if you watch him play, he's forced the most turnovers in the league. (CB Charles) Tillman is always knocking balls out. I think he forced like four or five fumbles last game, so just got to make sure to take care of the ball. When you turn the ball over there, they're very successful. You just have to make sure we take care of it and protect it."
(on what CB Charles Tillman does to be so successful) "I don't know. I don't know nothing about punching balls out. My job is to catch it and run with it."
(on his mindset going against CB Charles Tillman) "Just protecting it, it's easier said than done. You just have to when you catch it, just make sure you've got it wrapped up."
(on if he'll be more aware of wrapping the ball up) "Yeah, I knew that about him last time we played him. Whenever you get the ball, you just have to make sure you've got it tucked away well and make sure you've got it protected."
(on his success in his last game against the Bears) "Yeah, but that was last time. This is four or five years later. Different game, different circumstances, different teams, we'll be up for the challenge."
(on Bears WR Brandon Marshall) "He's big, strong, physical. He plays the game at a very high level, very successful. You can tell he's in a happy place right now. Like I always say, I'm a big fan of receivers around the league. He's one of my favorite guys. I'll be watching him. He's out there on the field and I'll see how he plays."
(on returning to the Sunday Night Football stage) "It's great. I think that it's great for this team. It's great for the organization. It's great for the city. This is something we've been looking forward to for a long time. It's about going out and showing people what type of team we have and just responding well."
(on if there is a little bit of revenge wanted due to the Texans' loss against the Packers on Sunday Night Football) "No, it's not the same team. You can't worry about games in the past. You have to move forward. When you worry about things that happened in the past you tend not to be successful. We're not worried about what happened against Green Bay. We have to stay focused on Chicago."
(on cleaning up mistakes from the Buffalo game) "I think that's what keeps us going the way we're going, keeps us winning. When we win games, nobody is satisfied. First thing we talk about when we come in, we've got to fix the mistakes. After a win, when coach talks to us, he points out mistakes. We're happy that we're winning but at the same time, like I said before, I don't feel like we've played our best football yet. Hopefully we can do that Sunday night."
(on C Chris Myers being named a captain) "I think it's big. It just shows what your teammates think about you. I'm pretty sure it means a lot to him. (C) Chris (Myers) is a big part of our team. We knew that during this offseason when we were trying to make sure that he was back here. I'm happy for him. He deserves it."
FS Shiloh Keo
(on what it means to be selected as a special teams captain) "It means the world because being voted captain is being voted by your peers. It's just understanding that there are the rest of the special teams guys out there. All of them are eligible to be captain. We've all been making great plays. For them to vote me, it's just very special. Like I said before, it's just now I've got to go out and I've got to push myself even harder. I've got to make plays all the time. I've got to be in the right spot and have to expect that. I have to get everyone else to hold themselves accountable as well."
FS Danieal Manning
(on returning to Chicago to face the Bears) "It's another game on our schedule. To be honest with you, I circled this game as soon as the schedule game out. I circled it and I was excited about it. At the beginning, it started to become personal. Now, it's just like another game. You've got to prepare the same way. You have to step up. A lot of players got to step up. This team does pose a threat because they're good on offense, defense, and special teams, so everyone has to step up their game and prepare to play. It's going to be a physical game."
(on his advice to teammates who haven't played at Soldier Field with its weather and atmosphere) "That's always there in any place you play. Depends on who you're playing with the elements. It's an outdoor game. It's definitely going to be cold. That team has been there and they're having their core guys around for a long time and pretty much the same coaching staff. The mentality is they're going to be a physical team. They're going to play well on defense and the special teams is going to step up. Offense, now they've got some guys that have been around for a while and they've got some guys that have been familiar with one another in (QB) Jay Cutler and (WR) Brandon Marshall. Those guys are going to hook up. Now, they feel like they're moving the ball. They can move the ball on offense and they're going to try to pose some threats here and there."
(on the Bears' defensive ability to create turnovers) "I was telling those guys in practice today that's what they practice all the time. It's been one of their staples since I've been on that team and since (Bears Head Coach) Lovie's (Smith) era. He practiced that. He has stations where he sets up stripping and turnover drills. They believe in that. They bought into the system and it's obvious it's been working for them."
(on if he's going to talk to some of his former teammates this week) "Yeah, I'm going to call them today. I have to watch some film and see exactly what our game plan is going to be going against these guys, so I'm going to call them and let them know what's up."
(on if it's more special going to Chicago on Sunday night) "Not really, again, this is definitely another game on our schedule. It's been big. It's been played up. It's an NFC game, both the teams are 7-1 and it's going to be played out a lot. I look at it just like any other game. We're going to prepare hard, going to prepare the way that our coaches tell us to prepare and we're going to play our game."
OLB Whitney Mercilus
(on gaining another sack from the Buffalo game) "It was awesome. I was pretty happy about it to get three sacks in two games and add to my total, or whatever. That's all I want to do is keep balling it up."
(on Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar's emphasis on pass blocking) "Of course, coaches, they harp on us to get after the quarterback, keep finishing on every play. Each rush isn't going to be perfect but you've got to keep finishing and try to get to the quarterback as best as you can. That's mostly what's been taught to me the whole time I've been here."
(on if it's expected that everyone has their arms up trying to swat passes) "Yeah, especially when (DE J.J.) Watt is over there swatting down balls, everybody's got to get into the act."
(on going back to Illinois as a professional) "It's going to be pretty cool. I'll just get asked about how many tickets I have to buy. Really, I don't have to buy a whole lot. I got lucky on that."
(on the Chicago weather) "It gets you prepared mentally or whatever. I've played in Illinois my whole life. It doesn't really phase me at all. To me, I actually love it because some guys they don't like to get hit. I'll be the one to hit you instead over here trying to dodge me."
FS Glover Quin
(on Bears QB Jay Cutler) "He can make every throw. He has a big arm. He can make every throw and when he's on he's on. Him and (WR) Brandon Marshall they've been playing together for a while. They know each other. They understand each other. He's a tough guy. He gets hit. He gets back up and he comes back and makes the next throw. We've got to make sure we've got good coverage because he can put the ball where he wants to."
(on the combination of QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall) "They're top of the league when they're going. I think (WR Brandon) Marshall has like 59 catches. That's the go-to guy. That's who he likes. That's who he wants to get the ball to. We have to know that and we have to be on our game."
(on if the Texans can rattle QB Jay Cutler) "I hope so. Obviously, we want to try to get to the quarterback and put some pressure on him and force him into some throws that aren't his best throws. If we can get him in that situation, that'd be good for us."
OLB Brooks Reed
(on having ILB Darryl Sharpton back at practice) "It was good. It was fun to watch him today. He told me after practice he was nervous like he was in a game. He's trying to get back into shape so I'm excited to have him back."
(on facing the Bears) "We know they like to give it (WR Brandon Marshall) No. 15 and hand it off to the running back, so trying to prevent big plays downfield is primary goal."
(on how slippery QB Jay Cutler is) "He's slippery. He's an athlete. They've got to breakdown when you try to tackle him. We've got to try to keep him contained. When we have receivers covered downfield we've got to make sure our inside guys aren't way up field and behind him."
QB Matt Schaub
(on Chicago's defense) "They're a very good group. A lot of those guys have played together for a long time in the same scheme, in the same system, so they're well-versed in it. They do a great job of getting the ball out, creating turnovers, creating big plays, like they always have. So they present a lot of challenges to you from their front four to their back end."
(on if he's seen a defense force as many turnovers as Chicago's has) "Well, I think you look at the numbers through this far along in the season and they do a great job, (with) how many they're creating and how many of those go for big plays. Teams really beat themselves by allowing those guys to create that many big plays."
(on the possibility of cold weather for the game) "It doesn't matter. It'll be whatever it is outside. We'll be ready to go."
(on WR Andre Johnson saying he feels more explosive this season) "Yeah, I've seen it. I've seen it from Dre (WR Andre Johnson). We notice it in practice and then when you watch the film of the games, you can see it, his burst off the ball and then once he catches the ball in the open field, his ability to break the first tackle or get positive yards after the catch. You can see it from him. To me, it's just like watching Andre all the time. That's how he is."
(on how the offense will be affected if TE Owen Daniels can't play) "We're going to continue to run our operation. Obviously, it's one less weapon that we have out there, if that were the case. I know that (TE) Owen (Daniels) is going to do everything he can to be out there. It's early in the week but it just means that everyone is going to have to do a little bit more, pick up the slack a little bit. (TE) Garrett (Graham) has done some great things, (FB) James (Casey). Just ask everyone to pick up more in their play."
(on TE Garrett Graham's development) "Yeah, he's done a great job. All the offseason work that he was given and then all the reps he's gotten throughout the season. We ask him to do a lot, whether he's the first tight end blocking or whether he's in the pass route. I mean, he does it all for us and does it really well."
(on C Chris Myers being named midseason captain) "I think it was the same way last year with (C) Chris (Myers). He was voted midseason to be an additional captain. But that's the way he is year-round for us. He's one of the leaders in the locker room. A vocal guy who gets everyone organized offensively upfront, makes all the calls. He's been a leader around here for a few years now."
(on throwing the football in the rain) "It's just something you have to work through. There were times, I remember back in college, we used to do a wet-ball drill day. Throw the ball in a bucket of water and then go play. You've just got to learn to adjust to it. It is what it is. It's that way for both teams. You've just got to go play. The worst thing, though, is the wind. That's the thing that affects, as far as the quarterback standpoint, more than the rain."
(on Chicago's weather) "I've played in Chicago. The weather is going to be what the weather is. We can't control it. We can't change it. It's going to be that way for both teams."
(on if Houston's offense is predicated on controlling the ball) "That's the way we're built. We pride ourselves in taking care of the football, converting on third down, scoring points in the red zone, and keeping the other team off the field, resting our defense for when they've got to go back out there. That's how we're built."
(on returning to the national spotlight) "We're just excited to go find our eighth win this week. All that other stuff, we don't really pay attention to it. We're just going to go try and win a game."
(on WR Andre Johnson saying he sees a different look in his eyes this season) "I think so. It makes you realize the importance of every rep, every practice because you don't know when you're last one might come. You learn not to take things for granted, not that I did before. It just makes you realize how important and special every moment to get this play this game really is. So I'm taking full advantage of that now."
(on the Texans' ability to not turn the ball over and the Bears defense creating turnovers) "I think you look at what they've done on their side of the ball and how we operate offensively. It just makes you more aware. That's the way we're built. That's what we concentrate on is ball security. We've just got to continue to focus on that and be aware of how they play and that they're going to be trying to get it out and just continue to do what we've been doing."
(on FB James Casey's role) "We move him around a lot. (FB) James (Casey) does it all for us. He's a fullback and tight end. He lines up out wide. He creates a lot of mismatches. His athleticism and ability to play in space really gives us an advantage."
(on the Bears' defense ) "They're being aggressive. Their front, they're trying to be aggressive and be physical with us. They're trying to get the ball out. We told them, no matter who it is, try and strip the ball. That's how you get ready for it."
(on the Bears' defense ) "I don't know if there is anything unique. They just keep putting a lot of pressure on you. They go all day. They're physical. They're up in the line of scrimmage. Their effort is tremendous at all positions so it's just something that we got to match."
(on the Bears defense being similar to the Texans defense ) "It is. It's different because they play a 4-3 rather than the 3-4 like our defense. They go all day. They bring pressures. Their corners are physical guys. Their safeties like to play around the line of scrimmage so it's very similar style as far as how they play and their mindset, mentality, and the things they try to get you to do."
(on if the Bears defense tries to bat passes) "They definitely try. You can see it on film. They make it a point to try to get their hands in the air and try to bat passes and create turnovers."
ILB Darryl Sharpton
(on how he felt when he reported for training camp) "I went into training camp thinking I was going to hit the ground running, but I had a slight setback. I guess I overcompensated on my other leg. I strained my hip on the other side. It set me back a little bit. I just continued to rehab and keep my faith and now I'm here."
(on his season last year) "Mentally it was really tough just because like you said, I was there feeling comfortable, playing good, just getting better and better every week, getting more comfortable. I feel like I was becoming the player that I want to be and then had this setback. It was tough on me mentally, but I just kept my faith. I just believe that it's all in God's plan."
(on if this is the first serious injury he's ever had) "Yeah, definitely this is my most serious injury I ever had. Usually if I get injured, like I sprain my ankle or have something wrong with my shoulder, I just brace it up, tape it up. Fighting through this kind of injury is something that I couldn't fight through and that was kind of tough on me. Literally not being able to even push through pain, just had to be on the sideline, it's the first time something like this happened to me."
(on how he injured himself) "We were playing Jacksonville. It was Battle Red Day. I tried to forget the play, but I remember I believe it was like a zone play or something and I was taking on a linemen and my foot got stuck in the ground and then just popped my quad tendon. Definitely wasn't expecting that."
(on how he felt today at practice) "After I went out there today, obviously, it was the first time getting back out there, so I had my doubts, a little hesitant, had butterflies in my stomach. All kind of different emotions but after running around, let the adrenaline flow through my blood, I felt like my old self. I felt like a good football player."
(on if he felt like he could do everything he needed to do at today's practice) "It was the first time I was out there so I eased into it. I just got more and more confident as practice went on. I felt good. I felt really good towards the end."
(on how it felt to be back on the field) "It felt really good. I remember just driving to the stadium today. I felt like a kid on the first day of school. I was all nervous, but it felt really good. I can't even explain. It felt good to be part of the team again."
DE J.J. Watt
(on people voting him for midseason defensive player of the year awards) "It's great, but they don't hand out trophies after 13.1 miles of a marathon. So I think it's an honor, but it really doesn't mean a whole lot me. What matters to me is the end of the year, the end of the season. While it's great and I respect everybody's opinions, I have much bigger goals."
(on Bears CB Charles Tillman and how important it is to have a big game on Sunday) "He's having a good football year. Obviously, has a specialty in knocking the balls out. Everybody can decide for themselves. I think it's a big game for us, for our team. Obviously national television is always a chance to show the country, the world what we're about and you look forward to that."
(on Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar's influence on him batting down passes) "We work on that every single day. It's something we do in our individual period of practice. We emphasize it in team periods. Obviously, (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line) Bill (Kollar) puts big emphasis on it. It's something that can help change a game, and obviously four of mine have turned into interceptions. Those are big plays. One of (OLB) Whitney's (Mercilus) has turned into an interception. Those are huge plays. A lot of people talk about (CB Charles) Tillman's knockouts. I think our batted balls turned into interceptions are just as big of a point of emphasis."
(on if Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar's message really clicked, in terms of batting balls) "I think it's something I've been working on in college and it's something I've just continued to work on here in the pros."
(on being named a team captain) "It's an honor. Obviously, more than anything outside of this room, more than any media member can say anything about me, first and foremost, is always the respect of your teammates. So that's why it's such an honor. I'm going to do every single thing I can to make my teammates proud every single week and help this team win games."
(on the honor of being a team captain) "It's great. It's very humbling. It's very motivating for me. I want to go out there and prove that I earned that 'C' and that I deserve that 'C.' It's one of those things that's going to make me work even harder in the weight room, in the film room, on the game field, on the practice field to make my teammates proud, to make this city proud, to my make family proud."
(on if he sees opportunities to sack Bears QB Jay Cutler) "Yeah, I do. I see opportunities for sacks against every offensive line. I obviously watched the film. You see the opportunities. You get excited. Obviously, you get excited about playing a big-time game here, Sunday night game. Hopefully the temperature is down a little bit. I'm due for a little cold game. I miss the cold a
litte bit down here, so I'm really excited."
(on Chicago's cold weather) "I love it. I'm really looking forward to it. I grew up playing in it. I grew up playing in the cold. That's what I know. That's what's in my blood. I'm really excited about. It'll just feel like football to me. The colder the better. Bring it on."
(on rattling Bears QB Jay Cutler) "That's the goal. Every single week it's our goal to rattle the opposing quarterback, whether it be with batted balls, sacks. You always want to make the quarterback do things he doesn't want to do, throw poor throws, take a sack. That's what we're trying to do this week as well."
(on competing against the Bears' defense) "I think we want to be known as the best defense in the NFL. The Bears are one of the best defenses in the NFL right now, so it's an opportunity for us to go head-to-head on a stage. Obviously, we won't be going head-to-head directly, but we will have an opportunity to show the world what we're about. We're excited about that opportunity."
(on what comes to mind when he hears Soldier Field) "I hear tradition. Obviously, great Bears defenses, Mike Ditka comes to mind. You think about the Chicago Bears and Super Bowls, Refrigerator Perry, all that type of stuff. I think there is a lot of tradition and a lot of history there and it's an exciting place to play."
(on going against Bears T Gabe Carimi when they were teammates at Wisconsin) "That was two competitors going on. He's on offense. I'm on defense. Two great football players, two guys competing every single day. We went head-to-head. We battled. It was definitely a battle."
(on Chicago being near his hometown) "I'll have some family and friends down there so excited about that. Obviously, a chance for them to come see me play live and it'll be really neat."
(on how many friends and family members he'll have at the game) "I don't know exactly. I'm not sure because I'm not getting all the tickets for this one. Everybody is kind of on their own for that. I got my parents and a couple of my buddies but everybody else is taking care of theirselves so it's nice."
(on the reaction from being on the Sports Illustrated cover) "It's been unbelievable. From the fans, to family, to friends, to people back in Wisconsin, everyone here in Texas, it's been great. It's been very cool to see. Like I said, it was an honor. But it's also motivating, it's a good feeling. It's nice. It's nice to have eyes on you. It's nice to have eyes on the Texans, eyes on our team. But you have to work extremely hard to stay here and make it even farther and make it even bigger and better. You're always striving for bigger and better and you always have to put in the work to get there."
(on if he had knew ahead of time that he was going to be on the cover) "No. I found out like I said last week, when somebody sent me a tweet of the picture. That's how I found out."
(on what game the cover photo is from) "I don't know exactly which game. I just got my first copy a couple days ago. I only have one couple in my house right now. I haven't looked at the photo close, but I'm sure I could figure out which game it's from. I remember that moment specifically from every game when I get introduced. It's such a crazy feeling. It's such a great feeling to come out in front of our crowd and to hear them chant your name and go crazy."
(on getting another chance on Sunday Night Football) "We want to show the world the real us. We played poorly against the Packers. The Packers played great. You have to give the Packers a ton of credit. Obviously Aaron Rodgers played a heck of a game that game, but we're going to go out here Sunday night. We've been preparing hard. We've been working very hard, and we're really excited about another opportunity."
(on teams trying to slow him down) "You get double-teamed. You get tripped. You get sometimes triple-teamed. There's different things teams do, but like I've always said, that opens up my teammates. As always, a double team is never guaranteed to stop you. It's a new challenge. I love challenges. I've been faces challenges my whole life."
(on facing cheap shots) "There's a few, but that's part of the game. I don't mind it. Cheap shots are almost a sign of respect. If a guy's got to hit you after the play, if a guy's got to do something dirty to you, then that means he probably couldn't do it between the whistles so, welcome them all."
(on if that's when he tells guys that he's eaten burritos bigger than them) "That's when I tell guys I've eaten burritos bigger than them, yeah. I've eaten some big ones."
(on protecting himself this season) "I'm always protecting myself. It's a football field. I expect to get hit. I expect to get run into, to get guys diving at my legs, to get guys trying to hit me in the stomach when I'm jumping a batted ball, all these things. It's football. I encourage it. Do whatever you want to try and stop me, that's part of the game. I'm doing whatever I can do to get to your quarterback. You do whatever you do to try to stop me. At the end of the day, one team will win and one team will lose."
Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith Conference Call
(on the magnitude of Sunday' night game) "Just pretty excited about it, doesn't get any better than this. It's one thing just to be playing during primetime, but to have a great matchup like this. We both think we're pretty good football team and we are. The 7-1 records say that we both are. You want to see how you match up with the best."
(on why the Bears defense is so good at creating turnovers) "Don't know for sure, I just know that we practice it a lot. The guys, first off, have bought into it. The coaching staff does a great job of teaching it daily and we do practice it quite a bit. Once you see what takeaways can do to help your ball club and then you see guys doing it, you want to be a part of that. Now it's just a base part of a culture around here. It's expected."
(on how big of a challenge it is going against a Texans team that doesn't turn the ball over often) "I can't say. You'd be underachieving it if took a team that doesn't' turn the ball over for you to work harder. I think we work hard every day about as hard as we can. The Texans do a great job of ball security. Every Gary Kubiak team you see is like that. For us, we can't look at it like that. This is what we do. We're going to try to do it versus everyone."
(on why Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak's teams are so good at ball security) "I think as I talked about the culture around here that's the culture around there. It's expected. I'm sure (Texans Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak), they practice it each day. In order for them to be successful, that's a base part of what they do weekly. That's just who they are."
(on his impressions of Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak as a coach) "A lot of respect of course for (Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak), he's a great guy off the field. Of course, his football expertise on the offensive side of the football is, I don't have to say an awful lot about that. I think we all know. The Texans have a philosophy. It's not going to change an awful lot. They really believe in it. You look each year you're going to see the Texans up at the top of what they do offensively."
(on how sometimes when teams emphasize turnovers they give up more yards on the other end) "We don't see that. We don't see it like that at all. It's about trying to get the ball back and you can't play prevent with all these players worried about missing a tackle or something like that. We're not going into detail. We're just not coming up there punching the football. There is a time to punch the ball, but we're trying to secure it. You can do both. We haven't had a lot of tackles. We're an excellent tackling football team, but you can do both."
(on what makes CB Charles Tillman so good at stripping the football) "You'd have to ask (CB) Charles (Tillman) about that. I can't tell you. I wish I could. If it was that easy everyone would be doing it. I could tell everyone what to do. It just doesn't work like that. I think some guys have a gift and Charles has a hitch for two. He's done it so many times. I just know that he's a part of the group that we teach, but he does it as well as anyone."
(on how impressed he's been with CB Charles Tillman's play this season) "Been impressed, but I've been around (CB) Charles (Tillman) nine years, he's been a great player for us every year, comes to work every day with his lunch pail. Likeable guy, works extremely hard on the football field, a guy that deserves to play well."
(on if CB Charles Tillman's misses Sunday's game) "No, not concerned at all. Things happen in life. Whatever we're faced with we'll deal with."
(on how much he buys into the notion that teams that play in warm weather most of the time would struggle in cold weather environments this time of year) "That's a question you'd have to ask warm-weather teams as much as anything. Just make sure you let (Texans Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) and the group know that it is cold this time of year. We want them to definitely be concerned about it. I think normally both teams play on the same field. You deal with the elements whatever that is. I think the best team normally wins. We feel like we have a home-field advantage up here, especially in the winter time. Whether we do or not, who knows?"
(on his influence on FS Danieal Manning) "You've had a chance to be around (FS) Danieal Manning a little bit. He's one of the best guys you'll ever be around, just a hard worker, great athlete, just a dream guy to coach. Danieal, for me, it went way back. I can recall going down personally to work Danieal out at Corsicana High School and his grandfather brought his water jug there for him. Danieal just did everything you want him to do. I saw a special athlete that had a chance to be a real good football player in the league. That's exactly what he's doing."
(on giving FS Danieal Manning individual attention during his third year) "I was coaching the nickelbacks. That's why I took them out of the meetings. As a head coach, you want to be involved still. I don't coach the nickels anymore, but at the time I was coaching the nickelbacks. (FS) Danieal (Manning) had played the position. We had played Danieal a lot of other positions, corner, safety, and wanted to just give him some individual instruction on that. That was a lot of fun coaching him."
(on DE J.J. Watt) "Outstanding player, of course we loved him when he came out of the University of Wisconsin, just like the Texans did. He plays hard every down. He would have to. Anybody that'll be under a great coach like (Texans Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line) Bill Kollar will have to play hard. I think that was a base part of his DNA anyway, just nonstop motor. It's about rushing the pass and he can do it, inside, outside, a fun guy to watch."
(on WR Andre Johnson's season) "He's one of the best players in the league. I say best player, of course he's one of the best receivers, but just one of the best players in the league. For him to be fresh it's just going to make it that much tougher for everyone that has to cover him. It'll be a big challenge for our defensive backs to play against a special player like that. He's a physical receiver, but has great speed, and runs great routes. He can catch the football. That's why it's so exciting and having an opportunity to play against some special guys like this. He's definitely one of the best."
Chicago LB Brian Urlacher Conference Call
(on what stands out to him about the Texans) "They're good. They run it good. They throw it good. They don't turn the ball over. They protect their quarterback. They have great personnel and a really good offense, very sound."
(on if there are any similarities between the Bears and Texans) "They seem to do a few things really well, which is what we seem to think we do on defense as well. We don't do a whole lot. The things we do, we do pretty good. They're the same way on offense. They do the boots, the zone plays. Just the stuff they do, they do really well."
(on why the Bears are so good at creating turnovers) "That's all we do in practice. If the running back runs past us and we don't strip, we get yelled at. If the ball is on the ground and we don't pick it up or if it's an incomplete pass or a fumble, it just doesn't happen. You have to pick it up and run with it. Picks, we score every time in practice. That's just our culture around here. That's what we're taught; it's what we do and what we do in games."
(on if you can count on forcing turnovers in games) "I think we do okay without getting turnovers as well. I think, even if we don't get takeaways, we still are a pretty sound defense. We have pretty good personnel."
(on limiting big plays while going for turnovers) "We haven't had an issue with that. (CB) Charles (Tillman) forced one on Sunday and he got ran over, but he may have given up one extra yard but he caused a fumble. It was a tight end and he was giving up 60 pounds so he may have been run over either way, but he caused a fumble on the way to the ground. Stuff like that happens. We always secure the tackle first if we can and then go after the ball after that. The second guy in always tries to strip the ball out."
(on how this defense compares to past defenses he's played on) "This is the best talent-wise, for sure. Anytime you've got a guy like (DE) Julius Peppers. (WLB) Lance (Briggs) is playing great. Peanut (CB Charles Tillman) is playing great. (CB) Tim (Jennings), (SS) Major (Wright), all these guys, (DT) Henry (Melton), I can go on and on, but all these guys are playing great this year. Just the explosiveness that we have on this defense, I've never been around anything like it. It's fun to be a part of it."
(on how impressed he is with Texans DE J.J. Watt) "He's awesome. From what I hear, every time someone throws a pass, he bats it down. He's done a great job and I think he leads the NFL in sacks. Like I said, he bats every ball down. He's good in the running game. Their defense is playing really well. I watched them play a couple times this year. He's doing a great for them. He's probably second, behind Peanut (CB Charles Tillman) for (Defensive) Player of the Year, I think."
(on what kind of player FS Danieal Manning was in Chicago) "Awesome. I loved playing with (FS) Danieal (Manning). He was a good teammate, explosive guy. He was a good defensive player but I loved watching him on kickoff returns. I don't know if he does that down there or not, but man, whenever he got back there for kickoff returns, the whole sideline got up because we knew something was about to happen. He was a good teammate. We went to a Super Bowl together. I think it was his rookie year that we went to the Super Bowl. We had some good years here and it was sad to see him go, but it's always nice when your friends get paid and get a chance to go on and keep playing."
(on what the first thing that comes to mind with the Texans offense) "It's (RB) Arian Foster. Our number one goal is just to try and stop the run every week. If we can make a team one-dimensional, it plays into our hands a little bit more. They have a lot of great players. (Matt) Schaub is a smart quarterback. They're good up front, but the number one thing is for us to try and stop the run and that's every week. It doesn't matter who the running back is."
(on what comes to mind first when he thinks of Houston's offense) "It's (RB) Arian Foster. Our number one goal is to try and stop the run every week. If we can make a team one-dimensional, it plays into our hands a little bit more. They have a lot of good players. (Matt) Schaub is a good quarterback. They're good up front. But the number one thing for us is to try and stop the run. That's every week. It doesn't matter who the running back is."
(on what makes RB Arian Foster special) "He gets downhill in a hurry. He's something and he goes. There's no dancing. There's no try to make guys miss. He sees a hole, hits and that's the way their running game works with Houston. The same way it was back in Denver, back in the day. Just one cut, downhill and get the backside guys on the ground. As a defensive player, they cut the backside and he goes downhill."
(on what it will mean to his defense if CB Charles Tillman misses Sunday's game) "Why would he miss the game? Because of his baby?"
(on CB Charles Tillman saying he won't play in the game if his wife goes into labor) "Then that means he won't be out there. That's what it means. I mean, we're going to miss him. He's the best player in the NFL right now on defense. We'll miss him, but we have good backups as well."
(on why QB Matt Schaub hasn't been sacked much this season) "They're good up front, but they do a lot of boots (bootlegs), they do a lot of things to keep him away from the pressure, if that makes sense. They roll him out quite a bit. It's hard to differentiate run from pass quick because they look the same for a couple seconds there. Until you see him rolling out, you're not sure what it is. They roll him away from the pressure quite a bit and he gets rid of the football. He's a smart quarterback, gets rid of the ball."
(on why he thinks the Texans are so good ate running play-action bootlegs) "They're really good. I don't know why they're so good. I think just because (Head Coach Gary) Kubiak has done it his whole career. I think (QB Matt) Schaub's been there for a long time. He knows how to do it and they get players who know how to do it. You just keep coaching it over and over and they get good at it. They have good personnel. Their tight ends, obviously Andre Johnson is a great receiver. And you've got to respect the run. If they fake the run, you've got to respect that, too. So it's a lot going on there."
(on why the Texans are so good at protecting the ball and haven't turned it over much this season) "I don't know why they're so good at it. (QB Matt) Schaub doesn't make dumb throws. (RB Arian) Foster doesn't fumble. So that's a pretty good combination right there. Like you guys said, he doesn't get sacked a lot either, so there's not going to be a lot of fumbles there if he doesn't get sacked. They protect the football. They don't get in a lot of bad situations, third-and-long, nothing like that and that helps them quite a bit."
(on a pair of 7-1 teams meeting each other) "The media is going to build it up to be a really big game because we're both 7-1. To us, it's the next game on our schedule. It's a home game. We expect to win every home game. We're lucky we have them in front of our crowd because they're a good football team. We played down there a couple years ago and they beat us pretty good in that building. We'd rather have them at home but it's another game for us."