HC LOVIE SMITH
"Wednesday practice went well. There's a lot of things we have to clean up. A lot of improvements we need to make. We're working on those, that's what practice is for. I had to wear a couple layers today. It was a little chilly out there today. We're excited about this week, big game, another opportunity for us. You have to be able to win on the road. Of course we'd like to play every game at home, but you need to be able to win on the road. We know a lot of our traveling Texans will be with us. Hopefully we play better and finish this week, that's what it's about as much as anything. We've had moments where we play good ball. We need to be able to finish. Injury-wise, like everybody this time, we're nursing a few. I think you have the injury list. We'll go from there."
How will you keep the Bears running game in check?
"There's a commitment first off to it, it's declared. You look at the last game, it showed two excellent running backs, an offensive line that blocks, an athletic quarterback that can cause problems that will open up somethings with that. It will be a big challenge for us. We haven't played our best ball versus the run, haven't tackled as well as we need to. All of those things should come into play this week."
How do you handle OL Justin Britt's situation moving forward as a team?
"It's kind of cut and dry. As far as team is concerned, we have a teammate that won't be with us for a while. Just like there's an injury, when a teammate is not going to be with you for awhile, it's about the next guy stepping up. Scott Quessenberry stepped us last week. We feel like we have depth there and we're giving Justin (Britt) everything he possibly needs to handle his situation."
Do you look back fondly at your time with the Bears and what you were able to accomplish?
"Absolutely. I get a chance to have my dream job here based on starting there. A lot of great times, we still have a home there, friends. My wife is from Chicago. All positive, appreciative of everything that happened there during my time there."
How far away from contributing is WR Tyler Johnson and what have you seen from him so far in practice?
"He's making progress. When you come onboard a little bit later, you just start the process as much as anything. Somethings you have to wait a little bit longer for your opportunity based on what's happening with the other guys at the position. He's progressing and eventually well get him up on the roster and he'll be able to play, eventually."
How much has OL Scott Quessenberry progressed over the last couple of day?
"Coming in, he's (Scott Quessenberry) a veteran that's been in a role where you have to be ready. We like what he did the last preseason game. Every time he's had a chance to play, we liked some of the things he's done. He did some good things last we against the Broncos, from there, every rep you get of being in that role. We know Justin (Britt) is not going to be with us. Scott is there. He's a guy the players have all the confidence in the world in him, like we do. Expecting him to play good football like the rest of our guys this week."
Can you elaborate any more on OL Justin Britt's situation?
"Once you say it's personal, there's not elaboration that I'll go in after that. That should say enough. He's out for a reason that's personal to him. We'll leave it at that. Like I said last week, to me as coach, it's one game at a time, one day at a time. He's not going to be with us for a period of time. We know he's not with us right now."
Since you just signed OL Jimmy Morrissey from the practice squad to the active roster, where have you seen him improve from last year to this year?
"He got playing time last year, a tough player. When you've been around for a long period of time, you know how we do things, what the role entails and that's the reason why he's been on our roster. Centers just in general, when you have a guy that can snap, tough football player that can do a lot of the things Jimmy (Morrissey) does, they're a valuable force. As we look back on that 69, 70-man roster, we're going to need everybody. That's what the guys were told, first cut. A lot of that is coming into play a little bit quicker than maybe we thought."
With TE Brevin Jordan having an ankle injury, how much does that affect your offense?
"Brevin (Jordan) is a heck of a football player. We have a few good football players out, but now it's about the next guys stepping up. We have a little bit of depth at that position. (Jordan) Akins can step in and do some thigs. O.J. Howard, when he's gotten reps, of course he can and we know what Pharaoh (Brown) can do. We still feel like we're okay, but we're missing a good football player right now."
In what area do you feel RB Dameon Pierce improved in the most from Week 1 to 2?
"First, our commitment to him, getting him more carries. What we saw this past week I think is what we've seen throughout. Guy gets the ball, he's a tough guy to bring down. Talk about finish, we as a football team need to finish. I haven't said that an awful lot to Dameon (Pierce). He finishes plays. What we want to be, that toughness, extra effort, all those things you talk about, that's exactly what we see from him every time he gets the ball."
How do you get your offense to step up and help QB Davis Mills out? Can you practice that?
"Yeah, you keep practicing. That's what you do. You have to keep in mind, it's just like you look at a game. Maybe three minutes into the game, you're not where you want to be, but you have time, still. That's how we're looking at it. Sometimes it's not exactly how you wanted it to be initially. You keep practicing. To me, the only thing you can do is watch video and go to the practice field and start working on those things. My experience says eventually it happens. That's how I feel about where we are right now. Eventually, it's going to happen."
What have you seen from Bears S Jaquan Brisker?
"Another good football player. Active, good run-sport player, he's got the skills that it seems like now, the group of young athletes coming through, they're more ready to play initially, quicker than before. They all have a skill set that allows them to grow. He's a good football player. We'll have to know where he is and deal with him."
How do you approach talking to the team about a player who's dealing with personal reasons?
"You have to go back to that word. What's that word? Personal. Once it's personal, that's enough for everybody. And maybe it's not enough for us, but it's enough. When somebody's dealing with something personal, you leave it at that. You're there for support. You get them anything that they could possibly need to help them go through a situation. Then you stay away a little bit and just be there for him. That's all the team needs is that. To know that one of our teammates is going through something and the teammate knows that the team is behind him, supporting him in any way that you possibly can. Believe me, that's enough for all of us right now."
What have you seen from the Bears defense and the ability to stop the run?
"As far as Dameon (Pierce), there's a commitment to the run. We've said we're at least second cousins as far as how we play defense. There's a commitment to it (the run). I think every defense should start off trying to stop the run. I'm looking at us, I'm going to say, 'hey what do we need to do first.' We need to stop the run and you make that commitment to it. I'm sure they'll do the same thing. We understand that too. We've got to be able to run the football. When I talk about running the football, there's so much more than running the football. We've got to be successful running the ball, but we've got to open our passing game too. When teams make a hard commitment to stop the run like that, they're in one-on-one situation outside. As you talk to our guys outside and our quarterback giving the ball to him, we have to do some things like that to help the run also."
What's the relationship like between DB Derek Stingley Jr. and DB Steven Nelson in terms of learning from each other and matching up against certain receivers?
"I think (Derek) Stingley is going to learn from playing. I think you can give misguided a little bit if you just look at passes weren't caught on one person or which side they're attacking. Derek Stingley is our one corner. He's going to be in that role for many years. I love him being in that role. He's an outstanding player and he's going to be a great player as he goes through. We'll have Steven (Nelson) as our second corner. He does some good things also. We need both of them. It's kind of as simple as that."
QB DAVIS MILLS
After the first two game, what do you tell the offense going forward?
"Just keep straining, trying to make plays. We do it out here in practice. We did it all camp, throughout preseason, just got to execute once we get in the games. It starts with me, I've got to make all the throws, and I know that. Just got to keep pushing for what we've been training for. I think we're ready to perform. We've just got to do it."
What do you see from Bears rookie S Jaquan Brisker?
"Looks like a really good player on film. Maybe there's been a couple moments where it's shown that he's a rookie but we know there's a reason he's in the league. He's a really good player. Got to respect everybody on the other side of the ball."
What do you see out of Bears rookie DB Kyler Gordon?
"Another solid player. Lot of schemes similar of what we have on defense. He's similar to some of our strong corners. They're going to be ready to fill in the run game but also have really good coverage opportunities. We like our guys on our side of the ball and we're ready to play against anybody."
What's the adjustment from OL Justin Britt to OL Scott Quessenberry been like?
"I think Scott (Quessenberry) has stepped up and done a really good job. He communicates really effectively. Feels like he's in really good control out there. We're excited for him. He played well this last game and he's ready to do it again this week."
Are there times where you can learn from the pressure?
"There are some situations where I can help out the offensive line a little bit, stepping up in the pocket. I think our guys on the edge, especially left and right tackle are giving me a really good pocket. I've got to help them out a little bit and step up and take a little bit of pressure off those guys. There's opportunities, some big-time stuff we had down the field this past game. There's also a lot to times where they cover deep, I can check the ball down and not have to force it down field and big plays will come from that too. There's things we've been working on that we can execute while still taking shots down the field."
Does having a guy like RB Dameon Pierce give you a little more confidence when you step up and throw?
"Definitely. When you have a guy who's going to make the first person miss or get out of that first tackle and fall forward, keep getting positive yards, that's what you want on offense. When you're rushing for five yards a play or close to it, that's what you want. It'll put us in third-and-manageable situations or second-and-short. If we feel like we can be in those situations, we feel like we can convert those plays and keep the ball moving."
What do you think the identity of this offense can be?
"Ground and pound football team who's going to make the defense have to play the run, but then when they do, let's take some shots and move the football down the field."
Where do you feel like you're at in those late game situations, trying to score at the end of the game?
"I'm comfortable in those situations. Just got to execute my job. Looking back on it, there's opportunities down the field. Got to execute with those. Missed a couple throws this last game, but then if they cover up, like I said before, we've got to be able to get our checkdowns the ball and let them make plays and move the ball that way. Just seeing that on film and reflecting on it, I think we're in a really good spot right now. Those fourth quarter moments late in the game when we've got to go down and do something. Those are the make or break between a good team and a bad team. I think our team is really optimistic about where we're at and we're ready to go and prove it this weekend."
Does taking shots down the field get remembered more than other throws against other schemes?
"Not necessarily. When you call one of those shot plays or think you're going to get a big chunk from, you obviously want to make the play. What Pep (Hamilton) keeps stressing all the time is we've got to make smarter decisions on those plays. If they cover up deep, let's check it down and move on to the next play because there is going to be more opportunities to get those plays called throughout the game."
With only one road victory so far in your career, what are some challenges quarterbacks face on the road as opposed to playing at home?
"A lot of it is the whole travel schedule, getting out there, doing meetings at the hotel in another city, prepping that way. The biggest thing is being able to manage your new environment, something that's new to you. I know a lot of the quarterbacks who are older in their careers have played at a lot of these away stadiums multiple times. A lot of them are the first time I'm seeing new stadiums, so being able to handle the new environment, manage crowd noise, effectively communicate at the line, those a big things. But when it boils down to it, football is still football. We just got to go out there and do our job."
What have you seen from WR Tyler Johnson so far?
"He's been looking really good in practice. You can tell he's played high level football before. Obviously performed really well when he was with Tampa (Bay Buccaneers) last. Once he gets a little more of the offense down, we're excited to see what he can do."
What is something from training camp that you thought might not be an issue that has become an issue this season?
"I wouldn't think there is any glaring issues. We just got to fall back on our training, fall back on our basic install stuff that we have a lot of reps at. Continue to work through those, trust that our guys are going to win their matchups and go out there an dominate each rep."
WR BRANDIN COOKS
After taking in the first two games, what are some things you hope for from an offense standpoint?
"At the end of the day, I think we come out with some great things but the name of the game, in our team in general, especially on offense is finishing. Being able to finish in the red zone, finish the game with touchdowns versus field goals and that's what it's going to be all about. Getting back to practice and going to work and pressing that."
Even though you guys haven't been able to finish games, are you encouraged by what guys have been able to do?
"Absolutely. Like I said, I think early on we do a great job of moving the ball and having those details correctly, so I'm definitely encouraging that aspect. It's time to kind of take that next step to be able to turn these L's into W's really."
How do you approach someone being away from the team for personal reasons?
"Obviously, we're with Justin (Britt). He's one of our guys as he takes his personal time. At the end of the day, we just feel like we've got to move on as a team and continue to push forward. Scott (Quessenberry) did a great job. We've got confidence in our guys that were behind him and it's kind of the next man up mentality while at the same time supporting Justin (Britt)."
What have you seen this year from QB Davis Mills as opposed to last?
"At the end of the day, it's just his leadership capabilities. Like I've said, being able to grow from one year to another, and that expectation to keep on growing throughout the season is expected of him but expected of all of us to be on the same page and make those plays when he needs us to. It's a collective effort."
What do you think of the Bears rookie S Jaquan Brisker?
"Obviously, I haven't played him before but watching film he's a solid guy, an up-and-coming guy. He's doing his thing on the back end. I look forward just studying him and going out there and play."
How does having a guy like RB Dameon Pierce in the backfield help open up the playbook on short yard situations?
"It's huge. DP, (Dameon Pierce) he's always finishing. You talk about a guy that's finishing every single run. We feel that as a receiver group as well because we've got to stay intact. Anytime you can do that in the run game, it's going to help your offense and that's just the nature of the beast."
You mentioned that RB Dameon Pierce is a finisher. How good it that to have that in a rookie?
"It's a mentality it seems like. From the moment he stepped into the building, that's what he's all about. Even in practice finishing runs, even when he's not touched, even when it's hard out there. It's a mindset. That fact that it seems like he's always had that. When you turn on his college film, he was doing it then. It's built in him for sure."
What do you think of WR Tyler Johnson from what you've seen in practice?
"I like T (Tyler Johnson). He's got that dog mentality into him as well. A guy that can go in there and block but also can catch those tough contested balls. Look forward to adding him to the group whenever that may be."
What does reaching 8,000 receiving yards mean to you?
"It's a blessing but I'm far from done. Just trying to get better. That's my mindset. We'll celebrate those things when the cleats are hung up, but it's a long time from that."
What type of talent has University of Washington turned into?
"I'm not sure. You date back to just even my time. I'm think about Marcus Peters and some of those guys I played against. They definitely produce, but it's always 'Go Beavs'."
What's your message to teammates about being two plays away from 2-0?
"It come down to your best players playing great and playing the best. I talk about myself when I say that and every man has to look in the mirror and ask themselves that. That's my message because in the name of the game, in those tight scores or whatever the case might be, who's going to take you over the edge is typically going to be your best guy. We quite frankly haven't done that yet and I take some of that. I got that mentality to get back to work and keep pushing to be able to turn those tight scores into wins."