OC PEP HAMILTON
What do you want to see from this offense and how they can improve through these two games?
"Just being more opportunistic. When the opportunity presents itself for us to make plays, we're going to make those plays. We feel good about our guys having a great understanding of what we're doing and how we're attacking our opponents. We just now have to capitalize on those opportunities."
How would you assess your play calling over these last two weeks?
"Obviously it's not good enough because we haven't been able to score enough points. We're looking at all of the above. You always go back and you self-evaluate, that's what we all do. There are some situations where, of course I would like to have the opportunity to call a different call but I think we're a few plays away from having the opportunity to feel different after two games."
How come you guys don't use more motion to create easy opportunities for QB Davis Mills?
"I don't know that using motions will necessarily create easier opportunities. It depends on the defense. I think what we've tried to do is use tempo to create some opportunities. I think for us though, we've got to be better on third down. Got to be third down. You go back to the first two third downs of the regular season, we're right there in position to make plays and keep those drives going. It just didn't happen. It was no different in this game. We had a third-and-one and were not able to convert that. We'll do a better job on third down. We'll keep our drives going. We'll run more plays. We hope to score more points."
Can you talk about the connection between the receiver and QB Davis Mills?
"I think it's just that. That's the job of the quarterback, to make the appropriate throw in all situations. We'll do that. We'll help our receivers and put them in the positions to make plays. When the layups present themselves, we're going to make the layups, and we have to do a better job at that."
What do you identify as the strengths of QB Davis Mills?
"It's not even the strategy on how we attack the opponent. We're just trying to do everything we can to stay out of obvious passing situations. You look across the league, that's the biggest challenge for quarterbacks. You got young quarterbacks, guys like Davis (Mills) who has only, what like 418 attempts as a pro, compared to guys like have been in the league for a long time. Tom Brady has over 10,000 attempts. When you go back and look at the game, and you see there's incomplete passes, there's interceptions, there's plays that aren't made and why is that? In obvious passing situations, it's a challenge for any quarterback. We're doing everything we can to make sure that third down is manageable, if we have a third down at all and give ourselves a better chance of continuing drives and scoring points."
With the emergence of RB Dameon Pierce, how does that loosen some things up for the offense?
"I think when we can just find a way to feature a playmaker like Dameon, he's shown that he's explosive and he can create his own yards. We're hoping that the more he plays, he's going to find different ways to finish runs. Not necessarily run everybody over but it's good to see that he's tough, he's physical and he's willing to really be aggressive and getting extra yards when he's about to be tackled."
What happened to QB Davis Mills' right thumb and how is that affecting him right now?
"It's not affecting him at all as far as I know."
What do you think about WR Brandin Cooks taking responsibility for being unsuccessful on taking the team over the edge?
"I think Brandin (Cooks) has been in a lot of locker rooms. He has the respect of his teammates and he's a captain. I think it's just what he said. He's a guy that's going to make plays for us and when given the opportunity to, he's made those plays. We're a couple plays away. We're just going to make those plays."
How have the Bears rookie defensive backs adapted to the NFL like DB Derek Stingley and DB Jalen Pitre?
"I think they're good players (Bears DBs). It is obvious that if you're starting or you're playing a lot for any NFL franchise, that you're extremely talented and you're a good football player. Their defensive staff does a really good job of putting them in a position to really play to their strengths. Good young players."
Is QB Davis' Mills strength the reason why crossing routes were successful in Denver?
"No, the defensive scheme has something to do with when you take shots. They were a quarters team. When you run four verts the way we did in the first game, we anticipated that we would see more quarter, quarter-half or quarters coverage. They do a good job of playing top down and keeping the offense in front of them. We had our opportunities as you mentioned. Whatever we've got to do to get the ball in our playmakers hands and create yards that way, we'll do that."
What do you think is the biggest reason why QB Davis Mills' has struggled throwing outside the numbers?
"I think the sample size is too small to call it a struggle at this point. I think once again you've always got to factor in the opponent, the defense, what they're taking away. I don't see it as a struggle."
Looking at the tape, did you see an opportunity when you could get the tight ends more involved after Week 2?
"We feel good about really being able to mix personnel groupings, and then we consider on how that'll affect the opponent. Going into the Broncos game, one of their better players was the safety that didn't play. We felt like getting more DBs on the field defensively would give us a strategic advantage and put a little more pressure on them to acclimate themselves to the different looks we gave them with guys that hadn't played together as much. So we wanted to do a good job of mixing personnel groupings. We respect the heck out of our tight end group. We know that we have a talented group. Moving forward, just like we've done in previous weeks, we're going to find ways to put the best personnel groupings on the field to attack the opponent that we're facing."
What does WR Tyler Johnson potentially add to your offense?
"Just a young player that's physical, built well, can play in tight spaces. He's built for contact, but he's quick, he's elusive and he's shown some toughness so we'll see what his role will be moving forward. We have another day of practice to prepare for the Bears and we'll see."
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR FRANK ROSS
"Week 3, going up to Chicago. I know somebody's going to have a question about Soldier Field and what that means for the kickers. We'll adjust when we get there on Sunday just as we did in Denver in the altitude. We'll play all calls accordingly. More importantly, we have to stop what is a fast, core unit for them. Completely structured and built differently than the last week's opponent. Bears are going to be coming down the field with a lot of coverage speed, guys that can run and play aggressive in very sound football from (Richard) Hightower's unit."
What do you tell your guys to prepare for the playing surface in Chicago?
"AFC South is a nice play to play. You're playing a bunch of indoor dome games and turf. When you go out towards the elements, AFC North, (AFC) East, NFC North, you've got to be prepared in gameday. Those guys are going to go out there and test out the elements and well just adjust from there. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I know more about that than Ka'imi (Fairbairn), how the balls playing, or Cam (Cameron Johnston), etc. Going to use those guys to give those notifications where we want to play the kicks and the punts."
What can you say about Bears HC Matt Eberflus and his coaching style?
"Flus, we call him. Super happy for him. He's doing a great job. He's earned everything he's got. The entire picture is sound. Everything that he does from organizationally, top-down, he's going to work tirelessly to get that done, matriculate all the way down to his special teams units with (Richard) Hightower running it. He's going to have the autonomy to say these types of players are going to work for your kicking game unit. Let's us them in this capacity, use them in these roles and that's where we can have a nice mesh to be successful. It's going to be a good competition with that entire unit on Sunday."
How would you assess P Cameron Johnston's punting throughout the first couple of games?
"Most punters and a lot of you guys are going to look at things like net. We have to do better jobs. Cam (Cameron Johnston) knows directional kicks, width of the kicks, will help encourage those things like results and a longer net punt to help let coverage factor a little bit easier. Working hard on that this week. We do know that he has a strong leg and just need to be a little bit more pure. Real happy with the steps he's taken from year one to year two in the same system of knowing the calls, going out there. Every day we have to prove ourselves to execute. So far, encouraged and just need everybody, including Cam (Johnston), everybody we just need to go to that good-to-great type of mindset. Just make a little bit more on the dial, just a tick more of being a little bit better at our execution, whether that's the kick direction, the hang time, the coverage taking leverage early in the down. Look last week, way too many missed tackles. Things like that we can all in sum, the aggregate, improve."
We've talked about the kicking game, but does the weather impact the return game?
"Those guys have to be dialed in pregame, to see which way it's going. Know which side of the field we're defending, towards this end zone our bench is right, towards this end zone our bench is left, how it's going to carry, knowing it's a right-footed punter, knowing the direction of the kickoff that's coming at you. We're prepared. Those guys have to do a great job of just dialing in on the football. The only thing that matters in the world on that down is securing the football. That's goal number one."
Is your average field position where you want it to be right now?
"No, we've got to improve no matter what. Again, if you're getting one punt return opportunity, legitimate opportunity, we had one that was a miss hit, a couple of plus-50 or midfield punts that we were fielding against, those aren't going to result a lot of times. When we have a legitimate opportunity, end of the game, 50 some seconds on the clock and it gets in seven yards, we've got to find a way to generate some more. Working hard on that and hopefully whatever the stat lines are on it, not as important as what did the result of the drive that we set up happen. I want our guys to have the offense ready to go down the field and score. That's our goal as the kick return or punt return unit."
Because the Bears haven't returned a punt this season, how to you prepare for that or watch film?
"We do whatever type of exhaustive research we need to do to look at the players, whether it's a guy that hasn't played like Velus Jones, whether it's (Trestan) Ebner, whether it's the starting punt returner in (Dante) Pettis. We'll look at those guys in as much library information as possible. Also, the situation they played in the crazy rain game Week 1. They only had two punt return downs or plays from the Green Bay game. Just because it's not on tape doesn't mean they're not ready to go play in that phase. We're going to do as much homework as possible."
What are the conversations about changing a kicking approach or kicking style like?
"Depending on what you're trying to do. If you're trying to intentionally bang a touchback or if you're trying to keep the ball in play at the end of the half and run clock, or if you feel good about coverage, etc., so all of those things are going to change the way he will approach the ball. We're going to have those conversations. The ball was flying in Denver. Don't blame him for hitting a quote unquote softer ball and it's still carrying. Those are things we're going to adjust on a week-to-week basis and knowing the elements that we're playing in."
DEFENSIVE LINE COACH JACQUES CESAIRE
How do you feel about pressure your defensive line is getting so far?
"You always want more pressure, right. You always want the quarterback to get down more times, get more sacks. Push the pocket a little bit more. We're actually never satisfied and the guys understand that. They've been working every day to improve on their one-on-one rushes. We're just going to try and get after the quarterback this weekend."
How does it feel to know that DB Jonathan Owens leads the NFL in tackles so far this season?
"It's great that we have, at all three levels, we've got playmakers. At all three levels of our defense, we have guys that understand how the defense works, where they're able to make their own plays, how they're able to impact the game. Having a guy like that to back you, the whole back seven, has been impressive this year. What we have to do is finish games. As a defense, we have to finish more games."
How do you prepare to face Bears RB David Montgomery?
"He's a very elusive runner, very tough runner. We're going to do everything that we can to make sure we get as many hats on him as we can. Population to the ball. That's one of the main things we're focused on is stopping the run."
What have you seen from DL Thomas Booker that allowed him to play more last week?
"Book (Thomas Booker), he has a specific set of skills, traits that we like about him, his speed, quickness, his power. He's able to come in and really be more of a penetrator for us. I'm excited to see how he can continue to develop over the coming weeks. We'll see what he can do."
Can you talk about the improvements DL Jonathan Greenard has made since last year?
"He looks a lot quicker this year, more explosive. He's using his hands better. That sack that he had in the fourth quarter was great and it's what we needed. He's made some impact plays in the first game as well. He's continuing his development. What I love about him is that he wants to learn. He wants to learn to get better. He's taking care of his body. He's playing at a pretty high level right now. We need guys like that to make some big plays for us."
What's it going to take to keep Bears QB Justin Fields contained and in the pocket?
"You want to rush with four and you want to make sure that as you're rushing for four, you have eyes on him at all times. Guys have to win their one-on-ones and we've got to collapse the pocket. We have to squeeze the pocket and we have to get after it."
Because RB David Montgomery is one of the focal points of the Bears offense, does that change your approach?
"No. Anytime you're going up against any offense whatsoever, you want to try and stop the run and get after the quarterback, plain and simple. You keep it as simple as that. That's what we're going to try to do."
With the Bears having a young offensive line, where do you see their progression from Week 1 to 2?
"I don't ever look at is as, 'he's only been in the league for how many plays' or 'if he's a rookie or second year player'. None of that matters to me. If they're on the NFL field, that means they're one of the elite football players in the country. We have to address that player accordingly. We don't look at it as, 'that's a rookie' or 'that's a second-year player'. That's an offensive line unit that plays well together and we have to attack that offensive line."
How do you work a player like DL Thomas Booker into a rotation?
"It's easy. You say, 'hey, you go in there and do some damage.' It's that simple. We've got guys that can generate pressure. We've got guys that can move, that have good quick twitch, have explosive abilities. We have to exploit that every chance that we get. We want them coming out there, every single day, working on their craft and practicing as if they're playing the game."
How are DL Maliek Collins and DL Roy Lopez playing?
"They're doing great. They're pushing the pocket. They're doing well against the run. I'm very pleased with what they're doing and I'm looking forward to this week."
How does the strategy change when you face a quarterback that can run like Bears QB Justin Fields?
"It doesn't really change as much just because teams are going to do what teams are going to do. For the most part, they pay the running back to run the ball. They pay the quarterback to throw the ball. We have to be ready to address both. Whatever they decide to do, we have to be ready to address what they're trying to get done."
As a staff, how do you address all the goals that you want to accomplish?
"It's always a work in progress. Like I said, we're never satisfied. Obviously, with the record that we have, you just always continually get out there and work on the things we do well. Continue working on your craft and hope that the guys will finish."
How much does it help to have DL Rasheem Green on the team, a guy that can rush inside and out?
"Rasheem (Green) has done a great job just coming in and learning the defense and doing exactly what we ask him to do. He had a really big game this past weekend and we expect more of that from Rasheem."
What can DL Mario Addison bring to this defense when he can return?
"Pure speed. I can't wait to have him back."