BEARS HEAD COACH MATT NAGY
"All right, in regard to injuries, Sherrick McManis is in the concussion protocol, so we're dealing with that. Other than that, I'll take questions."
What do you feel like the offensive struggles were?
"Yeah, I don't know. I've got to go back and see it. I'd love to give you more answers, I just know, not good."
Did you sense the struggles of the offense taking a toll on the other side of the ball?
"Yeah, it does. When you have one side that's playing really well and another side that's trying to get things figured out, for us as a team, the frustrations, the emotions right now after the game when you have that kind of stuff go on, it can challenge you. It really can. It can challenge you individually, and that's something that's completely normal. But then that's, again, why we build this team the way we build it is for when situations like this come up. We've got to figure out how we turn this thing around, and that it's us. We understand that. But you run out of time, too. You know, so every week that goes by, every week matters. We've just got to find a way to win."
Why were the Saints able to run the ball so well today?
"They got a pretty good run game. I know they had Kamara out, but 28 (Murray) is a pretty good runner. They have a good scheme with Coach Payton. You've got to give credit, that's a pretty good team that we just played right there, even without a Hall of Fame quarterback and a special player in Kamara, they still have a good offense. They won four games in a row with their backup, but for us, that's a game that we've got to win at home. I think the other part of that, too, goes back to the offense. We can have more time of possession. It was totally flipped."
You came out of the bye very confident that you guys would find some answers. Anything specific about what you felt was going to work better than it did today?
"Yeah, I really thought our run game would be better. The attempts-wise, I don't know our numbers as far as total plays in the first half, but you know, the run game early on, just not a lot there, so then you go to throwing the ball a little bit, got a little bit going, and then the start of the third quarter we had a fumble, and you just say -- it's just one of those days. But for us, it's been one of those weeks. We need to pull together, and I'll be able to here in a little bit go back and watch the tape. But I don't know, what was -- rushing yards was so low, I don't know. But you have 17 yards. You've got to be able to run the ball."
What were the Saints doing? You talk about the first half, 28 plays, 23 passes, five runs. What were you seeing that kind of dictated your calls to lean more towards that --
"Say that again?
Q. 28 plays --
What were you seeing from the Saints that made you go so pass-happy with the calls?
"Yeah, early on, we were zero, one and two on our yards running the ball. It's really simple math. As a play caller, when it's 2nd and 9 and 2nd and 10 and 2nd and 8 and you're moving the ball throwing it, you're getting 1st downs throwing it, that's what the objective is to get 1st downs. I don't care if I have to throw the ball 60 times a game, if that's what's going to help us win a game or if I have to run it 60 times, I don't care, I want productive plays. It's not that hard. That's probably why. That's probably where that went, and then you come out in the second half and you want to be more balanced. As bad as all that was and everything that's going on, we came in the locker room, it's 12-10. As bad as that was, 12-10. Think about that, right? So, now you come out in the third quarter, they go down, they score and then we fumble first play. That's hard. That's hard. And then before you know it, now you're down nine points and then it's double digits and now all of a sudden you throw -- you have to throw the ball every down because time matters."
Second quarter you had a 3rd and short and Anthony kind of got open up a seam there. What did you see on that play that you missed him up the right seam?
"Yeah, they had a little twist game with their D-line, and we had a little bit of pressure in Mitch's vision, but yeah, he went inside. Now, just a small detail on that play is usually at times you go outside, but not that he's wrong when he went inside, but there's other elements to the play. You see that. Those are plays that you look at and you just -- you'd like to convert on those and connect."
We talked about Mitch coming out after the layoff and being sharp mentally. What did you think from him in that regard?
"We were all at a point where we just didn't do enough, and I think -- I want to go back and watch and see like progression-wise. I know there's one there early in the game where we missed a corner route on 3rd down, and Mitch knows -- he knows that he can connect on that. We've connected on it a lot in practice. But that's -- it is what it is. We need to play better early on. Start the game three-and-out, can't have it."
At any point as things were kind of going sideways in the third quarter, did you think about putting Chase in?
"No, it never crossed my mind because there's just so many parts of it. And Mitch is a competitor, and I think for all of us, it just was one of those deals where you would love -- you would really love it to be able to get the run game going early, early, early so you can do more things, and we didn't do that. If you don't get the run game going early, then it -- then all of a sudden, you're run-run-pass, run-run-pass, and you're not getting it, and it's the same thing. The run game has to get going. It's as simple as that. And it just has to get going. You can't run for 17 yards in the NFL and think you're going to win a game. You should get 17 yards on one run play."
David Montgomery, two carries today, what --
"Yeah, you guys seeing a theme here? You know, I'm with you. I'm with you."
You'll be asked this a lot next week. Are you still committed to Mitch going forward?
"Yeah, absolutely, yeah."
Do you think he was rusty today?
"Probably a little bit, but he wasn't the only one. I mean, it's all of us. Again, I'll just go back to that one throw. You would say it he rusty, that one throw he was rusty, but he made some others for us, too. It's hard because I give you an answer today and then I watch it tonight and then tomorrow I'll come back, and I'll do that. If I feel like he should have hit one or shouldn't have hit one, I'll tell you. But it's just hard right now. I can't see everything. There's a bunch of why's to it, and that's the hard part."
You came into the season with an offensive line that you really liked, backs that you really liked. Give us some sense of why it isn't working?
"I would love to. I would. I mean, I would love to. You're right. But I don't know what to tell you. We've just got to stay positive, and we've got to stay together. Our offensive linemen care. Coach Harry Hiestand cares. None of this is because our guys don't care. Our quarterback cares, our players care. So, one thing, as Negative Nelly as this will be at 3-3 for us right now, right, I get it, and I'm the one that's going to have to answer to y'all all the time about the negativity of everything that's going on. I've got it, and we get it, but we need to stay together. We're not going to let anybody around here pull us apart, I promise you that. So, we will come together with answers, and as every week goes by, we do need to know that time is of the essence. But being 3-3 -- here's what I'll tell them. You ready? I'll just tell you. I talk about horse blinders and earmuffs. Don't listen to anything outside because right now it's not going to be good. So what happens is people from outside try to pull you down, and the last thing that anybody is going to do, whether it's you guys or anybody else outside, you're not pulling us down. We're going to be positive, and we're going to fight through it because that's what winning teams do and that's what positive people and good people do."
Would you consider having anybody else call the plays?
"I'm not going to get into all that. If I did, I'm not going to -- no one here will know."
Do you have concerns about the punting, one block and one tip today?
"Yeah, there's issues, right, so any time you have that, you want to, you've got to fix it. You can't have those issues."
Mitch talks about calm feet a lot. What do you see from his feet and his calmness, his comfort, pocket presence?
"We talked about it all week, when his eyes are downfield and he's staying calm with his eyes downfield, he's a pretty good quarterback, and that's most quarterbacks, but for him, any time you start getting the eyes down -- a lot of times that happens when you get into pressure that's coming at you from different angles and you're getting sacked a lot. I want to go back and see how many times if possible that he was able to push up in the pocket and not go outside the defensive ends. I'll be curious to see that."
I know it was just one play, but the first play of the game with Tarik, is that a bit of a gut-punch after everything you guys have been through?
"Yeah, you're right, it is. It is. What was it, 2nd and 10? Yeah. It's a little bit of a gut-punch, yeah. That's a good way to put it."
The time-is-of-the-essence message, how do you get across that tightrope, understanding the urgency while not letting it sort of suffocate you?
"I think in situations like this, you're six games in, you're 3-3, and so in my opinion, what happens is for me leading these guys, we have different techniques -- I do have different techniques of how to lead. But really the best leaders are the players. When they lead themselves and this figure it out, as long as I make sure there's no finger pointing or this guy should have -- or this side should have been this good or that good, which I feel good about, so I'll be really curious to see which players on our team step up and start taking more leadership in times like this. That's what I'm going to be observing. I'm going to be checking that out, and I'll be curious to see where this goes. That's where that's at."
You talked about being more productive on 1st down, kind of a struggle at the beginning of the game, but then you had two series, eight yards on 1st down, 2nd and 2, 3rd and then a punt, short yardage situations seemed to be an issue today, keeping your team on the field. What do you do when you reflect on those situations?
"Was the first one coming -- one of them we had my headset totally went out, so we're giving some of our no-huddle calls. Not that that's an excuse, but the other one I think we had a throw over the middle on 3rd and 2 that we didn't catch, right, so again, we've got to -- when you have a chance to make a play, when it's your job to make a block, when it's your job to make a throw, when it's your job to do it, you do it. When it's my job to call a play, you do it. You call the right play and you put them in the best situation possible, and until we start recognizing that and understanding that, then nothing is going to change. But something has got to change, and I'll say this, something will change. I don't know what it is, and you guys may not know, maybe you will, maybe you won't, but something will change because it's not good enough right now."
Did you see anything in your two weeks of preparation for this that in your mind would have ever pointed to this?
"No, no, not at all. No, because really, we had such a good solid week of practice. I'm speaking more offensively, too. I mean, defense did, too, special teams, but just a good vibe this whole week of practice. But you know, it's not reflecting. It's not showing when it matters most. It's not. So again, I'm going to be looking for who the leaders are on our team that are going to step up and take control and fix this thing because inevitably what happens is it starts -- it's like, you as a leader, you can say so much and do so much, right. You've got to be able to see how guys are reached. Again, this is a tough one. It stings. We haven't really been in this situation before, being down that much at a point in the game. The good part is our guys until the end, they fought. It doesn't matter. They fought. We're 3-3, so we've got to regroup. We'll recognize this loss, we'll sit in it tonight, and then we will -- we've got to be better next week."
BEARS QUARTERBACK MITCHELL TRUBISKY
Mitch, as you're processing the game, having gone through it, what are your takeaways? What was at the root of the struggles today?
"Yeah, it's hard to pinpoint it. Just frustrating, ugly, couldn't swing momentum in our way, couldn't really get going. Just sputtered out. We've just got to find ways to stay on the field, especially after 3rd down and move the chains and get going. And it's just -- as far as the offensive standpoint, that's not the way we know we can play, which makes it really frustrating. You've just got to believe that we're close. I still think we're close, and I feel like a couple of those 3rd downs and different plays early on go our way, then hopefully the game goes a different way. But it's just frustrating, and you can't really pinpoint it exactly right now, but all I know how to do is go back to work tomorrow, find out what went wrong, what we can correct on film, start with myself and then go from there."
The play to Taylor, what was your sense of what caused the difficulty there?
"Yeah, that's a good question. I'm going to go back on film and watch it. That was one of my favorite 3rd downs all this week, ripped it all week in practice, and it just didn't translate to the game. I don't know why. I'm going to go back and watch it because that's one of my favorite throws, and I hit that every single time this week in practice, so why it didn't translate to the game is really frustrating for me, and I felt like that's an easy throw that I make easily, and I just wasn't on the same page and didn't put it in the spot to give my guy a chance. So that falls on me."
How challenging is it for you to have something you really like not go the way you want it to go?
"Yeah, early on in the game, you're next-play mentality. I was seeing it well, and had my guy open, just didn't hit him. From a mechanics standpoint you see what you can correct on film and go back and correct it and don't let that happen again. But nailed it all week in practice, and it's a play that you like, that's why it gets called early in the game on 3rd down that you need, and that falls on me. If I make that throw we stay on the field and then we're rolling. Got to be better."
How would you describe how your shoulder felt in the game?
"Yeah, it felt fine. Wasn't really thinking about it, and I was able to go out there and do my job for the most part, and just got to do my job better to help this team.
The deep 3rd down shot to Anthony Miller, Coach Nagy mentioned that you went inside instead of outside. Is there an adjustment you can make on that?
"I think on that play, you would like Anthony to go outside, and that's one of Anthony's really good routes that he runs, and he separates and gets open, and I just felt like I had to get the ball out within that time because they created pressure up front. Someone slipped through, and from what I can remember, he just went inside, so I tried to throw like a tight seam and give him a chance, but I was on the ground after that, so I'm going to have to go back on the film and watch it and correct it, but any time you've got man with 17, you trust him to get open, and I couldn't really see if I put it in a spot that he could make a play, but that's part of it. You just go back and go out there and make sure everyone is doing their job, but I trust 17 on that route, and I'm going to go back to him. I told him that within the game; I'm coming back to you, and we'll see what happens."
How do you feel like the running game struggles are affecting the passing game right now?
"Yeah, we just have no rhythm. It's not about pointing fingers. We're struggling as an offense. As a good offense, we've seen in the past -- with this offense, when you have a good run game, you have a good pass game, you're just balanced. You have a balanced attack, the defense doesn't know what's coming, and you're able to just point at the play call sheet and whatever he calls should work when you're rolling and things are going well on offense. Definitely we'd like to get the run game going. Still an emphasis, to help the pass game. But I wouldn't say it's one or the other. We're just out of sync, and it comes down to execution. Like I said before, you've got to believe you're close, and it's a play here or there, and all we can do is look within ourselves and see what we can do to get better, make the guys around us better to fix that. I think it's an overall thing."
Isn't your job harder, though, when it's tough to run the ball effectively?
"Yeah, sure. You would like the defense not to be dropping out every time and you would like to have a balanced attack on offense, and that's what we're trying to do. But my job is just whatever is called to make sure I go out there and do my job to the best of my ability, and I think if you do that, then it opens up the run game, then the pass game opens up, as well. You just do your job the best you can, and it's never pointing fingers. I just continue to ask myself what I can do better, how I can make it easier on my other guys, how I can make it easier on the run game, how I can make it easier on my receivers and O-line, and I think us staying on the field will make it easier on our defense. It's never one thing. We've just got to go back, watch the film, make the corrections and be better this week."
Nagy talked about how you guys have had a lot of good practices that haven't really translated yet. Do you have any theories why you guys are having these good practices that aren't translating into games?
"I mean, just the type of guys we have, we're always going to practice our ass off and put in the work, and why it's not translating, I don't know. You make the plays in practice, and it's just -- it just comes down to inches within the game. If those inches go your way, then we're making plays and we're rolling, but right now they're not, and we're sputtering out on offense, and we have no momentum. We're not really in sync. But each week, even after the frustrating performances on Sunday, myself and all the guys, we just come back to work. We're just working hard. There's no one slouching off. There's no one being lazy in practice. There's no one being lazy or not caring. These guys care, and that's why these losses hurt so bad, because we put so much hard work and effort and time into this during the week. That's why it's tough. But why it's not translating, I don't have a theory. All I know is go back to work and make sure that you put in all that work during the week to make sure it translates on Sundays, so that's what we're going to continue to do and figure it out and go from there."
Matt acknowledged the struggles that the offense are having has taken a toll on your defense --
What's your sense of that right now?
"It goes both ways, run game, pass game, offense, defense, it's a trickle-down effect, and everything affects everything else. We're not helping out our defense by not staying on the field, so when this offense is rolling and we're able to stay on the field, keep them off, let them rest and play the field position game to put them in good spots, just feel like we're letting them down in a way by not doing our jobs. It starts with me doing my job better and going from there to help our defense out and ultimately to help our team win and do better on offense."
How do you temper frustration among the guys in your locker room and for you yourself, too?
"Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's definitely frustrating, and it's angry because you lost. But if you look at the flipside of it, I think we would have a problem if guys didn't care after we lost. I think it's important that we feel the frustration, we feel that we're angered because we lost because we've just got to channel it in a positive way that helps us for next week. You've just got to channel this anger and make sure it helps us get better from here."
What do you see as this offense's identity? How would you describe what that offense is supposed to do?
"I mean, right now we have no identity. We're just searching. We don't have any rhythm. We're not the offense we were last year, and every year is different, every game is different. We've just got to find ways, look within ourselves, and we've got to have guys step up. All I know how to do is look at myself first; how can I get better this week, how can I step up and make my teammates better, and how can I help fix this offense. It's never -- it's a bunch of things, so we're just going to go back to the film, look at it, see how we can get better and find an identity and go from there."
They got a couple shots on you, that AA look where they're just bugging up front. What does that do for you and James in terms of getting the protection right? How challenging is that for you to process that?
"Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of time they showed that look and we had the right call and we were able to protect it, but we dropped into the right zones where we had our routes and even though we had them blocked up man for man, they made plays on defense to create pressure. So when you have the pressure in your face and the guys dropping into the right zones to where it's taking away your routes, they did a good job of that."
On the 4th and 3 that you ended up throwing the ball away, what was your assessment of what went haywire on that play from start to finish?
"I'm going to have to go back and watch that one. I can't really recall that one right now."