Chicago Bears Lovie Smith: They Are More Deadly On The Run

Opening Remarks: “When you go through a week like we have, you try to go through the same routine, which we have, but you can’t wait until Friday to get here. The game plan is in, finish up strong inside. There is not a whole lot that I can complain about. We have great health with our football team. Chris Harris was able to do some things today so we feel like we’ll have our entire group ready to go for that and just feel like we’re ready to play. Playing at Soldier Field is always special. Our crowd has helped us so many games around here. Last week they were outstanding. We’ll need them this week too. The combination of special teams, offense, defense and of course our fourth phase, the fans, are a hard combination to beat. We couldn’t be pumped up more to play this football game, realize what it means to football fans in general, but really for the Chicago fans.”

On what it will take for QB Jay Cutler to play his best game after two tough games against the Packers
“It has been a couple – I guess you could say – tough games. We’ve had opportunities though. As much as anything, when you come down to a game like this, if you just protect the football a little bit – we had opportunities last time. There were a couple picks that hurt us, but that’s what happened in the past. We are really looking forward to this next opportunity. I think offense probably looked at that game – the last game I’m talking about – and felt like they had more opportunities to put more points on the board. Jay’s had a great week of practice. There’s no reason to think he’s not going to play the best game he’s played as a Bear.”

On what about Cutler’s week encourages him
“It was a great week of practice. Our team’s had a great week of practice. I don’t know if I’ve ever come in here and said anything except we’ve had a great week of practice. I’m saying the same thing right now, but the guys have. They’ve been in tune to everything. We saw improvement from Day 1. Wednesday’s practice is never a perfect practice. You want to see improvement Thursday. Today when we go through our full game plan, you want to see the guys on top of everything. Jay and the rest of the crew was definitely like that.”

On if the Bears look forward to the challenge of facing Packers LB Clay Matthews
“Yes we are looking forward to it because we have to stop him. First off, he’s a great player. He plays hard every snap. You want to compete against a player like that. There will be some great defensive players on the field. We have a few defensive players on our football team, too, that are worth looking. You never know what type of game – you can look at the defensive players and say it will be another low-scoring game, but if you look on the offensive side of the ball, there are a lot of weapons there too. It could easily be a high-scoring game. We just want to have one more point than they do.”

On if he talks a lot to officials during the game
“Not a whole lot because I don’t think officials really have a whole lot to do with the outcome of the game. We’ll try to help them out from time to time, but they normally don’t listen so I am going to spend most of my time worrying about our football team and trying to help them more so that worrying about what the officials are doing.”

On the advantage of facing a team for the third time
“Everything I would say, they can say. When you have a division opponent, we’ve played each other so much. Since Mike McCarthy became the coach up there, we’ve played 10 times. We’ve split. We’re 5-5. I know they’re feeling good about their game plan against us. We’re feeling real good about ours. That’s why I, too, can’t wait for Sunday to get here.”

On Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers and the Packers defense blitzing
“When you have a team that blitzes a lot, you just have to try to make sure you can get a man on their blitzers. You don’t want to let any guys come clean to take a shot at your quarterback. Some of those things. As you blitz, of course, on the outside you’re on a one-on-one situation there. So it leaves you an opportunity to win a one-on-one battle out there with the big plays. Of course Dom does a great job. It’s the final four. There are a lot of great coaches coaching this week, but in the end, what it will come down to is it’s a players game. I think it will be something as simple as blocking and tackling. Some of those basic fundamentals will win this football game.”

On what goes through his mind when QBs Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers are on the move
“When I see Jay take off, I’m hoping that he can get a few yards and then get down. I don’t want him to take a shot. When I see Aaron Rodgers running around, first off you want to keep him pinned in. Both guys can do a lot when they’re on the run. You could make a case that they are more deadly on the run, getting out of the pocket than staying in. As far as Rodgers is concerned, we need to keep him in, make him throw the ball within that little tunnel.”

On if he thought the Packers could advance to the championship game when they played in Week 17
“They’re a division opponent and our division is tough, where the defending champ in our division isn’t in the playoffs. It’s a tough division. We had played them before and knew they were a good football team and knew that teams from our division could go a ways in the playoffs so it’s not a surprise that we’re playing them right now. I knew that one way that we could end up hosting the championship game was for them to make a run and end up beating the one seed so I feel like everything has worked out. It has really helped us. I know they’re in the playoffs, but feel like they’ve helped us as much as anything, too.”

On if you can manufacture getting hot at the right time
“No, I don’t think you can. Well, winning can as much as anything – just playing your best ball. If you continue to make improvements like we’ve done each week, you should be playing your best ball at the end of the year. That’s why our league, at the end of the season, is so exciting because teams are normally playing their best ball. Some waited too late to play their best ball and they’re out of it, but for the ones like us that are in the playoffs, you have to do that. Normally you get the best late in the year. We are playing our best football right now and hope it continues this weekend.”