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Conference Call Transcript: Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith

Posted Sep 30, 2009

On if you’re glad that you don’t have to hear about being the first team that might lose to the Lions
“Really, it has nothing to do with us to be truthful. It’s good that they won but we’re taking care of business here. Either if they had won or not, we have respect for them as a football team; they’ve done some good things and are an NFC North opponent that we’re getting ready to play.”
On what has been the struggle with the run game
“I think it’s a combination of things. You have to give the team that’s played us credit for stopping us and holding our run down a little bit. I think that’s how the season goes. Our running game hasn’t peaked, but we’ve made progress. I saw progress this week. We need to take another step but that’s what you normally do. We’re committed to run. We had the carries last week and we’ll eventually get it going.”
On if he’s kind of ready for a breakout game from RB Matt Forte
“We would like to have a breakout game with Matt but it’s more than Matt you know. It’s the line, the receivers blocking – there’s a lot of things that go into having a successful running game. We want to be successful on offense. That’s great if you can run the ball, but if not, you have to lay it on your pass and that’s what we’ve done a little bit. We’ve leaned on our pass a little bit. Eventually, if we keep doing some of the things in the passing game that will open more lanes in the running game—they go hand in hand.”
On if it’s hard stay within the offense when the running game is not working
“No, I think you stay with your philosophy on whatever it is. We’re a running football team. We’ll continue to run the ball. It doesn’t matter who you play. We’ll try to establish our run, but at the same time, when you get into a game, you take what you feel like you can get. I would like for our offense to be known as a running football team that can pass the ball, and you can see what happens in each game.”
On what you see from the Lions offense that might worry you
“Well, Scott Linehan leading the group first. Scott’s a very good football coach—has a plan. (Kevin) Smith has run the ball well—I don’t know if he’s playing this week or not, but he’s ran the ball well. Their running game, I like what I see. The passing game, of course the two Johnsons are special players; first round tight end (Brandon Pettigrew); first pick in the draft at quarterback (Matthew Stafford); first round offensive lineman (Gosder Cherilus). Do you want me to keep going or what?"
On if Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s progress is natural for a quarterback and what have you seen out of him
“I think that’s natural for a good player – for a good quarterback – and Stafford is a good quarterback. He can make those throws. He’s been a quarterback for a long time, so he’s comfortable in that position. I think it’s helped to play at home the last couple of games. It’s always better for a young quarterback to play at home. Again, he’s just a good football player and there’s a reason why he was the first pick in the draft and that’s saying a lot. I see signs on why that happened.”
On if QB Jay Cutler is the piece to take the next step
“I think Jay was a piece – a big piece. We were a 9-7 team before Jay came here. It helps to have a player like Jay; he’s been outstanding for us. He gives the guys hope, our team hope, at all times. He’s been a great leader in the locker room. He’s just poised under pressure and all of those things. Jay has been a good piece but there were a lot of pieces in place before.”
On what Rod Marinelli has brought to your coaching staff
“You know Rod really well—he brings everything. I mean, he’s a great man, great technician, great coach (and a) great leader. He has done a superb job with our defensive line and just not our defensive line, he’s been a positive force on our ball club.”
On if he got any indication from him that he wanted to take time off after what went on here
“No. Not at all; you guys know Rod. On that question, Rod’s a football coach. He was anxious to get back and start teaching football again, working with young men, which he did.”