Bears Postgame Quotes (Week 12)

Head Coach Matt Eberflus

Opening statement…

Obviously, disappointed in the loss today, but just to clear up a couple of things with Justin (Fields). Justin, today during pregame went out there and worked out a little bit, and we met with the medical staff and with Justin after that and then also with Ryan (Poles) and myself.  We decided it was in the best interest of Justin and the Chicago Bears that he was inactive today. It really comes down to one thing: strength. He didn’t have the strength to protect himself in the game properly and to perform the way that he wanted to perform. That was really the gist of that right there. I thought we started out the game in the first-half well. Obviously, Trevor (Siemian) came in there and was our starter and did a nice job the first two series. We ended up scoring on our first two series, which was excellent. I thought he was throwing the ball really nice. He took a lot of the checkdowns there. Obviously, the pass to (Byron) Pringle was really nice, him coming down with that catch. Defensively, the first series, we had that third-and-seven down there in the redzone where we had that nice third down situation. We just had to perform better. We ended up getting called for a penalty on that one and they scored anyway. Three-and-out on the next possession by the defense, which I thought was nice and gave us a chance to stay in the game during halftime. We were up at one point 10-7 and then they went up 17-10 at half. Obviously, the second half wasn’t good enough for either side of the ball. It wasn’t good enough. There’s no explanation. There’s no excuses. It just wasn’t good enough. I told the guys in the locker room that we are better than that. We have to do a better job and perform better in the second half and that’s all phases. Obviously, we sustained a lot of injuries over the course of this day. I’m not going to comment on those because I don’t know much right now. When we lose that many guys in one day, that’s something we need to address going forward here as we go. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.

 

On the process of Siemian being a game-time decision…

During pregame warmup, Trevor was out there. I think it might have been before that, you’ll have to ask him, he ended up straining his oblique. Obviously, when you’re a passer, that’s a big issue to throw the ball down the field, so came in and got some medication. He thought it was going to be ok and then it ended up as he went through pregame warmups, he came back in and felt like he was ok. He ended up performing really well. Nate (Peterman) was ready to go the whole time. Nate was made aware of that. He was ready to go at the same time too.

 

On if he anticipates Fields playing next week…

That’s a good question. We think that he’s getting better every single day. He felt better every single day. At the gametime today, he wasn’t ready to go to perform and protect himself. I suspect we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to leave it day-to-day and we’ll decide one day at a time. If he keeps progressing, then he’s got an opportunity to do so.

On how he thinks Siemian handled the uncertainty of the week…

I thought it was good. Obviously, coming out there and really operating the offense the way we expected him to those first couple of drives, it’s really a good sign that he was ready. He was ready to go. Luke (Getsy) did a nice job preparing him to be ready to go. He did good.

On what the team can do to keep morale up…

It comes down to execution. It comes down to the individual man. We have men of character in the locker room. They’ve been battling the whole way. We’re going to continue to rely on that for sure. When it comes down to daily practice and daily habits – what are you doing every single day to get better? You have to rely on that and the leadership in the locker room and the leadership of the coaches and just do it that way.

 

On managing the uncertainty at quarterback…

Just communication. Just talking to each other and saying “Hey, this is what happened during warmups and with medication we can potentially be ok with this.” And just work it from there. It’s just communication all the way around.

On if he has ever been in a situation where the quarterback is injured during pregame…

No, that has not happened.

On what bothers him about how the second half unfolded…

I was already saying that. The first half was competitive. We were in it. I thought our offense did a good job driving the ball a couple of times versus a very good defense. We had a three-and-out. We did a nice job. They drove the ball, but missed the field goal. I thought we were very competitive there. The second half just wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough. We didn’t tackle well enough on defense. We didn’t play good enough third down defense. We had three- or four-and-outs on offense. We mounted a drive there when we had a two-minute drive going there, but at that point when you’re down by 21, you’re going to go for it pretty much on every, because you’re out of possessions. And that’s what we did. We got one or two of them and didn’t get another one. We just have to operate better.

On the turf at MetLife Stadium…

I’m not going to comment on that. I know the union has their own opinion on things. I’m coaching the football team and this is the turf that’s out there. We have to play on it.

On when leaders go down with an injury…

Whenever you have someone go down that’s a good player, both of those guys are really good players. Eddie (Jackson) has been a really good player this year. Darnell (Mooney) is our leading receiver and he’s done a great job. When you lose the productions of those guys, number one, that always hurts and also the leadership part of it. Those guys have been great in the locker room. They are great teammates. They really are encouraging to others and they really model the behavior we wish to see, so they’re good.

On how close Fields was to playing…
We had him warm up a little bit prior to calling him inactive. We’ll see where it is. The medical staff didn’t clear him to play today. Justin didn’t feel that he could protect himself and perform the way he wanted to perform. It’s about mobility and strength in his left arm. We’ll take it day-by-day.

On if Fields was 0-for-three on the checklist of things he needed to play…

Yes, 0-for-three.

On Darrynton Evans…

It was good. I think he had 3.8 (yards) per carry and he had that one catch – the 33-yarder. It was good. It was great for him to get that opportunity. I thought he performed well.

On if it will be important to get some of the younger players more opportunities…

I think based on injury and who we have to slide in, next man up mentality. I think some guys will get the opportunity for sure.

Trevor Siemian

On the pregame injury…

Yeah, was throwing, something wasn’t right, flared up on me and then got back in the locker room and figured something wasn’t right again but gave it a go. That was that.

 

On if he had a shot to help the injury pregame…

No, I don’t think you shoot your ribs. But no I didn’t get a shot. Just some medicine.

 

On if his injury bothered him throughout the game…

A little bit, but honestly I’m more embarrassed getting the injury I got. You got guys in there that are playing, what are we, Week 12, 13, going through hell and I have like a noncontact thing show up. So, yeah, not ideal, but everybody is going through something at this point of the year.

 

On if his pregame routine was impacted by the injury…

Yes, just a little different but if something comes up every so often you just adjust and make the most of it.

 

On how they implemented the fades, specifically to WR Chase Claypool…

It was something we talked about this week and then as we got closer to the game I just told him (Claypool), ‘Hey, I don’t care who’s over there, I’m going to throw it to you.’ So, just one of those things. I think he’s a great player, got a big body, a huge catch radius, he’s a good player, so just wanted to give him a couple chances.

 

On the biggest difference between the offense’s first and second half production…

Staying on the field. I think we were OK on third downs in the first half. I don’t know the numbers, I didn’t look at them, but I’m sure they weren’t as good in the second half.

 

On when he found out QB Justin Fields wasn’t starting…

Today. I knew there was a good chance I’d play, but didn’t know until today.

 

On what it was like during practice throughout the week not knowing if he’d play or not…

I mean, you get ready to play every week. I think it’s a little different because practices are kind of tapered now anyways with the load on guys and some walkthroughs and jog throughs. You’re ready to play every week, you’re a play away, so maybe towards the end of the week I was like, ‘Oh shoot, I need to be ready to go.’ But not much different than any other week.

 

On confirmation that he hurt his oblique in pregame, and then he decided to play through the injury…

Yes.

 

On how losing WR Darnell Mooney impacted the game…

Yeah, it stinks. Like you said, as a player, terrible, but if you spend any time with Darnell he’s one of the best dudes in the locker room. So, that’s the part of the game that stinks, but he’s a strong dude, when anybody gets hurt, especially Darnell, it’s tough to see.

 

On what the offense loses when Mooney isn’t playing…

Speed, explosive plays, leadership.

 

On diving for the first down head-first and if he could feel his injured oblique…

A little bit.

 

On if he was limited in what he could do physically at all by the injury…

No, I could play. I could do everything I needed to do.

 

On the third-down sack during the third quarter and his understanding of what happened on that play…

It was a protection mix up, that was my fault, so I’ll look at it. Look at it again.

 

On the touchdown to WR Byron Pringle…

Yeah, BP just running to the back of the end zone, made an awesome play. I mean, dude is just tough as nails, he’s athletic, big catch radius, so made a great play on that. Made another great, tough catch at the end on the slant. He’s a fun player to play with for sure.

Chase Claypool

On seeing Darnell Mooney go down…

It was super hard because he helps out a lot. He just spreads the offense out a little bit and he spreads the defense out a little bit. So, it was really tough to see him go down, especially to see how hard he works. I know he’ll be fine. He’ll be good.

 

On his 31-yard reception…

Yeah, he told me before the play, before the game even started, he said, “The first opportunity you get will come to you.” It was good to make that.

 

On how much of a step back this was for the offense…

We’re a really good run offense with the pairing of Justin (Fields) and D-Mo (David Montgomery). Justin is out and in a game where it’s pouring rain, we would like to go to our strength, but I think Trev (Trevor Siemian) did a really good job, despite the circumstances.

Teven Jenkins

On Trevor Siemian…

Trevor’s a veteran presence. He’s a great leader, has a great arm, has great instincts. They’re both great quarterbacks, I would love to play with both of them. There were sometimes that Trevor today got some good plays that weren’t necessarily in the can that he just noticed as he did as being a veteran.

 

On how big of a setback this experience was…

It’s just a learning curve, really. There’s sometimes we’re going to go against some great defenses like today. Of course we want to have more yards, more touchdowns, more points, all that, but it’s one of those learning things to go back from. Like, why did we end up not only gaining like five yards instead of 12 from this play? So, it’s a whole learning experience.

 

On how deflating it is as a group seeing these injuries…

It’s never a good thing to see any of your teammates go down. It’s just how it happens, it’s the way of football, but for me, it was a little sad to see Larry (Borom) go down because he’s my boy and he was playing right tackle next to me half the time. It was also bad to see Riley (Reiff) go down too, because there was just a lot of things that unfolded the way it did.

Justin Jones

On staying positive…

Honestly, just worry about getting better, that’s the biggest thing. You have to get better as a team, you have to get better as a defense. We have to make sure we’re straining to the ball and just keep stacking the bricks and keep pounding away and hopefully the ball breaks at some point and we go on a run before the season is over with.

 

On why this loss was a bigger margin than recent games…

It’s different when you don’t have your best player on the field. You’re missing 4 (Eddie Jackson). You’re missing 1 (Justin Fields), stuff like that. All that takes into account. Not for anything, morale wise, especially offensively, just having a guy like 1 back there, it’s just a little bit different. It’s tough. When you get injuries, it’s tough. Like I said, it’s next man up. You’ve got to be prepared when your number’s called, because that’s how the league works. You never know what guys are going to be available week to week.

 

On what impact today’s injuries had on the team’s morale…

Like I said, it’s just got to be next man up. I think the morale is still there, but obviously when you’ve got a lot of young guys, we’re missing Eddie, we’re missing Bricks (DB Jaquan Brisker), we’re missing Kyler (Gordon), we’re missing J-Fields, we’re missing a lot of guys, a lot of key pieces to our team right now. So, that’s just tough. Like I said, it’s next man up. We practice together. We go through everything where everybody’s in the same meetings together, so we have to be prepared for when your number’s called.

Cole Kmet

On injuries…

It’s tough, especially when you’ve got some big team leaders that go down like that. You hate to see, for us offensively, a guy like (WR Darnell) Mooney go down. A bright, vibrant guy in the huddle and obviously a big playmaker, so when you lose him, it’s tough for sure.

On tracking what was going on at the quarterback position…

’ve learned since being here, just to focus on my thing. I know Trevor (Siemian) was dealing with some stuff. Obviously, Justin (Fields) was out and then Nate (Peterman) could potentially be playing, but whatever it was, it was. So, I was just kind of ready for anything at that point.

 

On the quarterback situation coming into the game…

It kind of reminds me of the Seattle week last year. We didn’t know who was playing, but you’ve got to be a pro. Everybody’s got to be a pro as an individual and do what you can to get ready for the game.

 

On the challenges the Bears offense has faced…

It’s tough. I think obviously playing in the elements today make it a little more difficult. I don’t know what our run stats were, but they were not where they had been the past couple of games. We just got to look at the tape, take it for what it is, and then move on to Green Bay.

Nicholas Morrow

On his reaction to the (Eddie) Jackson’s injury…

I actually didn’t see Eddie go down. I went to the sideline and he wasn’t there, that’s when I saw he wasn’t there. Obviously, that’s a blow. I thought he was going to come back. Don’t know what it is, but hope the best for him, for sure.

On how much the weather was a factor…

For defense, that’s not a factor. Taking the ball away would be great. I think that’s the biggest thing, when you can take the ball away, but for defense, I don’t think it’s a factor.

On what the team lost emotionally when Jackson was hurt…

A lot. Eddie keeps us going. He’s a good leader. Obviously, he’s a great player. He’s always up-tempo. I hate that for him because he’s a good guy and he’s done a good job of keeping everybody together and keeping everybody into the games, so it’s tough.

Kindle Vildor

On the Bears losing players to injury and its impact on the team…

It’s tough when you’ve got a leader like Eddie Jackson, when he’s goes down and stuff like that, but he does a good job helping the young guys prepare, like Elijah (Hicks), so we know we can count on them as well. We know they’ll be ready and they’ll be able to step up and help us out a lot too.

 

On how much of a step back this loss feels like after playing in several close games…

I feel like whenever you lose a game, it’s always tough in this league. It’s not easy to win at all, so we just got to go back to the drawing board, see what we’ve got to do and just make sure we’re just executing every day.

 

On the conditions today…

We’ve had a few rain games so far, so I thought we’re probably, pretty much used to it by now and everything. Just got to go out there no matter what it is, whatever the circumstances are, just got to go out there and play.

 

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