RE: Ahmad Brooks, what have you seen from him and do think that there's a role for him to be suiting up on game days in the near future?**
"We're trying to see if that's a possibility. But since he's been here, he's worked really hard and done everything that we've asked him. He has a ton of talent. We'll see. But right now we're just trying to see if there's a way to get him in. If there is, then great. If not, then we'll have to wait a little longer."
RE: Where do you have him playing right now?
"It depends. He could be outside linebacker, he could be rushing. But we'll figure it out. We're figuring out the best way to get him out there and to make sure that he enhances and we don't have to take anybody else off the field that's helping us a lot right now. So we'll see going forward."
RE: Had you had him at Ted in the past?
"I've had him at Ted mostly, but he's kind of bounced around: Ted, a little bit of Mike, a little bit of outside, a little bit of defensive end. At defensive end, we put him there and he looked pretty good. But we'll see where he's most comfortable."
RE: The week leading up to the Seattle game was crazy and frantic. Does the bye week give you more time to make some changes that you might have in mind?
"Yes it does. It gives you a chance to kind of settle down. It came at a great time: eight games behind us, eight games in front of us. It really is great timing. So just very thankful that we have this time to kind of take a step back and look at where we are and where we need to go in order to get to where we're going. So this has come at a great time."
RE: Does it give you enough time to evaluate some personnel such as Ahmad and take a look at guys?
"Absolutely. It gives us a chance to really put players in situations where maybe if it were a regular practice we wouldn't have that time to make those changes and implement certain situations to find out if that player can do this or do that. So yes it does. It helps us because we can kind of custom-fit our practices toward some of those players that we need to get a better look at."
RE: Even though the coaching staff that is here has been here, do you kind of have to have everybody sort of look at this with a fresh set of eyes to reevaluate everything as far as whether guys should be playing or not?
"No, it's not that in depth. Some of the guys that we have, have been doing a pretty decent job. I don't feel that it's so much the personnel. It may be here or there or whatever. But mostly it's just a mindset. It's the mindset that we've been talking about: believing, understanding what it's really going to take and looking further than the next game, and saying, 'I hope we can get back on track.' No, you've got to know we're going to get back on track. And you've got to know that if this is what it's going to take in order to do that. So it's doing all of those little things that we've been talking about and just having every coach really lend his eyes to seeing something that's not right, doesn't fit, 'Let's get it right.' Now. Not tomorrow. Not later. Now. And, we'll go forward with that."
RE: The decision to put David Baas in the starting lineup: why was that decision made at the time it was?
"We know that in order to be who we want to be, we want to be a physical football team. I'm not going to go smash mouth and all that, but I am saying that we do want to be physical. David Baas is a physical guy, and he gives you that physical presence. I thought he did a decent job in the game. He'll get much better. We want people in the trenches, because that's where it starts, that can really get off the ball and create lanes for the running game and protect our quarterback, and do the things that we want to do. We're not trying to trick anybody. We're not trying to be Houdini. We're trying to be a good, solid, attacking-style football team on both sides of the ball, and that's what we want to do."
RE: Your Chicago Bears team that you played on was notable for all the characters on those teams. Is that a fine line? Do you sort of want that personality in the locker room but at the same time you don't want to detract from the team focus?
"One of the things that I'm always aware of is I don't want to be biased. I don't want to try and recreate something. What we had in Chicago will never come again. I have to be careful about looking at this player and matching him up with a player that I played with. 'I got to find that guy.' No, I think the most important thing is to really look at what we have, and we've got some great guys. I'm really, really fortunate to have these guys. We have some great guys. But it's really, as I said before, it's more so the mindset. What we had in Chicago, it was coming. It was a process. A lot of those same guys were there when I got there, but they didn't have the mindset. They didn't have the vision. But through hard work, through focus, it forged something very special and that was a winning attitude. And that can only be developed one way and that's through bringing guys together, working hard, making sure that everybody's on the same page cooking, and they begin to see, 'Hey, we've got something. We really have something.' But we've got to earn it."
RE: How long did it take for everything to congeal in Chicago?
"From the time that I got there until the time that Coach [Mike] Ditka came – Coach Ditka came in the second year that I got there – it took about three years. For me, that's really beside the point. I just talked to the guys about that. Some people talk about, 'Well, if we can just kind of develop some hope and some heart and some discipline and some of this, next year…' You know what? I don't want to talk about next year. The only thing I want to talk about is now. The only thing I want to talk about is the next eight games, starting with the first one we have when we get back. That's all that's important to me, and we'll go from there."
RE: You talked yesterday about how hard your coaches were on you in Chicago, Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka. How did you respond to that at the time, and how do you think of it now when you look back?
"It was welcome. It was welcome. We had a bunch of blue collar guys that were not afraid to work. We were so hungry for a win and a championship that it didn't matter how much we worked. As a matter of fact, it became a challenge. 'Go ahead coach. I'm not tired. Is that the best you got?' We didn't say that too often. It's just one of those things where our guys have to get to that – keep talking about that second wind. We're on a journey here. We have to get to our second wind, and that's when you're tired and you're not sure if you can give anymore, somehow, someway, you press through it and you get stronger. And you don't understand it, but it happens. That's where we're going."
RE: Do you see a difference from the players that were your contemporaries and the players of today?
RE: Is it harder to reach today's player?
"Yes it is."
"Well, because of the different generation. It's a different culture today than when I was coming along. When I was coming along, I remember going home and talking loud. I mean just talking loud in the streets, having fun with my buddies. A lady coming to the door and saying, 'Hey son, you need to be quiet. You need to turn that down.' [I said,] 'Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am.' If you hear kids talking loud today, you're hoping that they're not coming to your door. You're certainly not going to go to the door and say anything. That was the culture, and I knew if I had said anything other than that, she had the authority to come out and do something about it, and not only that, but my mom was going to wait on me when I got home. That culture is long gone."
RE: Are they less respectful of authority, or what's the difference?
"That's a whole other subject. You know as well as I do in the culture that we live in there are so many rules, and sometimes you get lost in the rules and forget that people are people. And people still have hearts and people…there are some things that are just the way it is. You have to discipline. You have to have discipline. When you have authority but no discipline, then you have nothing. So for me, that's the most important thing, and I learned that very early on. If you do not have the authority, then you really do not have the title. So these guys, I think they just need to know that you love them. They just need to know that you really care about them. And I think that's the most important thing. And I know they know that. They'll work. They'll do anything that you ask them to do if they know that you're for them. And you're really making them better. That you really care about whether they live or die. Whether they're successful or not beyond the football field. That's what's important to them. The greatest thing about them is they have great eyes because they've seen it all. You can't fool them. If you're not real, you're not going to last. And they're not going to buy in. So it's as simple as that."