Head Coach Joe Judge
September 18, 2020
Q: Do you expect any update on Golden (Tate)? Is he closer this week than he was last week to play? I know you have to go out to practice still, but what is your expectation for Golden Tate?
A: Obviously, I’m expecting him to practice today like he has the rest of the week. We’ll take a look at him today and see how he looks in practice. But he’s been working hard with the trainers and has progressed nicely.
Q: What do you need to see from your team? You talked about the growth between Week 1 and Week 2 being significant. Good teams can make that jump. What do you need to see from your team to say, ‘ok we made that jump’?
A: There are a lot of levels of improvement. We have to see, not only this week but throughout the year, we have to grow as a team. We’re still working on really getting our identity and our base set as a program and as a culture. The things I want to see this week, on top of playing together as a team for 60 minutes which I was pleased with how we did it last week, is I want to see the guys go out there and execute and not set ourselves back with mistakes.
Q: The Bears have a few marquee players on defense that are on the injury report, they’ve been limited. Just curious, how much do you monitor that from the other side?
A: I’d say, obviously, you’re very aware of it. Every team in the league checks the injury reports every day, you check the waiver wire every day. You’re always conscious of what moves are happening in the league and what’s going on with the opponent for that week. That being said, I’d be surprised if those players don’t play this week. We’re fully anticipating seeing those top end defensive players, especially the edge players (Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn), going as hard as they can for 60 minutes.
Q: I know your policy on talking about injuries. How much do you pay attention when another coach does talk about injuries?
A: Obviously, you’re looking at everything you can to try to gain some kind of information. Matt (Nagy) plays it pretty close to the chest. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. But he’s done a good job right there of kind of keeping it guarded.
Q: Just wanted to ask you about Julian Love, one of three defenders who played every snap the other night. There was some uncertainty as to what role he would take with you guys in the summer. What did you see from him Monday night, and what do you like about him on the backend?
A: I think he’s a smart player who’s demonstrated the ability to really have range in the deep end of the field. He brings a good skillset to not only play back deep, but also work up and play some of those matchup positions underneath based on the package. The versatility he brings to our defense is good. He’s really improved on his communication throughout our time at training camp, throughout the first couple of weeks. He’s getting more comfortable within the role of understanding the defensive concepts and how everything plays in front of him. On the backend, you have to communicate and tell everyone else where you’re going and make the checks. That’s definitely improved. I’m pleased with Julian back there. He’s been one of our most reliable tacklers so far. He works very hard at practice every day of working his open field close and press and tag-offs. Then when we go full tackle, he’s demonstrated improvement on that throughout training camp and the first couple of weeks as well.
Q: This week when you guys talked about the corrections you wanted to make, and then obviously, a focus on fundamentals, just have you liked how your team came out in the last couple of days at practice since we don’t really get to see much of it anymore? Have you liked how they have approached it and how they’ve handled it?
A: Yeah, absolutely. You know from a coaching staff standpoint, on a short week, you have to structure practice a little bit different. Obviously, on Wednesday it was more of that mental walkthrough day. You’re still letting them recover a little bit, but you have to advance on the opponent and get the mental part in. Yesterday was a big day for us. It was two-minute, it was third down. Today we progress on the red area. Got to have the plays and review all the situations. But yesterday hitting the field, I was very pleased with not only their effort and their energy, but also the attention to detail and the fundamentals. Obviously, we start out practice with a large fundamental emphasis within each position group with their individual periods. But then we want to carry those through. When we watch the team periods, we want to see all the stuff from individuals show up. I’d say across the board, our guys did a really fantastic job with that. Not only the fundamentals that they’re going to apply into this week’s direct schemes for the opponent we have to play, but also just general football 101. We want to make sure we always work on our blocking, our tackling, our ball security, our turnover or ball disruption. All those fundamentals that you have to have to be a successful football team.
Q: Long before you were ever here, the story about Evan Engram has been can he block? Can he do it at this level? We know he’s one of your favorite guys, we know you love his playmaking, we know that he tries, he wants to block, as Jason Garrett said yesterday. Do you think he can be an above average NFL blocking tight end?
A: Absolutely. I have all the confidence in the world in Evan. This guy fights his butt off. I don’t want to take a few isolated plays and try to magnify that into being the total picture of the guy. I’m going to tell you something right now, he’s a guy that hits the field every day and this guy goes 100 miles an hour. In the passing game, the run game, pass blocking, whatever’s asked of him, when he’s on special teams, this guy goes full out to the wall for us every day. Look, we have a lot of confidence in Evan. He’s an integral part of our offense. He’s a key part to our team. I look forward to having him for the rest of the season. Look, this guy, he works too hard not to improve on a daily basis. I’m very pleased with how he comes to work every day.
Q: You talk a lot about working on fundamentals and techniques this week. Is that something that you saw maybe you guys lacked a little bit of during that Steelers game? Is that why you worked on it a little bit extra this week?
A: We work on fundamentals every day, regardless of the time of year, the opponent, or what the outcome of any game was. That’s going to be a key part of our program. Everything starts and ends with fundamentals. Good plays start with good fundamentals.