Big tip of the helmet to Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) and Adam Jahns (@AdamJahns) for putting the work in to get this done... Transcribing an entire press conference is incredibly time-consuming, and all credit goes to those guys for making this happen.
(transcribed by Brad Biggs and Adam Jahns)
We all survived a very vibrant and wonderfully intense Chicago and Midwestern winter. Glad everybody made it safe and I am glad to be here. Before I take questions just want to congratulate a few people that certainly deserve it, it's been a long time since the end of the season when we got to talk to the media so I am going to start off congratulating Charles Tillman and his wife Jackie and their family on Charles winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, an award that is richly deserved. We all celebrate in the things that Charles has done and a much deserved award for him. Also want to congratulate our players that made the Pro Bowl. Brandon Marshall, the only person in NFL history to have seven straight 1,000-yard seasons, is quite an accomplishment and should be celebrated. Matt Forte, season-high rushing, catching and TDs, back in the Pro Bowl. Richly deserved. Tim Jennings, 13 picks in the last two years, back to back Pro Bowls, second only to Richard Sherman in the number of interceptions.
Alshon Jeffery, Pro Football Writers Association most improved player of the year, should be congratulated on that and making the Pro Bowl. Did a great job getting his body and mind ready to demonstrate the skills that he had that got derailed a little bit his first year to injury. Very proud of Alshon and his efforts. Kyle Long has come a long ways from people throwing pencils against the wall in terms of his pick to be where he is at now and he is richly deserved of that spot, a lot of hard work and effort. He's come a long ways for a guy that had a very limited playing background. Very proud of him and I hope he is listening and if he is on his butt he gets off his butt and keeps working out there in California.
Want to say congratulations to them and also want to congratulate our new radio station in our market. We now have three full-time all sports radio stations. I believe it is called The Game. It is on 87.7 FM in our market. I am sure ESPN 1000 and 670 The Score are glad that they are there because competition makes us all better in all areas so congratulations to them and I don't know if David is here or not, but David Haugh is probably going to be picking up a lot of checks in Indy and Chicago for a while because he is rolling in new money with his new assignment and we're all proud of it. From there, glad to take questions.
ABOUT THE EXHAUSTIVE COACHING SEARCH EMERY HAD 14 MONTHS AGO?
I don't know that mine was any more extensive than others. Obviously Rick Spielman is a friend and had an extensive search this year. Him and I did talk before he undertook his. It is about finding the right person. We found the right person. It's finding the right mesh that everyone in the building is able to work with in a productive way to reach our goals, which is to win championships. That is what we are in it for and that is why we took our time to find the right person for the job.
WHEN YOU EVALUATE PEPPERS, HOW MUCH DOES THE SALARY CAP COME INTO PLAY?
That would be a contract question and I think I have had a very demonstrated history of not answering those questions. I will say that Julius is part of our football team. He is under contract. We're all coming off an 8-8 season. We have a lot to improve upon and that is where our heads are at.
ROLES FOR BOSTIC AND SHEA CHANGING A LITTLE, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT MORE. WHERE DO YOU ENVISION THEM?
This is what we envision: Shea is going to move to linebacker but Shea will be used in multiple roles, wherever his skills will take him. He is a perfect candidate to be on the field all downs in some capacity, whether that is blitzing, rushing, playing against the run in run personnel but he is going to have to compete for his job. He's going to have to win that job. He could win that job at sam. He could win that job at mike. Competition right now is Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene and it's Shea. Obviously, we feel that Lance Briggs is our weak starter. If we add back a D.J. Williams or another player, that player will be involved in that competitive mix and it's best person wins those two spots. We're excited about the competition. That's what makes your team better. And we're excited that we have players that possess enough talent that whoever wins can help us win championships.
IN TIME DJ WILLIAMS WAS HEALTHY LAST YEAR, WHAT DID YOU SEE?
Saw a good football player. Saw a guy that has legitimately very good burst. Saw a player that has good instincts, gets around the ball and plays with a relentless style. We were not displeased with his effort. We were very pleased with where he was going and how he was progressing. Obviously, he had some injuries in camp, he had to get his feet back under him and once he did he started producing at a high level.
On if it was important that the Bears' new defensive assistant coaches had 3-4 experience:
"Yeah, what we went through this search is to make sure that to improve our team on the defensive side of the football, that if we made coaching changes, it was an effort to get the most experienced coaches that have a high demanding style that will hold our veteran players accountable and have the necessary skill set to develop young players. We want to win championships, so we want to get the best coaches available. We're very excited about Paul Pasqualoni coming in, Reggie Herring and we're excited about bringing Joe Kim in as a consultant or specialist role as part of that mix."
On if Julius Peppers' contract status affects who he looks for at the combine/draft:
"I think the status of our team impacts who we're looking for. We want to improve as a team. We're in this to win championships. So everybody we look at, it's: can they impact our team in a positive way? Can they contribute to championships? That same filter is for veteran players as it is for young players coming in."
On if he's made a decision on Julius Peppers' future with the team:
"He's part of our team. He's under contract."
On how difficult it was to determine where to go with the defense with all the turnover:
"Ah, not difficult. It's part of the process of getting better. I'll say this, I think we have a history of we're not afraid to take calculated risk and we'll continue to do that. We'll continue to find players that have upside skills, that have good ceilings in terms of athletically, speed and size. And we'll piece it together. Obviously, there is a plan in place. It started with signing several veteran players back at the end of the year and the next step was making sure that our coaching staff was aligned correctly with experience and the skill sets that regardless of who we draft or bring in as a UFA, street, from Canada or from Arena League, that they have the skills to enhance what the positive traits of that player are and to fit it into our system of defense. That's why we went with more experienced coaches that have had numerous stays and stops and positive experiences running 4-3, 3-4, multiple-front defenses. That it gives us the same flexibility that our offensive staff gives us. One of the biggest reasons we hired Marc as our head coach is that he had demonstrated ability to take the positive skills that players have and mold it into something positive and to positively produce on the field and win championships. We want that the same on our defense."
On if he can make progress with his own free agents in Indy and clarify their situations before March 11:
"I'm sure that they will be, some of them. But that's a step-by-step process. Obviously, we had a high number of contracts that expired. And those players want their opportunity to get into the open market and that's OK. That's good. That's good for both sides. It allows better conversations. You have a better feel for market value. The No. 1 job of a front office collectively is always know the player's market and No. 1 job of an agent is to always to know a player's market. So when those are established at times with certain players, it makes the conversations better, they're more fluid and we can come to a conclusion quicker."
On how important it is to bring back Henry Melton:
"The same priority as it is to bring back any player that we would be interested in bringing back. And we do want to bring back Henry and we'll work through that process."
On Trestman saying Melton lost weigh during rehab for torn ACL and how he likes his recovery:
"Yeah, he's made progress. He's made positive progress."
On what he looks for on the defensive line:
"I'll just say that my personal preference is bigger is always better as long as you're not sacrificing athleticism and speed. This is a fast game, but it's a very physically tough, impactful game and you need bigger bodies over time to win those matchups."
On Melton's focus on football after his earlier statements:
"Kind of like I said, he's making positive progress."
On talking to Rick Spielman about coaching search:
"It was just a conversation about the process. We're friends and he wanted to know how we proceeded. I'm not the only person he reached out too. I reached out to a lot of people going through that process. You want to gather together solid ideas that can enhance your search in finding the right person, and knowing Rick, it's doesn't surprise me that he did a lot of homework. He's a very detailed, a very talented personnel evaluator. Him going out and seeking answers or suggestions or ways of doing things does not surprise me. He's a very talented person."
READ MORE: Marc Trestman's Press Conference Transcript