Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

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On today's practice:

"This is our one day of the week where we will be able to practice in pads for the first 11 weeks. This new scheduling for us, you're only allowed one practice in pads so this will be our padded practice day as we move forward. I thought our guys worked hard on our introduction to the Bears. We did a little bit on Monday but this was our real introduction day. I thought the guys worked hard."

On Chicago's playmakers receiver/return man Devin Hester and quarterback Jay Cutler:

"On offense, I think that the quarterback is a big, strong armed guy who can throw the football. He can run as well. He averaged 4.5 yards per rush attempt and he had 50 rushes last year. He's a big, strong armed guy. They've got a really good receiving core. Johnny Knox is super-fast and can take the top off of the defense. He averaged almost 19 yards per reception. Devin Hester not only can hurt you catching the football but we know what he can do special teams-wise; a Pro Bowl returner. They added Roy Williams in the offseason. He's a big, strong 220-pound, 6-2 guy that can create some matchup problems. (Earl) Bennett, the receiver that was their third receiver last year, is kind of the security blanket for Jay."

On Matt Forte and Marion Barber:

"Matt Forte is a heck of a football player. He tied for the team lead in receptions and he was their leading rusher. He had 1,000 yards rushing and over 50 catches so he and Knox were their two leading receivers. They get the ball to him out of the backfield. In terms of speaking of Marion Barber, I think Marion Barber is more of a physical, downhill runner, probably going to be their short yardage runner. Matt is a guy that you'll see move around. They'll move him around and he'll line up at wide receiver in Coach Martz's offense. They try to get the ball in his hands."

On the Bears' rush defense:

"They're very well coached. They aren't real complicated in what they do. They style of defense that (Bears head coach Lovie Smith) Lovie plays is that those four guys up front are going to try to be disruptive. They play with very good pad level. The two defensive ends have great size and the linebackers behind them can scrape and run. Brian Urlacher is a Pro Bowl player; Lance Briggs, six years in a row. Their front seven is the strength of their defense. They don't blitz a whole lot. When they do, it's very effective, but they try to put pressure on you with the front four. I've been very impressed with their rotation inside. They play with their pad level down very well."

On Bears' DE Julius Peppers:

"He's a special player. There's no doubt about it. We've got a familiarity with him. For two years, he was in our division and we had to face him twice a year. He's big, he's strong. Not only can he sack the quarterback, but he's very long and he gets a lot of pass deflections and also causes a lot of fumbles. He can reach in and pull the ball out. He's a strong player. He's a guy that is probably going to have a chance to go to the Hall of Fame."

On Kelvin Hayden and James Sanders:

"Both of those guys have done a nice job. Again, it's difficult for guys to come in this late, to throw them full force in there. So we have to pick our spots. In the way we're practicing, they're getting an opportunity to go out there and compete. We're going to try to get them up to speed as quick as we possibly can."

On Curtis Lofton and his leadership role:

"Curtis is a very humble man. He's very even-keeled when you talk to him off of the field, but he's very competitive on the field. You don't anoint someone your leader. They rise to the top and Curtis has done that by his play. He's basically started from day one in our base package. The last two years, he's been an every-down player for us. He understands what (Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder) and the defensive staff want to do and that's a positive because he can get us in and out of things that we don't like."

On the injury report:

"Todd McClure has been ruled out for the ball game. Corey Peters did not practice today and he will be listed as 'Did Not Practice'. 'Limited Participation' was Jonathan Babineaux and Tyson Clabo. All of the other injured guys that we have had on our list that will be on the injury list for 'Full Participation' are Dunta Robinson, Lawrence Sidbury, Julio Jones and Rob Bruggeman. Those were all full participation but they'll be listed on the official list."

On Corey Peters:

"Corey is working extremely hard. He worked again with our rehab people today so we're just going to have to wait and see how he reacts to the work they put him through. They are ramping his workload up."

On Dunta Robinson being held out of the final three preseason games:

"Again, our number one goal in the preseason is to try to get everyone as healthy as possible for the first ball game. That was the intention with Dunta as well. I think if it was the regular season, he would have been ready earlier than he was this week, but it was the preseason and we're going to take every precaution that we can to make sure that we have everybody when we open up."

On the possibility of rotating three safeties:

"We have basically only played two safeties. We haven't had a rotation back there but there's not any reason why you can't do it. It's a matter of if you got the depth on your roster to do that. You want to always try to put guys in their best position and also, you'd like to have guys who can be fresh. You want your guys fresh at the end of the ball game. We're going to continue to work and if the competition says that we've got competition where there are three or four guys who deserve to be playing, then we'll put them out there and let them play as well."

On how the anticipation of the season-opener is being viewed after the atypical offseason:

"I don't think so. It was a funky offseason but it was a funky offseason for everybody. As a coach and as a player and as a fan, I think there's something special about the opening weekend of football and especially here in our League where it starts on Thursday night and ends on Monday. We're all excited about it. I don't think it's any different than any year. This is the start of a new journey for our 2011 team and we're looking forward to seeing where we're at."

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