Hoge’s Notes: Peppers ‘Was Not Healthy’ Against Vikings
By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) If you’re wondering why Julius Peppers looked a little slow in Sunday’s 31-30 win over the Vikings, it’s because he was.
“He was not healthy yesterday, probably sicker yesterday than he was the two previous days,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said Monday.
Peppers was limited in practice leading up to the game with an illness and it lingered Sunday. Trestman even said that Peppers “didn’t look well to me” Monday morning in a team meeting.
“I don’t know that he had the energy to play as hard as he possibly could play,” the head coach said. “I thought he was involved, he ran some plays down, but overall, in his defense I think that he wasn’t getting better at the time.”
Peppers was credited with just one tackle in Sunday’s game and it came on the heels of a sub-par performance in Week 1 as well.
“One thing I’m not worried about is Julius Peppers,” linebacker Lance Briggs said Monday.
Defense Trusting Offense More
It’s not hard to notice changes in the Bears’ offense this year under Marc Trestman and the defense is seeing that too. After years of keeping the Bears in games despite an inept offense, Briggs indicated that that pressure has been relieved somewhat so far this season.
“The one thing that sticks out right now is that when we need a score, our offense will get that score,” Briggs said. “Last year, really any year, defensively we’d think we need to create a turnover and score, in order for us to score.”
But that hasn’t changed the mentality of the Bears’ defense, which is still providing points. Sunday, Tim Jennings returned a Christian Ponder interception for a touchdown.
Trestman opened up his Monday press conference by mentioning some thing he was happy with and some things he was not so happy with in Monday’s game.
The good defensively: Takeaways, red-zone stops for field goals, and the run defense against Adrian Peterson.
The bad defensively: Third down conversion rate and two-minute, end-of-game situations.
The good offensively: 58 percent third down conversion rate and the pass protection, including Matt Forte’s and Martellus Bennett’s blocking contributions.
The bad offensively: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. You usually don’t win with four turnovers in a game.
‘No Consequence Rule’
Bears fans were probably confused when special teamer Eric Weems tried to go after a loose ball that the Vikings had saved from going into the end zone on a punt. The ball ended up going out of the back of the end zone and was ruled a touchback.
Monday, Trestman explained why Weems went after the ball:
“(Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis) explains it as ‘no consequence rule’. Once their player touches the football, you have a chance to attack the football, and there’s no consequence other than a touchback so it’s basically our ball or nobody’s ball. In other words, we had a player positioned to pick it up and run with it, it’s still, my understanding it would have gone back to the 20-yard line as a free ball, it would not have been sitting there at the one-yard line, so in or out, we touch the ball the ball’s going back to the 20-yard line.”
When asked why more teams don’t go after the ball in that situation then, Trestman said: “That’s a good question, I wouldn’t be ready to answer that one.”
– Trestman backed up Brandon Marshall’s claim that Jay Cutler’s second interception was the wide receiver’s fault. “I think Brandon owned up a little bit to attack the ball a little more,” Trestman said.
– Martellus Bennett suffered nothing more than a bruised shoulder Sunday and had full range of motion Monday.
– Trestman is obviously happy with how his team has pulled off two come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter. “In the first two weeks I think we’ve seen a unique team resiliency. An ability to keep our poise.”