In conference calls with Seattle-area reporters this morning, both Chicago head coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Caleb Hanie were asked about the mood in the Windy City in the aftermath of the Bears losing three straight to fall to 7-6 on the season.
“I couldn’t really tell you,” Hanie said. “I’ve been locked up in a hole trying to study and get ready for Seattle, really. It’s not like I’ve been hitting the streets of Chicago talking to the fans. But I assume it’s not very good. The fans want to win games worse than anybody, so we need to get some wins for these guys.”
Smith also said he’s more concerned with getting his team ready for Seattle on Sunday.
“I can’t you about that,” Smith said. “We’re really concentrating more on what’s going on with our team. Our team is disappointed that we’ve lost three games that we had an opportunity to win. And they’re just excited about having another opportunity.
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“You’re really disappointed if things go bad and you can’t play anymore football. But we have so much football left to go. We have a three game stretch where we have to take care of business, and again it starts with Seattle.”
Hanie said Seattle’s defense schematically is very similar to the team they faced in the playoffs in January, except for the fact that he believes this defense plays harder.
“It’s the same system, a lot of the same personnel,” Hanie said. “But they’re just playing sound defense. They’re not showing as many looks as they did early on, trying to confuse or whatever. I felt like they’ve gotten back to basics in the last four or five weeks, and it’s really shown.
“They just make plays,” Hanie went on. “They play hard, and they’re going to be resilient. They’re going to come at you. They might not win every time, but they’re going to keep coming. And they’ll create some turnovers, I think they’ve done a good job of that, especially in the last four or five weeks.”
Smith talked about the fact that it feels like Seattle is in the NFC North, with the two teams meeting for the third time in a little over a year.
“It definitely seems that way,” Smith said. “We’ve played them quite a bit. It seems like you always get the same type of game. It’s going to be hard fought normally right until the end.”
Smith said that he hopes running back Matt Forte can return from an MCL sprain suffered against Kansas City two weeks ago.
“We don’t know exactly how long it will be, but we still expect him to be back some time this year,” said Smith. The Bears had not practiced yet, and the Chicago head coach would not say what his starting running back’s status will be for today. “He’s making a lot of progress, I’ll say that.”