The Bears are 5-3, a half-game behind the idle Green Bay Packers (6-3). But Bears coach Lovie Smith sometimes gets the feeling his team is far worse off.
"We're 5-3 right now, and a lot of times it seems like we're 2-6 or something like that," Smith said. "We're a good football team, and, in time, we'll prove that more and more.
"I like our position."
The Bears finished strong to hold off the winless Buffalo Bills 22-19 in Toronto Sunday, and they prepare for the 3-5 Minnesota Vikings next weekend at Soldier Field.
"We're excited to get the fifth win. We needed to get it to set up a huge game for us this week against Minnesota," Smith said. "Back in the division. I think we've won four division games in a row, and we're anxious to play the Vikings for the first time."
Here are some other highlights from Smith's press conference:
* Smith on Jay Cutler's ability to run the ball: "It helps a lot. You normally don't account for the quarterback. He's kind of a free guy. You want him to stay back in the pocket. Sometimes, you can get a big run, a big play, from that.
And Jay of course is mobile. He's fast, and he knew when to get down too. So those plays were big, with him using his feet."
* Smith on if they Cutler's mobility into the game plan: "That's something that's always in the game plan, when things break down or you see an opening, especially on maybe some of the third down plays, knowing exactly how much you need. It doesn't have to be third down. If you can get a positive play, you see that everyone is off, playing zone coverage, or sometimes even with man coverage, guys turn their back and they take off. Mobile quarterbacks can make a big difference and we definitely have one with wheels."
* Smith on the play of the offensive line, including guard Chris Williams: "Our entire line played well. Kind of talk about the line as a group. It's good to get that group together. We've talked about keeping the same group together for a while. But, they played well. In order for us - Jay was only sacked one time, I felt we had good protection, pass wise - and they allowed us to rush for over a 100 yards. That normally kind of tells you how an offensive line played. We're pleased with how everyone played. Of course, we still need to improve in a lot of areas. We'll do that."
* Smith on if the current starting five on the o-line will stay in tact: "We like this group. As I talk to you Monday, we like this group."
* Smith on balance: "When I say balance, I'm talking about just having a commitment to both. Giving what the defense gives you. But you have to be productive in both areas. And for us, of course, it was about us being able to run the ball more. We talk a lot about Chester, talked about getting Matt involved, and they had over 28 touches, run and pass. To me, that's the balance I'm talking about. Being able to run the ball effectively and pass."
* Smith on Minnesota drama: "I don't have time to follow drama. I'm about we have work that we're trying to get taken care of here with the Bears. No time to - I don't read what you guys write, so I'm definitely not gonna read what they're talking about somebody else. I know a lot about the Bears. I can talk on it."
* Smith on cornerback depth, in light of the Al Harris release by the Green Bay Packers: "I'm very happy with it. You mention a guy like Corey Graham. All he does is just everything we ask him to do. He hadn't gotten an opportunity to get many other plays except for special teams right now. But yeah, we're pleased with our depth for our football team. That is one of the storylines that goes unnoticed a little bit, our depth. We don't have a lot of injuries. You know, getting a player like Major Wright back into the mix a little bit yesterday, we didn't get him as many reps as we would've liked, but getting him back involved. Hopefully we can get Zack there and we'll have guys to choose from. I am familiar with Al Harris. Al and I started together back at Tampa a long time ago. He's a good football player that will land somewhere."
* Smith on Julius Peppers: "He's gonna be OK. It did. Especially after you go back and watch the video. It looked a lot worse than it ended up being. It's gonna take an awful lot to keep him out, to knock him down. But he's fine, good to go."