Like all the Bears, Chris Conte enjoyed his bye week. He and his teammates also are glad to be back at work, and with good reason: Conte will have his work cut out for him against Calvin Johnson and Detroit on Monday. The safety talked to RedEye about relaxing during the bye and attempting to stop the Lions' All Pro receiver.
Did you watch any football last weekend?
Yeah, I watched football. I don't have DirecTV at my home, but my parents have DirecTV, so I got to check out the RedZone channel. That was new to me. It was almost like too much going on.
I was back home with my parents in California. When I watch football, I always go back to that mindset of before I was in the NFL, and I have a moment where I'm like, "Oh damn, I play with these guys." It's kind of weird to see them and be a fan and then think of yourself and go, "This is what I do." You definitely go back into fan mode when you go home and you're in the same position that I was as a kid, watching football with my dad.
What did you see from watching Detroit's comeback on TV?
I thought they were resilient. They were down 10 in the game, so the way they came back and finished the game was impressive. Calvin Johnson, I think he was held to one catch in the first three quarters or something like that, and then in the fourth quarter exploded with five catches. You can lock him up the whole game, but he's gonna get his plays. He's similar to Brandon Marshall. The way we prepared for Brandon in training camp is similar to the way that we prepared for Calvin Johnson.
So practicing with Brandon, is that like putting doughnuts on your bat in baseball?
[Laughs.] Yeah, as a warm-up. You don't get the same type of play in practice that you do in the game, but it gives us a good idea of what we're going to have to do in an actual game.
I think we as competitors and being who we are—playing in the secondary—we want the quarterback to throw the ball. That's where we get our opportunities. Whenever you come up against a team that throws the ball, you get excited because you want to be involved in the game and make some big plays. You can't really do that if they don't throw the ball.
You've had some impressive open-field tackles this year. How do you tackle Calvin Johnson?
[Laughs.] He's a big guy. I've always been taught that if you stop a guy's legs, you stop him. But with him, you have to attack his arms too. Once he has the ball, you can maybe go after his legs, but I think you have to attack his hands because he's rangey and strong and can hold onto that football. So yeah, you have to go after his arms and separate him from the football. Because I don't think hitting him in the body you're going to do too much damage.
So arms, legs and hands.
Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. Say hey @readjack.
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