2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears' defense coming off bad outing, Saints next

    2013-10-02 17:30

(Eds: Updates, stands.)
By GENE CHAMBERLAIN
Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears defensive players believe Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. might be off base after he referred to them as ``a bunch of thugs'' this week.

``We're far from it,'' cornerback Tim Jennings said Wednesday. ``I wish we were.''

The Bears defense is actually searching for some toughness after giving up 159 yards rushing in a 40-32 loss to the Lions last week, one week after allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers 379 passing yards in a win. Facing the New Orleans Saints and the league's fourth-ranked offense Sunday at Soldier Field hardly seems the ideal situation for regaining their edge.

It's not quite an identity crisis because the Bears have forced a league-high 14 turnovers, much like it always did under former coach Lovie Smith. However, the big chunks of yardage yielded in different ways has them turning to basic football to combat the problem.

``Last week I didn't feel like we did as good a job of tackling, and it showed,'' defensive end Corey Wootton said. ``The biggest thing we've got to do is rally to the football because in any team people are going to miss tackles. So the biggest thing is getting those population tackles, getting people to the ball because when one guy misses then the next guy will be there.''

Coach Marc Trestman finds the tackling problems nothing unusual at this time of the season.

``It's a (repetition) thing, and we're not the only team going through this,'' Trestman said. ``This is something that is really universal throughout the league early in the season, and teams do get better as we move along. I think we've tackled well, but we still want to get better at it.''

Part of the problem stems from different personnel. With defensive tackle Henry Melton out for the season, the Bears have had to shift the defensive line.

Last week, Wootton moved inside at times to defensive tackle, or nose tackle Stephen Paea played there, in addition to defensive tackle Nate Collins - who also played some nose tackle along with new acquisition Landon Cohen.

``Definitely, I feel like as a unit, especially up front, we haven't gelled and clicked together as much as we'd like to,'' Wootton said. ``The biggest thing we've got to do is just go out there and practice every day and become more comfortable with each other - we've got different guys in there.''

Stopping New Orleans will be almost a 180-degree swing for the Bears defense from the problems they had Sunday. Saints quarterback Drew Brees ranks second in passing yards and fourth in completion percentage. The Saints covert 45.3 percent of their third-down plays, sixth in the league; the Bears defense is tied for 21st stopping third down conversions (39.6 percent).

``First of all we have to find a way to stop the run and eliminate the explosive passes and eliminate the yards after the catch,'' defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. ``They do a great job with the throw and catch and then the run after the catch. Then we have to do a great job of getting off the field on third down. So that's the key.''

Linebacker Lance Briggs put the Bears' defensive frustration at a high level.

``To me ,it's kind of disgusting to see 40 points up on the scoreboard regardless of what went on and how it went up there,'' he said. ``Defensively, we haven't prevented a team from scoring more than 20 points this year yet. And that's not like us.''

Notes: Six punters auditioned Tuesday after Adam Podlesh struggled against Detroit and dropped to 28th in punting average (43.5 ypp). ``I kind of understood after what I put out there on the field in Detroit that, I basically said to myself, `I wouldn't be surprised if they were going to look at what was out on the market,''' Podlesh said. ... Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (foot), defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe), cornerback Charles Tillman (groin strain) and safety Anthony Walters (hamstring) missed practice. Defensive end Julius Peppers (chest), tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder) and defensive back Sherrick McManis (quad) participated on a limited basis.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Justin TuckOct 29 09:23p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin) and CB Carlos Rogers (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. [ More ]

Bobby WagnerOct 29 09:23p

Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) and LB Bobby Wagner (toe) were each unable to practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and each is already ruled out for Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

Max UngerOct 29 09:23p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill (ankle), SS Jeron Johnson (concussion), CB Byron Maxwell (calf) and LB Malcolm Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG James Carpenter [ More ]

J. CunninghamOct 29 08:53p

The St. Louis Rams signed OT Steven Baker, WR Emory Blake, OT Travis Bond and TE Justice Cunningham to the practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Marcus LattimoreOct 29 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) returned to practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. He remains on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Brian QuickOct 29 08:43p

The St. Louis Rams placed WR Brian Quick (shoulder) on the reserve/injured list Wednesday, Oct. 29.

A.J. EddsOct 29 08:33p

Atlanta Falcons FS Sean Baker, Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves, Denver Broncos DE Greg Latta, New England Patriots OG Chris Barker, New York Jets LB A.J. Edds, Oakland Raiders [ More ]

Damian WilliamsOct 29 08:33p

The St. Louis Rams promoted OG Brandon Washington from the practice squad to the active roster Wednesday, Oct. 29, and they signed free-agent WR Damian Williams.

Patrick WillisOct 29 08:03p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), SS Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were listed as limited participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Chris Culliver [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 29 08:03p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Anthony CollinsOct 29 07:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were listed as limited participants.

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Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Oct. 29. Green said he feels good, and he'll try to do more Thursday, Oct. [ More ]

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Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor (calf) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and he has been ruled out for Week 9.

Patrick PetersonOct 29 07:33p

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Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Chris McCain (foot), LB Koa Misi (ankle), [ More ]

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Minnesota Vikings DE Brian Robinson (glute) and CB Jabari Price (hamstring) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Josh Robinson (ankle), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle, knee), [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 29 06:23p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been ruled out for the team's Week 9 game. CB Jamell Fleming [ More ]

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Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is expected to start in the team's Week 9 game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to league sources.

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Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

Jon BeasonOct 29 05:33p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot, toe) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints LB David Hawthorne (hand) and FB Austin Johnson (knee) both did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and have been ruled out for the team's Week 9 [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been ruled out for Week 9.

Jimmy GrahamOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and is questionable for the team's Week 9 game.

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New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. FS Nate Ebner (finger), DE Dominique Easley (knee, shoulder), OT Cameron Fleming (finger) and [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 29 05:03p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) didn't practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG Oday Aboushi (shoulder), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder), LG Trevor Reilly (knee) [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 29 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (shin), CB Jimmy Smith (foot), LB Terrell Suggs (neck), CB Lardarius Webb (non-injury) and OG Marshal Yanda (knee) all did [ More ]

Justin ForsettOct 29 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. Forsett is dealing with an ankle injury.

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