Steve Smith will not torch the Bears' secondary this time around no matter what coverage they employ in their Sept. 14 trip to Carolina.
The Panthers' wide receiver has been suspended by the team for the first two games of the regular season for his training camp beat down on defensive back Ken Lucas. Smith broke the nose of Lucas during practice on Friday and according to one report he was striking Lucas when he was in a defenseless position.
That's the position you could say the Bears were in when Smith racked up 12 receptions for a career-high 218 yards in a 29-21 victory by the Panthers in the divisional round of the playoffs Jan. 15, 2006, at Soldier Field. Smith ran wild that day and pretty much single-handedly controlled the game.
Smith has the right to appeal the suspension that was made because of conduct detrimental to the team. But for not it looks like the Bears will have to hatch a plot to stop Muhsin Muhammad, not the dangerous Smith.
Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning is out right now, still recovering from knee surgery. He's expected to return for the Sept. 7 opener at Lucas Oil Stadium but how much action he will receive in preseason remains a question.