Chicago Sun-Times

Briggs: Defense can still be dominant; big contracts not the problem

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Through happenstance or by design, Lance Briggs has become the unofficial spokesman for the Bears' 19th-ranked defense.

He's the player that is trotted out behind the podium at Halas Hall every Thursday at noon to take questions at large on the defense, lately queries about why the Bears can't stop the pass, can't rush the quarterback and now all of a sudden can't stop the run.

For weeks, Briggs has maintained that the unit can be dominant and great again with one caveat--when it wants to be. So the question moving into Week 12, and on the heels of a 37-3 drubbing Sunday at Lambeau Field, is when the Bears will desire to be good again.

"I think it's tough," he said. "We know what we have been, I know what we can be and the thing about it is we're fighting for something right now and that's what we have to do. We've been saying it for a long time, I said this defense will play great football when we decide. Our problems are not from our coaching, it's not from the technique, it's not from the defense. It is within ourselves and that's something that we have to solve within our own selves, within our group."

So the natural question is, when will the defense feel like turning it on?

"If we're not playing up to the standard that we're supposed to be playing [at], then we haven't gotten there yet,'' Briggs said. "I can't answer that question for you because obviously it's an in-house problem. That's something that we have to solve amongst ourselves."

Briggs then fielded some broader questions about players struggling to meet expectations after landing big contracts, and the preparation that was put into the season. A portion of the Q&A:

IS A DANGER OF BIG CONTRACTS THAT PLAYERS WILL BECOME SATISFIED?

LB: Basically you're saying that you get some money so you don't play as hard as you did before you got the contract.

DOES THAT HAPPEN?

LB: I've heard it happens. I can only speak for myself. I've always played the game the same way. Been no changes, there's never going to be a change. I've played with the guys here for a long time and there's no way you can convince me that these guys are playing satisfied. Until I've lived it with my own eyes, there's no way that I would say that. These guys, if you even look at the fourth quarter of the last game, getting beat 37-3, there's guys that are still fighting to get to that ball-carrier to make some stops. So no. I think poor execution, poor play, yes. But satisfied -- not this group.

DID GUYS WHO LANDED BIG DEALS PREPARE PROPERLY FOR THE SEASON? (NOTE: BRIGGS MISSED A $250,000 WORKOUT BONUS IN HIS CONTRACT FOR SKIPPING A GOOD PORTION OF THE VOLUNTARY OFFSEASON PROGRAM)

LB: I think guys have been here more this year than most any other years. We had great attendance in the offseason, or OTAs and off-field workouts. I was the guy that wasn't there for the third or fourth year in a row. So if you're going to point the finger at anybody, it should be me. As far as the team goes, everyone had great attendance. Everybody was here in the offseason doing the things that need to be done, preparing. Like I said, the blueprint and all that stuff was set for us, and it's on us whether we execute or not.

WHEN YOU SAY YOU CAN BE A GREAT DEFENSE WHEN YOU WANT TO BE, THAT SOUNDS LIKE A DESIRE/ATTITUDE PROBLEM?

LB: I honestly if we want it bad enough then people won't be scoring 37 points on us. It's a stick right in your pride. It's a stick right into my pride, I know that much, when teams run the ball at will, when they throw the ball all over us. It's not cute. It's not fun to see yourself on somebody else's highlight film. So at some point we're going to have to grab ourselves and do something about it, or continue to be on other peoples' highlights.

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14 Comments

I don't think there is a logical explaintation for the poor work of this d. It's like trying trying to find the cure for the AIDS virus and Cancer in one pill. I am personally exhausted of the false statements provided to us by both the players and certainly the coaches. The only person with a bit of honesty is Mike Brown with his statements "against" the team. I would rather hear claims suck as Brown's that they certianly need fixing or they will continue on the downward spiral rather than Lovies "there still is more games, and we are still on top of the division, we just need to tweak things up a little." I mean these people must think the fans are singing Jonny Langs "Lie to Me" every time before they get interviewed. This defense can be dominant. This team can be dominant. These guys can install fear and reign terror on their opponents but until they come to terms on all, and I mean ALL levels on the issues, we will remain the laughing stock of what used to be The Monsters of the Midway. My buddy whos brother is a Slacker fan calls us The Midgets of the Midway. Dirty but arguably coming to truth.

Contracts may not be the problem. But if they aren't, then that means it is either - A) extremely poor coaching, evidenced by not calling correct defenses, getting players ready for games, and failing to adapt to opposing teams game plans; or B)Extremely poor performance by most of the players on defense.

In the case of "B" then most of these guys should not have gotten these contracts to begin with. The question is, should the coaches, or the players be the first to go?

No Guys contracts are not the problem, remember this is the NFL, thee are no guaranteed contracts, most of these guys earned their money with their previous play and are not having a productive year now, others in trying to lock them up early may not have been as good as we all thought, Vasher comes to mind here. This is a down year for the defense because teams are getting time to throw, you could blame Babich, I know a lot of you do, or you could say that age is catching up with some of the players, the last real high draft pick on the d-side of the ball was Tommy Harris until we got Harrison this year. They do need one corner capable of playing some bump and run to help take away one side of the field when it comes to slan patterns, I still think we need an upgrade at stronside LB, Hunter has played over his head for years now and is defintely slowing down, and Roach has been influenced out of posisiton more than once since he's been in the line-up. We just have to gut it out, and hope we see some BIG plays from the D down the stretch, if so playoffs are still a possiblity. Guys also lay off Tommy, # 91's play has gotten much better the last few game...I'm still on Wale time to get over Gabrielle Union and get back to the QB my friend, who knows that might get you a shot at Kerry Washington this off-season........

Chitown,

Babich shouldn't take the entire blame, but I think he's made enough blunders to "get the axe".

I'll say it again: The defense has been very inconsistent since he took over.

You should know by now lottery NFL picks aren't as "money" as they are in the NBA. Jerry Angelo has done a good job and this defense IS talented.

As for contracts, there is guaranteed money structured into every contract these days. So, while your statement is true, it's also false.

Late.

E

I feel you E, but they can still be "cut" without receiving all the money in the NFL, we've seen it happen over and over again. My point was the play of the Defense is not down due to the contracts, or because of them..they are just getting outplayed. Beaten at point of attack in the run game if not in the mug-up look, beaten in the passing game with lack of pass rush Wale and Anderson in particular, no ability to run with the TE down the field (Hunter/Roach) and the corners are both playing off the receivers, not knocking anyone off their patterns like the lousy Pack did to Bear receivers all day last week. If we do fire Babich how about brining back one of the old 85 Bears for the lockerroom to help instill the fire that they do not get from Lovie and staff, Dent who should be in the Hall, Danimal could really make a difference

Yeah Big contracts are not the problem,The coaching staff is.Weve lost too many games by 3 or less and wereent prepared for any of them!!!

Perhaps Briggs is right, but Urlacher and Hester certainly look a bit complacent o me. Briggs, on the other hand, has played harder than ever. Mike Brown has also been fighting every step of the way.In any case, there seem to be a lot of players who need a wake-up call.

Excellent posts, guys.

I mentioned this before and I will again - I remember watching a MNF game between the Bears and Vikes. Dierdorff made the comment - 'On defense...the Bears have the trifecta...they're old, small and slow.' Coach Ditka was let go shortly after.

Dallas Dave came in brought a new attitude and scheme...same players though. The defense was ferocious for a while. Dave brought something new to a 'D' that was long in-the-tooth.

I firmly believe it's time for a top-to-bottom coaching change...especially if there is complacency on the team.

Honestly...does anybody believe that Lovie and staff have what it takes to get back to the Superbowl and win? If not...we're just treading water. But what else is new with this team...

LB: "If we want it bad enough...."

those few words say it all

money isn't an incentive

pride is not an incentive

this "D" is lost

Chitown,

I agree it would be great to bring in one of Buddy Ryan's boys or even a Jim Jones disciple (isn't he a Buddy Ryan disciple?) from Philly. I think running a 46 is dangerous with all of the offenses that can spread out. However, the Bears are gettting sliced and diced anyways. Why not get a few shots at some INT's, fumbles, and sacks while Aaron Rogers is carving us up?

Unfortunately, I don't think Lovie will allow Babich to go. It's my understanding that Lovie and Bob are so close, they may be a package deal. That's unfortuante 'cause I think Lovie is a good head coach and gets the team ready every week (with the exception of last week).

Muster 25 may be right. The defense might not turn around unless there's sweeping changes in the coaching.

"'cause I think Lovie is a good head coach and gets the team ready every week" -Estevenj

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! oh wait, wait, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, oh man, I have tears in my eyes...BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. OWWW, my sides are hurting! WOOH!

Ah, thanks Estevenj. I needed that.

The next step for from Lance Briggs will be to tell it like it is - just as Mike Brown has done for the last four years. Lance sits in the premier position of the Tampa 2 defense, Will linebacker, his time as spokesperson for the defense is here.

This is both pathetic and unbelievable at the same time. The defense is pathetic, we just lost to the Packers 37-3, and are now 5-5. But, unbelievably, the Bears are still in first place. This team could still go to the playoffs. They could go 8-8, and win the division if two of those wins are against Minn and GB. But they will get stomped by whomever they face in the wild cared round.

This team could be real good next year with the crop of free agents coming out.

On the O-line, Mark Tauscher, Jordan Gross, Mike Goff, and Mark Columbo are UFA's in 2009.

At RB, Brandon Jacobs, J J Arrington, and Correl Buckhalter are UFA's in 2009.

At D-line, Albert Haynesworth, Julius Peppers, and Terrel Suggs are the only ones "worth it" to pay big bucks for.

The best safety available is Dawan Landry of Baltimore.

The only CB worth paying money to is Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders.

The Bear's top priority should be Haynesworth. Offer him 9 million per year if you have to, but get him. He will make everyone else better. Peppers would be awesome too, but you can't pay top money to someone exiting the prime of his career. Either Tauscher and Goff could be a good guard for a couple years. Buckhalter would be an awesome compliment to Forte. Asomugha is actually an awesome talent in Oakland at CB.

If they got Goff, Buckhalter, and Haynesworth, they would be in the Superbowl next year with just an average draft. Draft a tackle, LB, Safety, and another WR. And then fill it in with the best player available.

GO Bears!

Mister you are really dreaming if you think Da Bears are actually going to spend money on FA. They brought in Marty Booker for their BIG free agent acquisiton! The Bears have NEVER really hit the FA market, they do not spend the money. When they brought in Tait, Garza etc...I was amazed, and sure enough they went straight to the Super Bowl, so you are correct that the Bears have the nucleus WITH free agents to go to the Super Bowl, but those signings were not the norm for the Bears, they were a once in a lieftime deal. (McCaskey lifetime)
I sat and watched all the big name FA sign away this past year and the Bears got Booker, sad!
Oh but we rewarded our own!! Yeah, that worked out didn't it?
..hmm wasn't that the Falcons busy in the Free Agent Pool?? and the Jets??

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 20, 2008 2:05 PM.

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