The heat is on

There has been plenty of talk about triple digit game temperatures leading up to the Bears trip to <!--Default For Arizona is to ignore-->Arizona, but the fact is that many players will be playing for their jobs.

The first team defense, which took a step back against Denver, had a bad week of practice. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache was critical of players on the field and didn't hesitate to say what he thought of his unit's effort.

"We're looking for guys to help us win the championship," Blache said. "When you make mistakes, when you don't pay attention to detail that's sloppy and there's no place for it. There's no excuse for it. I'm very upset that we didn't play well the other night and I don't feel like we practiced as well as we should have. Usually, if you don't play well you come back with the conviction. I haven't seen that across the board.

"I just have too many people doing some of the same knucklehead things. I don't think they fully understand that we're not waiting on them. The bus is taking off to Houston and if they're not on it, we can't help them. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

"We're going to make some cuts next week and I think some people will be surprised when the cuts take place, if they don't get their heads out of their rear ends."

The Bears will get a better sense of Anthony Thomas' progress, as the running back looked sluggish in his debut last week. He carried six times for 15 yards, but said his back isn't part of the problem.

"My back hasn't given me any problems since that first day," Thomas said. "They just held me out the first game for precautionary reasons, but I feel pretty good, I'm running good, I'm fine."

The trip to Arizona is a homecoming of sorts for several players.

A year ago Lance Briggs and Bobby Wade were playing college ball for the University of Arizona. Now, the duo is coming back but as rookies in the NFL.

"It will be special because I know a lot of my teammates are probably going to drive up there and watch the game," Briggs said. "Even in 110-degree heat it'll be just like training camp back home."

Briggs has locked up a roster spot with big plays during the team's two preseason games. He has a shot to be the opening day starter at strong-side linebacker, but at this point that honor goes to Bryan Knight.

Before starring as Wildcat, Wade lettered at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. His versatility will help him in his quest to make the roster. Wade averaged 12 yards on three punt returns last week. The Bears will likely carry five receivers and the 4th and 5th slots will have to be special teams contributors.

Mike Brown played high school ball at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, AZ. He was named the top defensive back in the county by one publication.

Brian Urlacher grew up in New Mexico, so he knows what the desert has in store for the Bears as they take on the Cardinals tonight.

"It doesn't cool off there in the night, but we're looking forward to playing out there in the heat," Urlacher said.

The starters will see play into the second half, which will be their most extensive look during the preseason. It will also test the conditioning of the team.

"It'll be a great workout for our guys," offensive coordinator John Shoop said jokingly. "What a night, I can't wait to get there I hope we run 100 plays."


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