In need of Impact Players

Defensive coordinator <!--Default NodeId For Greg Blache is 834623,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:834623]>Greg Blache</A> hinted that changes are in store for a group that has been pummeled on the ground for three straight weeks and is allowing a league-worst 184 rushing yards per game.

"We are not very good right now," Blache said. "We stink. This is about as down as I've been in five years here. I know I wasn't really happy with a few people on the field."

Strong-side linebacker Bryan Knight is headed for the bench in favor of rookie Lance Briggs, although it was Briggs' missed assignment that resulted in the Packers' block of a Brad Maynard punt, which turned into Green Bay's second touchdown.

The Bears' cornerback play -- R.W. McQuarters and Jerry Azumah -- has also been tremendously disappointing, so doesn't come as a shock that rookie Charles Tillman will replace one of them. Tillman will start on the right side, which makes Azumah the team's nickel cornerback.

Despite not intercepting a single pass since becoming a starter at the beginning of the 2002 season, Blache said Azumah's demotion is a case of Tillman's potential.

"The other kid played better," Blache said of Tillman. "The other kid made plays in practice. And he's a kid we think may be a playmaker. What we're trying to do is get more playmakers -- guys that can make plays on the field. To win in the NFL, to win at any level, you need play makers."

Azumah will now return kickoffs. The Bears rank 23rd in average yards per return and the college running back, Azumah, should improve that number.

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher continues to be much less of a factor than you would expect for a $50 million player and one with such a high national profile. He could have prevented Ahman Green's 60-yard touchdown run that turned the game the Packers' way, but he was a step late arriving.

"All night long we didn't make plays when we had to; the whole season," Urlacher said. "That's what it comes down to. We just embarrassed ourselves one more time."

Urlacher is one of a few playmakers the Bears have and the coaching staff is starting Briggs and Tillman in hopes they can spark a defense that is ranked 30th in football.

"We expect both of them to carry their load. They have to," Jauron said of Briggs and Tillman.

The Insiders contributed to this story.


Bear Report Top Stories