Guarded Optimism

The best thing for the Bears, besides winning in Atlanta, was that Arizona beat Philadelphia on the road. Chicago is gaining confidence on a daily basis, but the team is still not good enough to take any opponent for granted. The fact that the Cardinals beat the Eagles should guarantee the Bears will be focussed and ready to play come Sunday.

"We know we've got a big test coming up," said Dick Jauron. "This is a football team that went in to Philadelphia and beat the Eagles at home. They beat them in Philly which is not an easy thing to do. We have a lot of respect for Philadelphia. They are a playoff team a year ago and we know that team. They're a good team. The Cardinals beat them in Philly and they'll come here and their goal will be to beat us in front of our home fans. We've just got to really get ourselves ready. We know that if we play at the top of our game that we can compete and beat anybody. That's what we need to get ready for every single week."

Arizona was blown out in their first two games of the season, but is 1-2 after their upset win in Philly. Jake "the snake" Plummer leads the Cardinal passing attack, which is 7th in the NFL. The quarterback has always had problems with throwing interceptions. Going into his fifth year in the league Plummer has never thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in a season. Still he a quarterback that is willing to take chances and that makes him a threat to Chicago's defense.

Greg Blache respects Plummer's and knows he has big-play potential. "He's got great escape ability. He keeps a play alive very very long. He can duck under things; um I liken him to a deer when you're bow hunting because he can duck a string. He hears that string going, he's up and under and he's out of there. The guys very very shifty he's got a good are arm and he's athletic, but he competes is the biggest thing. He can keep a bad play alive and turn it into a big play for them and that concerns me a great deal. Quite honestly I'm not going to say the Saint Jude prayer, but I'm going to say a long a long nondenominational prayer (so) that we are able to handle this guy."

Joking aside Blache is concerned about his defense becoming complacent considering their early season success. Despite giving up just three points against the Falcons he said after further examination the unit still has room for improvement.

"To be quite honest we stunk up the joint on Sunday," Blache said. "There were a lot of things left for desire. We actually played better against Minnesota than we did (Sunday). We had nine mental errors, 14 missed tackles, we gave up 300 something yards. We don't come up with the turnovers this football team is going to beat up on us. We had a football team that one quarterback was ailing and the other one is a rookie quarterback. We can play a lot better. We have played better than we did last week. Last week I was sorry when I looked at the film. I was very disappointed when I looked at the film. I'd love to just savor the thought of it, when I looked at the film it's like looking at anything up close. You see all the holes in it and the pop marks and quite honestly is wasn't very pretty."

The Bears haven't had a lot of success under Dick Jauron and the game against Arizona will be the first time this season Chicago will be favored to win. Chicago's defense is ranked 20 overall, but has only given up 30 points in three games. The unit is beginning to gain recognition around the league. Brian Urlacher was named the NFC Defensive player of the Week.

Blache said he is happy that his players are being recognized, but at the same time he isn't sure if the team was ready to handle success.

"Success ruins a lot of people it gets them fat it gets them false," Blache said. "I don't want our guys getting the big heads. They have to realize just as soon as somebody writes something good about you they'll write something bad if you stumble and fall. From there position it's good they deserve it and they earned and worked hard to get it. From mine selfishly I wish that nobody would notice us until January or February when it's time to make that last big leap. Right now, if anything concerns me more than anything it's all the talk and all the hype and all the stuff right now. I don't know if we can handle that. I don't know if we are mature enough to handle success yet and that's one of the things that scares me more than anything else."

All in all the Bears should beat Arizona. The Cardinals rank last in the league in total defense and this could be the week the run game gets its footing. Whether it is James Allen or Anthony Thomas carrying the ball remains to be seen.

If Chicago does win Sunday to go 3-1, it would be the team's best start since the Bears began the 1991 season 4-0 under Mike Ditka.


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