Two-way players

Lovie Smith said he has no qualms about using starters on special teams, even as returners, as the Bears used cornerbacks Jerry Azumah and R.W. McQuarters last season to return kickoffs and punts, respectively.

"Let me ask you this," Smith said. "What's the object each play? To score. So it doesn't matter, offense, defense, special teams, the object is to score. If that's your best option to score, that's what you should do.

"So, for us, Jerry's a great return guy. We're going to have him returning the ball. Some guys, if you don't have to put them at risk, we won't. But guys that we think can change the game on that play, we're going to put them in that situation. R.W. McQuarters returning punts. I just think it's important that you do that."

Best Defense in NFL History<
New Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the son of Buddy, defensive coordinator of the legendary 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, and his brother, Rex, coached defensive line of the 2000 Super Bowl champ Baltimore Ravens who set a league record for fewest points allowed.

So, with family deeply involved, who had the best defense in NFL history?

"Well, I am not going to be stupid and say the Ravens," Ryan said. "I am definitely going to state the facts and say it's the 1985 Bears. I know the statistics say one thing, but the truth says another. The Bears gave up a few points, but they were killing people."

"We think John (Tait) can be an All-Pro at the right tackle. At left tackle he may be OK for right now. But we recruited John, and we signed him to play right tackle for us. We think we're going to do an awful lot on that right side, and we want him there." -- Lovie Smith on recently signed UFA ORT John Tait.

Note: The NFL released the list compensatory draft picks yesterday and the Bears will not receive a choice. The team had hoped for a selection for Rosevelt Colvin.

The league also announced the season opener Thursday night game. The Bears were in the running, but it will be a rematch of the AFC Championship Game. The Colts and Patriots will square off on Sept. 9 in New England. The remainder of the schedule will be released next month.

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