Rivera chews out defense

Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera held his unit on the field long after the official conclusion of a private practice Sunday morning. Although the players were a considerable distance away from any members of the media, Rivera's shouts of dismay could be heard well beyond the sidelines.

"It was something that I just felt they needed to hear," Rivera said.

While there was no particular play that appeared to set Rivera off, the lack of intensity proved enough to warrant a rant.

"We did come out a little flat in the morning practice and it took us a while to get going," said Charles Tillman "It shouldn't be like that. When practice starts you should just be ready to go the whole way through practice. He has every right to be made at us for the way we came out. If I was the coach, I would be, too."

Although the Bears defense only gave up ten points, there were aspects the coaching staff needs to address.

WR Isaac Bruce carved up the secondary on the opening drive, particularly R.W. McQuarters. However the absence of a consistent pass rush leads to cornerbacks getting beat.

The lack of production from the defensive line has been a sore subject over the past week.

"It's one of those things where you always want more and more sacks," Michael Haynes said. "I mean, the thing as a defensive lineman you always want more and more so we're always striving to get better."

An illegal contact penalty on Lance Briggs gave St. Louis a new set of downs when they would have been forced to attempt a field goal. A 30-yard pass interference penalty on CB Eric Kelly led to the Rams only touchdown of the game.

As a former defensive coordinator, Lovie Smith tried to put the public undressing into perspective.

"There's a learning curve. We're a game past right now and we would like for that growth to speed up a little bit. Coach Rivera was letting the guys know," Smith said. "I wouldn't say it was our best practice that we had, but we made progress on a lot of areas. The defense didn't play as well as they needed to. I thought the offense did some good things out here today."

The 8:40 a.m. session was closed to the public at the request of Olivet Nazarene University to avoid a traffic conflict with churchgoers.

Whether the lack of a crowd had an impact on the defense's lack of enthusiasm for practice or not, Smith expects the team to perform no matter the circumstances.

"Clearly, the games we play are in front of big crowds who will b e making noise to get the guys going. The same is true for training camp. There are less people cheering during camp, but they can get very emotional about things. But, hey, these players are professionals. If they can't generate some effort on their own, they don't belong here."

With Brian Urlacher and Jerry Azumah out, injuries have definitely played a role in the defense's lack of execution. With three preseason games left on the docket there is still time to get things in order by the start of the season.

"You're constantly striving to be perfect," Haynes said. "The one thing that we have to work on definitely is to eliminate some of those penalties that we had."


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