Rivera Responds

BOURBONNAIS -- A day after lashing out at his defense, first-year Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera seemed to be cooled down.

"I think it was spur of the moment," Rivera said Monday. "I think sometimes things happen when you're watching practice, (and if you're) not happy with it, if it continues, you try to say some things. You ask some guys to step up and say some things -- sometimes if they don't have an effect, you have to speak up."

Rivera did just that Sunday after a two-hour practice during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. The former Bears linebacker showed the old player side of himself, going off on his unit in a five-minute tirade. Fortunately, the practice was closed to the public.

"For the most part (Monday's practice) was spirited," Rivera said. "Guys practiced at a tempo we're looking for them to practice at. That's the biggest thing for them to understand -- how they practice is how we want them to play."

Rivera told his players they had to be more accountable, how he wouldn't be embarrassed by them, and if they weren't on the same page they could leave camp early -- before the team officially breaks on Wednesday.

On Monday, the defense was missing defensive linemen Bryan Robinson (knee) and Alex Brown (calf), but cornerback R.W. McQuarters was back on the field after missing some time due to a death in his family.

Next up for the Bears is one afternoon practice today and one morning workout Wednesday before camp officially breaks. Chicago will host the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. (WCIU-TV, Ch. 26). It will be the second of four preseason games for the Bears, who beat St. Louis 13-10 in overtime on Aug. 12.

"When you get an opportunity to watch your guys play in game situations I think the biggest positive is you find out where you're weak and where you're strong at," Rivera said. "You find out what you need to work on. I think the biggest positive (was) we answered some questions, but there's still some questions that do linger."

What seems to frustrate Rivera is the fact he's missing major pieces of the puzzle. Brown, the team's best pass rusher, has been slowed by the calf injury.

Star linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) is out until probably the season opener on Sept. 12, and cornerback/kickoff returner Jerry Azumah is lost for three to four months with a neck injury.

"Absolutely (I'm concerned)," Rivera said of the defensive injuries. "Anytime you have a guy injured you're worried. I'm worried about getting Brian Urlacher back, Jerry Azumah and Alex Brown -- I think they're important to what we want to do defensively."

Back in Business: Offensive tackle John Tait, who sat out a week with a groin injury, returned to practice Monday. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Tait was signed to a $33.6 million deal this offseason after starting 33 games the last two seasons in Kansas City.

Tait, who had all of his reps come at right tackle, saw a specialist for a second opinion on a possible hernia, but is hoping to give it a go against the 49ers Saturday.

"It felt good to be back at practice in the huddle knocking the rust off a little bit," Tait said. "The biggest thing now is getting my conditioning back and being sharp with the plays."

Injury Update: DE Alain Kashama had impressed the coaching staff, but the undrafted free agent had to be carted off the field during Monday's afternoon session because of a sprained ankle. He's expected to miss the remaining two practices in Bourbonnais and possibly Saturday's match-up with the 49ers.

On the Mend: Tight ends Desmond Clark and John Gilmore appear to be getting closer to returning from hamstring injuries. Both players have spent time on the practice field jogging and stretching with the team.

Roster Move: The Bears made a pair of roster moves Monday, waiving defensive tackle Dan Rumishek and re-signing long snapper Brian Pare.

Rumishek was a first-year player signed by the Bears on March 26. Pare was originally signed by Chicago as an undrafted rookie free agent in May, but was waived by the team on June 30. The rookie long snapper is the first NFL player ever produced by Florida Atlantic University.


Bear Report Top Stories