The Ends Justify the Means

Bourbonnais - While Alex Brown's calf problem has given the coaching staff a chance to look at young players on the roster, the fact that Michael Haynes will likely start in his place at right end against San Francisco is the more pressing issue.

Haynes came to training camp as the starting left end. However Alex Brown's absence has shifted that philosophy, although it could only be a brief experiment.

"We'll find out shortly I guess, but it all depends on how the game works out," Haynes said. "If you can do it in practice but can't do it in games it's kind of pointless. So, we'll just have to wait and see after the game."

Brown played left end during his rookie season when Phillip Daniels went down with an injury and Bryan Robinson slid over to the right side.

" When I get back they'll put me in a position where I can help, whether it's right or left it doesn't matter," Brown said.

The left end position generally goes to the best run stopper and the right is considered the top pass rush option. But having the flexibility to flip the defensive ends on any given play could only be a plus.

Brown came into the league with a reputation for not being strong against the run and has worked over the past two years to change that view. Still it would be hard to imagine Brown moving to the left side on a fulltime basis, by if some chance Haynes has success getting to the quarterback against the 49ers.

Last year the Bears set a new level for futility when it came to getting to the quarterback. The unit produced just 18 sacks and Brown led the team with 5.5.

During Greg Blache's tenure as defensive coordinator getting to the quarterback was never a point of emphasis. On the other hand, Lovie Smith's up the field scheme is all about pressure and forcing the quarterback to make a mistake in an attempt to create turnovers.

The coaching staff couldn't have been impressed with the lack of pass rush the first team defense put on Marc Bulger, considering the Rams offensive line was missing their starting offensive tackles.

At this point the Bears are so desperate to find a way to get to the quarterback that an undrafted free agent and a second stringer from NFL Europe have become the talk of training camp over the past few days.

Israel Idonije had two sacks against the Rams with a little help from Alain Kashama and have caught the eye of the coaching staff.

"That's why you go to camp to find out who can and who can't play," said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. "As far both of those guys are concerned, yeah they're surprises and hopefully they're a big part of what we want to do."

Robinson, who missed Monday's practices because of a sore knee, played left end for five years before moving inside. He's spent time on the left side during training camp, but isn't the best fit for a defense designed to get penetration.

Fifth-round pick Claude Harriott has appeared lost at times on the field. During a goal line drill on Monday the defense had to call a timeout because he wasn't on the field.

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