News & Notes: Bears-49ers

Lake Forest - The most glaring weakness of the Bears' offense has been an inability to sustain drives, which forces the defense to stay on the field for long stretches at a time and wear down late in games. But the defense has missed opportunities to get off the field by failing to stop opponents on third-down plays.

"As much as we don't like it when the offense gets three-and-outs," linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer said, "we're hurting ourselves when we can't get off the field on third down and they go 10 or 12 plays on every drive."

Sunday night, both sides of the ball have an opportunity to make amends. The visiting 49ers aren't particularly strong in any facet of the game. They're 25th in scoring and dead last in points allowed. And, while the Bears' run defense honestly does need an apologist after allowing 100-yard rushers in four of the last five games, the 49ers are just 28th in rushing yards this season.

--Six-year veteran tight end Desmond Clark said there is no excuse for accepting a losing attitude, even for a team like the Bears, which is the youngest in the NFL.

"I don't care if you're young or you've been in the league 12 years," Clark said, "if you're settling for that, I don't want to play with you, and I don't think we have those kind of people around here. Young or old, we have people who want to win. Settling for a loss is beyond my imagination."

--C Olin Kreutz (elbow) was removed from the injury report after practicing on Thursday.

--OG Ruben Brown (knee) was removed from the injury report after practicing on Thursday.

--DE Adewale Ogunleye (lower-right leg) is listed as questionable, but he has not practiced all week and doesn't seem to have any intention of playing on Sunday. That appears to be getting on the nerves of coach Lovie Smith, who doesn't wish to spend much time discussing the situation.

--OG Rex Tucker spent a second straight day taking snaps with the first team at right guard, leading to speculation that he will play in his first regular-season game in more than two years after a series of three serious injuries.

--MLB Brian Urlacher was held out of practice on Thursday to rest his hamstring but he is expected to play on Sunday night.

BY THE NUMBERS
The Bears have lost 26 of their last 36 games.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"This is a game that we should win. This is a team that we should beat. We need to go in and play better than we have on both sides of the ball, and if we do that, then we'll win." -- Bears LB Hunter Hillenmeyer

49ers
--QB Tim Rattay did not practice Thursday and it looks questionable for him playing Sunday night against the Chicago Bears because of a muscle strain in his right forearm. It is altogether possible that Rattay's availability will be determined during warm-ups Sunday.

--CB Joselio Hanson, a first-year player from Texas Tech, will see significant playing time as the 49ers' third cornerback. He will enter the game when the 49ers go with five defensive backs.

--QB Ken Dorsey participated in all the first-team reps during practice and is preparing to start Sunday night's game against the Bears. Dorsey has started two games this season. He has completed 46 of 79 passes (58.2 percent) for 469 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

--CB Ahmed Plummer will not play Sunday and could be out of action for a while with a bulging disc in his neck. Coach Dennis Erickson said he does not believe Plummer is out for the season, but his neck will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

--CB Jimmy Williams, who has two career starts in his four-year NFL career, will start at left cornerback Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Williams takes over for Ahmed Plummer, who is out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his neck.

--TE Eric Johnson is practicing this week, as his cracked rib on his right side is feeling a lot better. Johnson did not practice the weeks leading up to the 49ers' last two games. He is second in the NFL with 45 receptions, and leads all tight ends with 484 yards receiving.

--LT Kwame Harris heard everything last season, but he said he has done a much better job of blocking out the static this season. Harris, the 49ers' first-round draft pick last year, will not start Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears despite being nearly 100 percent.

Coach Dennis Erickson said third-year player Kyle Kosier will start but that Harris will be worked into the action. Despite his reluctance to get Harris back onto the field, Erickson said he has not lost any confidence in him. Erickson said he is committed to keeping Harris at left tackle, denying that his best position in the future might be right tackle.

"People say that and I hear that from everybody, but I believe he has a chance to be a good left tackle in this league and that's where he's going to play with us," Erickson said. "Obviously, at the end of our season we'll evaluate a lot of different things.

"Sometimes he thinks too much; he's just got to go out and play. I have confidence he can play left tackle."

--QB Tim Rattay's first seven starts of his career are statistically better than Joe Montana, John Brodie and Jeff Garcia.

In his brief time as a starter, Rattay has completed 64 percent of his passes (159 of 249) for 1,809 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Montana completed 62 percent of his passes in his first seven starts for 609 fewer yards, four fewer TDs and one more interception.

--When the 49ers fired Steve Mariucci following the 2002 season, the organization made a public statement that it would use an inclusive search to determine its next coach. The 49ers interviewed several minority candidates, including finalists Greg Blache and Ted Cottrell.

Although then-Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith was expected to be a top candidate, he said the 49ers never contacted him about the opening.

"I was never involved," said Smith, who as head coach of the Chicago Bears will take on the 49ers on Sunday. "I just always thought if I did a good job with what I was in charge of and, being a coordinator, that I would get an opportunity and I would get the perfect opportunity when my time came. If you keep doing your job, you will get an opportunity, and that is what happened to me. It worked out good for the 49ers, and I could not be more pleased to be the head football coach here."

BY THE NUMBERS
3 -- The number of turnovers the 49ers have forced through six games. The 49ers are tied for last in the league with the Raiders with a minus-12 takeaway/giveaway margin.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"I know what I can do. I know I'm a beast. I'm tight. I'm good. I'm not worried about it at all" -- 49ers running back Kevan Barlow on whether he fears newly promoted Maurice Hicks might take some of his playing time.


Bear Report Top Stories