Everything Set But Opponent

LAKE FOREST -- The Bears have a date and a time for their next game. Now it's just a matter of figuring out the opponent.

   Chicago will play on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3:30 p.m., with the game broadcast on Fox.

   That much we know.

   The opposition has been narrowed to three teams -- Philadelphia, Green Bay and San Francisco -- but the Bears won't know who they'll host until this weekend.

   If Philadelphia beats Tampa Bay, Chicago (13-3) will play the Eagles. If the Bucs upset the Eagles, the Bears will play the winner of the Packers-49ers game.

   "The biggest thing we're going to try to do this week is focus on ourselves and focus on our fundamentals, because when you get away from the fundamentals you're playing with disaster," Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "That's what the game's about. It's still going to come down to tackling and blocking and doing the fundamental things. It's not about schemes.

   "I know it sounds boring to you guys, but it's not about stars and schemes; it's about execution and basic fundamentals. It's the same game we played since we were on the sandlot, and it's just a matter of doing it better than the other guy."

   The Bears went through a light workout Wednesday at Halas Hall. Starting cornerback Walt Harris, guard Rex Tucker, tackle Blake Brockermeyer and special teams Pro Bowler Larry Whigham sat out with various injuries.

   * SWAN SONG? Blache is a hot commodity in the coaching ranks, considering the success of the Bears and the incredible season the defense has had.

   Blache's name has popped up in Indianapolis, where he was a former assistant. The Colts fired coach Jim Mora Tuesday.

   "I don't know, honestly," Blache said, when asked about the position. "That's a great organization. There's great ownership and management there. (Team president) Bill Polian and (owner) Jim Irsay are fine, fine football people. Right now I aspire to get to New Orleans (for the Super Bowl), quite honestly. We have to get through whoever we're playing next week. That's first and foremost on my plate.

   "(Bears coach) Dick (Jauron) talks about it all the time: If you chase two rabbits, both of them are going to get away. Right now I'm chasing the playoffs, and that's the only thing I have control (over). I'm going to focus on that, I'm going to have the players focus on that, and what happens in Indianapolis is going to happen in Indianapolis. I have no control over that."

   * DEALING WITHOUT DAIMON: The Bears lost fullback Daimon Shelton for the rest of the season Tuesday when the NFL handed down a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

   Shelton, the team's starting fullback who was signed as a free agent in May, played the entire regular season despite the fact he acknowledged three months ago he tested positive for substances contained in an over-the-counter fat burner supplement, which are legal but banned by the NFL.

   Free agent pickup Stanley Pritchett will take over for Shelton.

   "I don't really know why it took so long, but they work in their own ways and make their decisions based on what they think is the best information," Jauron said. "But I feel bad for Daimon. He's worked very hard all year, and of course I feel bad for us, too.

   "But we'll deal with it."


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