Brown on the Lighter Side

Defensive end Alex Brown is looking for an edge this year and worked overtime this off-season to get where he thinks he'll be most effective.

In order to keep speed, strength and conditioning up through an entire season, Brown dropped 8-9 pounds through Rusty Jones' workout regiment.

"I played at 265 (pounds) last year," Brown said. "Just change up that body fat to a more lean mass than just fat then maybe it will make a difference through the season."

The additional step off the edge could be the difference between near misses and taking down a quarterback for a game changing play. There were a number of near misses for the entire defensive line last season, which doesn't show up in the stat book.

"I'm just hoping I can finish those plays instead of having almost sacks or pressures," Brown said.

The lighter frame could mean opponents trying to expose Brown in the ground game, an area he's worked tirelessly to improve on since coming into the league. Over the past two seasons, he's averaged 76 tackles and is considered a two-way end.

"If you lose five pounds, but you're 30 pounds stronger, which one would you rather (have)," Brown said. "So I can weigh 290, but I'm just fat. I'll just be fat and I won't be able to hold up on anything. But I think I'll be fine against the run.

"You might not see me body slamming too many 330-pound lineman, but I'll do my best to get by them."

Although Brown's led the team in sacks the past two seasons, modest totals of 5.5 and 6 respectively leave something to be desired for the five-year $16 million extension he received last year.

He's also searching for consistency in his game. Four of his six sacks in 2004 came in one contest against the New York Giants and quarterback Kurt Warner.

When asked why he was so successful against the Giants, Brown gave an honest assessment of the situation.

"Maybe (it was) Kurt holding onto the ball a little longer," Brown said.

There is a standard that defensive ends on Lovie Smith's team are expected to maintain.

"Alex he had a good year last year, but we judge our defensive ends (by) double-digit (sacks)," Smith said. "You start with ten and then go from there and he didn't get to there last year. We have to get him there this year along with Wale (Ogunleye)."

Richard Dent is the last end to achieve the feat for Chicago in 1993, when he had 12.5 sacks. The Bears believe there are two or three candidates to make a legitimate run at reaching double-digits sacks.

"This time next year, hopefully you won't be able to say that," Brown said. "We've worked hard this off-season and if we don't do it, it won't be because we didn't put in the work."

Brown refuses to put a number on what would make a successful season for him, but he does have a method for grading his performance.

"As long as I play better than I did last year, I'll be happy with myself," Brown said. "I believe if I do that then I'll get everything that the coaches want. I‘ll meet the expectations of myself and I think you guys will be pretty happy too."

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