Work To Be Done

Bourbonnais - The Bears have just one full practice before heading to St. Louis to face the Rams. With little time to prepare, expect the starters to see more action on Friday against the Rams.

"Since you don't have a lot of practice time you have to play the players more in the game and that's what we'll do," said head coach Lovie Smith. "And that's the best way to evaluate anyone. We don't tackle live or anything like that (in practice). So you have to get the guys in a true game situation so we'll do that."

The defensive starters played into the second quarter, while Rex Grossman had four series under his belt before being down for the night.

Smith wants to see improvement from all units, but the second string was especially disappointing, being outscored 14-3.

"I didn't think our 2s played as well as they needed to in the middle part of the game -- offense, defense," Smith said.

Cutting back on 11 penalties for 96 yards will also be a priority. Flags are often common in the preseason. The Dolphins had 12 penalties for 78 yards.

"We didn't know exactly how the players would play in a game situation," Smith. We know that now. It's back to the drawing board."

Glass Half Full
Jerry Azumah's hip surgery has opened the door for at least one of two unheralded cornerbacks to achieve an unlikely position on an NFL roster.

Jerrell Pippens was one of the top high school hurdlers in the nation in 1998, and he went to Nebraska on a track scholarship. The only football game he started was when the Cornhuskers opened in a nickel formation with an extra defensive back. While it didn't stop him from coming up with the game saving interception against the Dolphins, he's still a raw talent.

"It's good the way he finished. I'll say that. That's what's most important," Smith said. "But in between we have a long ways to go."

Rashied Davis never played a down of organized football until he was in college, and after spending four years in the Arena Football League, he's a 26-year-old NFL rookie.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Pippens and the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Davis are about as different as two cornerbacks could be physically. But both have enough skills to pique the interest of Bears coaches.

"With Jerrell you've got a long-armed guy that's a very athletic, physical-type player," Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said. "With Rashied you've got a smaller player who's very quick, who's got great feet and great hand-eye coordination."

Waiting Game
Rex Grossman played in his first game in more than 10 months, but the offensive line did such a good job in front of him that he didn't take a hit to his surgically repaired knee.

Obviously Grossman doesn't mind the protection.

"I didn't even get touched," Grossman said. "They did a great job keeping them off me. Those guys are a veteran line. They're all great players."


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