Notebook: Bears Shrug at Lack of Respect

Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, has the Bears rated 32nd and last in the league in the season-opening edition of the magazine.

"Well, you know, the team that was picked 32nd last year was San Diego and they made the playoffs and the worst team the year before that was Carolina and we were in the Super Bowl," Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad said. "So maybe it's a stroke of luck."

Coach Lovie Smith called it something else.

"We know what we have on the inside right now," Smith said. "I don't really listen to a lot of that stuff to be truthful I know it's there. Sports Illustrated is a magazine that most people look to. You would think that they would know a little bit more about football than that."

Mike Brown has seen the team finish under .500 in four of his five seasons in Chicago. He's used to the Bears being picked toward the bottom of the division, but believes the prediction will allow the team to sneak under the radar.

"I think people are going to be surprised at how we play," Brown said. " We basically have no pressure on us because no one expects us to do well, so we just go out there and let it all hang out.

"That's preseason, it doesn't matter how they rank you in the beginning, it matters in the end. No one takes it personal, someone has to be last in the preseason, it just happens to be us. But I doubt we'll only win three games."

DEFENSIVE CORNER
Jerrell Pippens couldn't have helped his bid to make the team as a reserve cornerback when he allowed a 48-yard pass reception from Cleveland's Charlie Frye to Antonio Bryant along the sidelines.

Pippens and Rashied Davis are vying with Todd McMillon for one or two reserve cornerback roster spots.

"Human nature, I'm disappointed," said Pippens. "I had a great offseason, great OTAs (June workouts), pretty good training camp, but today it didn't come together."

Final cuts will occur both Friday and Saturday, according to coach Lovie Smith. Deadline is 4 p.m. Saturday.

"So I'm disappointed," Pippens said. "We'll see what happens this weekend. I just have to keep working. I can play this game. It was just a bad day."

BETTER THINGS AHEAD
Kyle Orton thought his night could have been better had he been playing longer.

The Bears' rookie starting quarterback was in for only two series.

"It went good,'' he said. "Obviously we got off to a good start on the first play. It's kind of tough when you know you're only going to be playing a couple series. You want to make so much up in that little time and got too aggressive and threw the pick. But all in all I think it went pretty well."

QUICK HITS
Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was given the night off to rest for the opener. LeVar Woods, the former Arizona Cardinal acquired in free agency, started in his place. Woods left the game in the second quarter with a neck stinger and was replaced by Jeremy Cain. . . . There were 12,562 no-shows for the final preseason game.


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