Kicking Situation Tightening Up

Lake Forest - Rookie free agent Tyler Jones, who was signed to the practice squad on Tuesday, was the only kicker on the Bears' practice field Wednesday.

Starter Doug Brien, who has missed 3 of his 4 field-goal attempts this season, didn't practice because of a back injury that has him listed as probable. But coaches stressed that Tyler is at Halas Hall as insurance, not as a replacement.

"We didn't bring Tyler in because (Brien) missed field goals," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said, "we brought him in because of (Brien's) back being tight."

The Bears originally signed Jones as an undrafted free agent on April 29, out of Boise State, but he was waived on June 28 and was claimed by the Browns two days later.

"He wasn't as accurate as we'd like for him to be at the time, but we really like the potential for us," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Of the three kickers we had in (Nick Novak was the third), he had the strongest leg."

Jones had a game-winning 41-yard field goal in the preseason opener against the Giants, but Cleveland waived the 6-foot-1, 198-pounder Aug. 30. Since his release from the Browns, Jones has been working out at Boise State and has had tryouts with the Redskins, Eagles and Lions.

"Now I have to go out and show (the Bears) how much I've improved and what I can do and let them make the decision from there," said Jones, who early in Wednesday's practice clanked an extra point and a short FG attempt off the right upright.

There is no timetable or deadline for Brien's return. If his health remains iffy by game day, he and Jones could both be active.

"There's a chance, but right now that isn't the plan," Smith said. "The plan right now is for Doug to kick for us."

Short Term Memory
Maybe the worst thing about Kyle Orton's five-interception outing against the Bengals was that it came prior to an off week, leaving the memory of the performance to fester for two weeks.

But it still doesn't bother Orton, who handles negative and positive plays with the same even-keeled demeanor. On Wednesday he was asked who helps him with advice during tough times.

"I don't need a whole lot of advice on that," Orton said. "I've got it handled pretty well. I've played bad games in the past and come back and played great ones. So that's what I'm expecting to do this week."

Orton probably wouldn't give his most recent performance a thought if it weren't constantly asked about it. His message is the same as it's been since his first preseason interception.

"There are a lot of football games," he said, "and if you're going to worry about one bad one, you're not going to be playing for long. There are going to be bad games, and that's just how it goes. The best players who've ever played the game, they've all had bad games. So I'm not going to sit there and worry about and sulk about one loss."

One Man Show
WR Muhsin Muhammad has 16 catches for 198 yards and one TD. The Bears' other five wide receivers have 12 catches for 146 yards and no touchdowns.

Stiff Competition
Both of the Bears' losses are to undefeated teams, the 4-0 Bengals and the 3-0 Redskins. Ditto the Browns, who have lost to the Bengals and the 4-0 Colts.


Bear Report Top Stories