Brown Still Giving Cards Plenty of Respect

The Bears are leading the NFL in scoring offense and scoring defense through five games. Even though the offense is grabbing the headlines with Rex Grossman throwing touchdown passes all over the place, the Windy City will always be a defense-first kind of town. End Alex Brown knows that this D can play even better, but he won't give the Cards any bulletin board material.

Alex Brown is probably the most talkative member of the Bears defense, but he is one of the few players in the NFL who is great to interview despite never saying anything overly controversial. The former Gator was a second-day draft pick just four-and-a-half years ago, coming to Chicago with a reputation as a rush specialist who wasn't much help against the run. Nowadays, Brown is regarded as one of the more complete ends in the game and may be on the verge of making his first Pro Bowl.

The Bears will make a trip to the desert this week for a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Veteran Kurt Warner was given every opportunity to regain the magic he once had in St. Louis, but even with arguably the best collection of skill position talent in football at his disposal, a porous offensive line and his inability to avoid turnovers has relegated him to the bench. Golden boy rookie Matt Leinart made his first start last week against Kansas City and is unquestionably the quarterback of the future for head coach Dennis Green.

The Chicago defensive front has done an incredible job of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and hasn't needed much help from blitzers, but Brown is hesitant in saying that Leinart will be easy prey just because he's a rookie.

"I'm pretty sure if you do what it takes to rattle a quarterback – regardless if it's your first your or your tenth year – everybody can be rattled," Brown said. "Whether we'll rattle him, I don't know. We'll go in with a gameplan, and hopefully can execute it. The guy's good, though. You don't want to take anything away from him just because it's his first year. He's good. He's been on a big stage a lot. He understands pressure games. Obviously they need a win, and we do to. Both teams are going to play like it."

Not many would call Leinart a mobile quarterback, but Brown recognizes that he does a good job of side-stepping the rush and giving himself an extra second to get rid of the football.

"He understands the angles and stuff like that," said Brown. "He understands if you just move slightly to the left, not necessarily to get away, but buy himself enough time to get the ball off. And he does a good job of that. I think it's a lot like Tom Brady does."

The spotlight shines pretty brightly playing professional football on Sundays, but Brown admits that being on center stage in prime time on Monday nights is even more glamorous.

"Without question," he says immediately. "Just playing in general is a big thing, but you play Monday night, everybody's watching. It's a big thing."

The Bears are the story of the year so far in the NFL, but Brown and his teammates have done an admirable job of shooting down all the buzz of going undefeated and staying focused on the opponent at hand.

"I don't think hype is going to give us any points come Monday night," he said matter-of-factly. "We actually got to go play, and we've got to play well. And we've got to beat a pretty good team. They could definitely be 3-1 right now. They lost a couple of close ballgames. They're a confident bunch, so we've got to go in and play well. And if we don't, they can beat us."

One player who has seemingly disappeared off the football landscape is first-year Cardinal Edgerrin James, but Brown knows better than to take the tailback lightly and remembers what The Edge did the last time he suited up against the Bears.

"I think the last time we said that - that he had lost a step or something like that - he put up 204 (yards) on us," Brown said. "He's a good back. He runs hard. He plays hard. He's definitely good, definitely one of the better backs in the league. You want a guy like that on your team. He's that good."

The Bears are likely to be without his partner on the other side of the line of scrimmage - Adewale Ogunleye is still nursing a hamgstring injury - so the the Monday night lights may be shining even brighter on Brown.

JC


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