Behind Enemy Lines: Bears/Dolphins, Part IV

In Part IV of an exclusive four-part series, BearReport.com's John M. Crist and DolphinDigest.com's Alain Poupart complete their back-and-forth chatter with five final questions from Alain to John. Is Adewale Ogunleye extra motivated, how much fun is it to watch Devin Hester, and is there any chance of a Chicago letdown on Sunday? These Q&As and more inside.

Alain Poupart, Associate Editor, DolphinDigest.com: What kind of season has former Dolphins defensive end Adewale Ogunleye had, and do you sense in him an excitement in facing his former team for the first time?

John M. Crist, Editor in Chief, BearReport.com: Ogunleye was a beast in preseason and carried that momentum over to the start of the regular schedule, but he was inactive for two games with a bum hammy. He probably could have suited up for the Arizona game in Week 6, but with a bye coming up in Week 7, the training staff held him out in order to get him 100% healthy. He certainly looked good last Sunday in his return, sacking Alex Smith to give him 2.5 QB takedowns in five games. The Bears have arguably the deepest and most destructive defensive line in the NFL, so Ogunleye can afford to take a breather every now and then while Israel Idonije and rookie Mark Anderson do their thing. As far as being extra motivated for the Dolphins, although I haven't heard him answer that question specifically, it would be human nature for him to be especially fired up to face his former employer.

Alain Poupart: Is Brian Urlacher the best defensive player in football?

John Crist: If you can name me a more dominant player on either side of the football, I would like to see you do it. Urlacher was the Defensive Player of the Year last season, and if anything, he has been just as good so far in 2006. The difference this year is the depth of talent around him, so he doesn't have to do quite as much every series. But if you saw the second half of that incredible comeback in Arizona, he was all over the field and simply refused to let his team lose that game. The interception he made last Sunday against San Francisco - he tipped a pass on a blitz and then caught the ball with one hand as he was being driven to the turf by an offensive guard - was one of the most incredible individual efforts I have ever seen.

Alain Poupart: Could losing safety Mike Brown make the Bears defense less lethal when it faces good opponents?

John Crist: The last time the Bears were manhandled in the running game - last season at Pittsburgh - Brown was on the sideline in street clothes. Also, the last time the Bears were shredded in the passing game - last postseason against Carolina - Brown started but had to leave with a lower leg injury. Talk all you want about Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Tommie Harris, but Brown is the heart and soul of that defense. He's the one true emotional leader on the roster, and what he brings to the huddle can not be understated. Todd Johnson filled in capably last week, but no matter now well he plays, he won't be able to provide the intangibles that Brown possesses.

Alain Poupart: How exciting has former University of Miami star Devin Hester been to watch on kick returns?

John Crist: Hester is arbuably the most electric open-field runner the Bears have had in a generation. There is a short list of NFL players that can take your breath away every time he gets his hands on the ball, and the former Hurricane is one of those guys. You can see the fans start to creep toward the edge of their seats every time he drops back to receive a punt. But not only has he been exciting, he's been a difference-maker in the field position game since day one. When you factor in how well the Bears play defense, stealing an extra 10 yards here and there in the return game is huge, not to mention that he has already taken back two for touchdowns.

Alain Poupart: Can you see any way possible the Bears look past the Dolphins this week, come out flat and get upset?

John Crist: Before the Bears did just about everyhing they could to blow that Monday night game in Arizona, I would have said yes. But that somewhat lucky win was a wakeup call for this team, and the bye week gave them an opportunity to refocus and not take themselves too seriously just yet. Head coach Lovie Smith refuses to let his team look ahead and is only concerned with the task at hand. Soldier Field will also be a factor considering the Bears are winning by an average margin of 30.5 points along Lake Michigan. That three-game road trip out east in Weeks 10-12 will be the defining segment of their season, but I'm fully expecting the Monsters of the Midway to give the Dolphins everything they can handle before the home crowd.


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