Clark fires back at Sharper for not-so-flattering comments
Despite the fact that the Minnesota pass defense is ranked 30th in the league at 266.8 yards allowed per game thus far, outspoken Vikings safety Darren Sharper believes that number is deceiving because his team has been incredible at stopping the run – currently No. 1 in the NFL at just 62 yards allowed per game. The Bears have thrown the ball much more efficiently since elevating Brian Griese to the starting role and relegating Rex Grossman to the bench, partially because the tight end duo of veteran Desmond Clark and rookie first-rounder Greg Olsen has worked well in double-tight formations. They combined for 119 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 27-20 comeback victory over the Packers this past Sunday in Green Bay, including the game-winning 34-yard scoring strike from Griese to Clark with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.
TE Desmond Clark
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Clark knows he and Olsen probably won't have that much success every week and teams will eventually try to take them away, plus things happen over the course of a game that dictate who's going to get the ball and who isn't.
"We look to have big games every week," Clark said Thursday before practice at Halas Hall, "but sometimes it doesn't happen like that for whatever reason. I don't think you shouldn't expect a big game. But if it [doesn't] happen, it could be for a number of different reasons. And if it [does] happen, it could be for a number of different reasons."
Nevertheless, Sharper told the Chicago media Wednesday via conference call that he never worries about the tight end position and "should be fired" if one catches a pass on him because he came into the league as a cornerback in 1997.
"I guess when you're the best safety in the league, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, the Brett Favre of safeties, you can do that," Clark said with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. "I guess he's a shutdown safety. And when you're a shutdown safety, that's what you do."
"I'm not going," Olsen said to the crowd of media after walking toward his locker and overhearing Clark's sarcastic comments.
"I'm thinking about staying home Sunday," Clark continued. "[Sharper] already shut me down, and we're not going to catch any passes."
For the Bears, LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (foot), WR Bernard Berrian (toe), LB Lance Briggs (hamstring), DT Tommie Harris (knee), OT John Tait (ankle), CB Nathan Vasher (groin), and DT Darwin Walker (knee) were all held out of practice Thursday. However, OG Ruben Brown (shoulder) and CB Charles Tillman (ankle) were both able to participate in all drills after Brown was limited Wednesday and Tillman was held out.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.