Bears ends and tackles prepping for matchups

Bears defensive end Mark Anderson has an opportunity to make a case for more playing time with a good performance against the Vikings. On the other side of the ball, Chris Williams will be trying to hold off Jared Allen.

With left end Adewale Ogunleye finished for the season after suffering a fractured left fibula against the Ravens, Mark Anderson has two more games to prove his worth before he starts looking for a new contract.

Anderson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but if there is no collective bargaining agreement, he will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Bears will have a chance to match any offer he receives, if they desire. But Anderson hasn't done much lately to create a market for his services. He had 12 sacks as a rookie in 2006, five in ‘07 but only 2.5 since the start of the 2008 season.

"These last couple of games, I want to finish strong, go out there and make some plays for the team and just try to have fun," Anderson said. "I would love to finish strong on a great note."

Anderson is splitting first-team reps this week with Israel Idonije and, whether he starts or not, he'll see an increase in playing time.

"It's a great opportunity," he said, "but right now the main thing is we want to get a win. We've been struggling and, if we can get the last two wins of the season, that would be great for us, (to) leave on a positive note."

  • Offensive left tackle Chris Williams has the unenviable task this week of facing Vikings pass-rush terror Jared Allen for the first time.

    Allen is second in the NFL with 13.5 sacks, and he's been especially destructive against the Bears, with at least two sacks in each of the previous three meetings, for a total of 6 1/2. Last year he abused John St. Clair and, in the first meeting this year, he handled Orlando Pace and then Kevin Shaffer, after Pace suffered the groin injury that has kept him sidelined since then.

    "It should be a tough matchup for Chris all day long over there," said quarterback Jay Cutler, whose blind side Williams will be protecting. "But that's his job. That's what he's got to do. Obviously we've got to help him and put some guys on him and get some chip (blocks). That's what you have to do against a defensive end of his caliber."

    The Bears didn't do that last time, and Allen spent too much time in their backfield. Williams missed Wednesday's practice with a minor ankle injury but is expected back today.

  • General manager Jerry Angelo was asked if the Bears needed to be competitive down the stretch.

    "Very much so," Angelo said. "We need to get a win, that's very important right now, and I feel like we've been competitive, we just haven't been able to win, and that's the bottom line in our business as we all know."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 48-52 - The ratio of runs to passes in the Bears' five victories. In their nine losses the ratio of runs to passes is 32-68.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Brett is a competitor, and he's a really good player. If Brett wants to check out of a run, Brett's probably going to check out of a run." — Bears QB Jay Cutler on Vikings QB Brett Favre's sideline dispute with coach Brad Childress.

    NOTES

    While the offensive line has been the subject of much attention and much criticism, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo does not single out that group when it comes to assessing blame for a 5-9 season.

    "I'm disappointed we weren't able to play consistently on offense," Angelo said. "That's all. I could say the same thing about our defense. We weren't good on third down on defense. We spent too much time on the field on defense. We weren't good in the red zone on offense and or on defense. I can go down and give you a list of things. I understand the issues. I know what didn't happen this year."

    Angelo said all those issues will be discussed after the season, when it is assumed that most, if not all, of the Bears' offensive coaches will be fired.

    "Some of the things are correctable with personnel," Angelo said. "Those are the things we will be talking about. We will be talking about schemes, we will be talking about everything because we failed expectations. That's the bottom line. We didn't do the things that we felt we were going to do. So we'll go back, we'll evaluate and we'll come out stronger for it."

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