Chicago Bears: Anthony Adams

LS Mannelly undecided about future

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8
DES PLAINES, Ill. -- If Bears free-agent long snapper Patrick Mannelly does not return to Chicago for a franchise record 17th season, the team’s all-time leader in games played (245) would probably lean toward retirement.

That’s the scenario Mannelly laid out to reporters before being honored as the Bears’ 2013 Ed Block Courage Award winner at a luncheon held at Maryville Academy in suburban Des Plaines, Ill., an event attended by team matriarch Virginia McCaskey.

“It would be tough to put on another helmet for another team,” the Mannelly, 38, said.

The only member of the 1998 draft class that is still playing with their original team, Mannelly is almost three months into a four-to-six month rehabilitation process following offseason hip surgery.

Mannelly is scheduled to fly to California Tuesday night to continue his rehab work at EXOS in San Diego -- he is no longer under contract with the Bears and cannot use the facilities at Halas Hall -- but the veteran long snapper is undecided about his future.

"As athletes you always think you can play forever and I’ve been lucky to play for a long time," Mannelly said. "But I really want to listen to my body and see what happens. You always want to play forever. Your heart wants to play forever. Your mind wants to play forever. But we'll see.

"I would feel bad if I didn’t give it everything I had and [slacked] in the offseason. I’m not going to do that. I truly want to find out. I want to put myself in a position where I get sore again and feel hurt every day and see how much I enjoy it and how I bounce back the next morning.”

The Bears are expected to offer Mannelly a one-year contract if he decides to continue for another season, although a drop-dead date has not been set for Mannelly to make a final decision.

“We haven’t really set anything in stone for that,” Mannelly said. “I have some dates in my mind that I want to set to reach certain plateaus and goals to get ready for the season. I’ll leave those dates to me but we will see.”

If Mannelly’s recovery goes according to plan, he could theoretically return to the field when the Bears hold their organized team activities in late May and early June. But the Bears had to protect themselves at the position and agreed to terms on a three-year deal with former CFL long snapper Chad Rempel on Monday.

“It’s a smart move,” Mannelly said. “Phil Emery should do that. I’ll be 39 this year and I don’t know if I’m going to be back. They need to take care of their roster and that’s the most important thing.”

The Ed Block Courage Award is given out annually to one player on all 32 NFL teams who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room. Teammates vote for the award. Ed Block Courage Award winners symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and are considered role models in the community.

Past Bears recipients of the Ed Block Courage Award include: Nick Roach (2012), Brian Urlacher (2011), Anthony Adams (2010), Israel Idonije (2009) and Charles Tillman (2008).

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation promotes the prevention of child abuse by raising awareness and assisting agencies that provide for the care and treatment of abused children.

Patrick Mannelly wins Ed Block Award

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
Chicago Bears veteran long-snapper Patrick Mannelly has been voted the 2013 Ed Block Courage Award winner.

Mannelly will be presented with the award on April 8, at a luncheon held at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

The Ed Block Courage Award is given out annually to one player on all 32 NFL teams who best exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage and serves as an inspiration in the locker room. Teammates vote for the award. Ed Block Courage Award winners symbolize professionalism, great strength and dedication, and are considered role models in the community.

Past recipients of the Ed Block Courage Award include: Nick Roach (2012), Brian Urlacher (2011), Anthony Adams (2010), Israel Idonije (2009) and Charles Tillman (2008).

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation promotes the prevention of child abuse by raising awareness and assisting agencies that provide for the care and treatment of abused children.

Mannelly holds the franchise record for seasons of service (16) and games played (245). He holds the honor of being the only player from the 1998 NFL draft (sixth round) that is still playing with the team that originally selected him. Mannelly has missed only 11 games in his career and has snapped the ball 2,282 times over the course of his illustrious career.

Mannelly, 38, is recovering from offseason hip surgery but is expected to be welcomed back to the Bears if he decides to play for a 17th season. The veteran long-snapper is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
Anthony Adams
AP Photo/Dave Martin
Former Penn St. and NFL defensive tackle Anthony Adams said the Jerry Sandusky scandal hasn't changed his opinion of Joe Paterno.

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Bears release Adams, Omiyale

March, 1, 2012
The Chicago Bears made the release of defensive tackle Anthony Adams official and announced that offensive lineman Frank Omiyale has also been cut on Thursday. reported on Sunday that Adams, 31, had been told he would be released by the Bears.

"Cuts are never easy, but are a part of the evaluation process," Bears general manager Phil Emery said in a statement. "We appreciate all that Anthony and Frank gave the Bears organization both on and off the field during their time in Chicago. We wish them the best moving forward."

A ninth-year veteran, Adams played the first seven games of the 2011 season -- starting two -- but was inactive for five of the team's next eight outings. Adams hadn't been inactive in that many contests since the 2008 season.

Adams was scheduled to receive $1.9 million in base salary while counting $2.65 million against the Bears' salary cap.

Omiyale, 29, was a versatile lineman in his three seasons with the Bears, starting 31 games at both guard and tackle positions in 48 regular season games.

Adams says Bears will release him

February, 26, 2012
The Chicago Bears informed veteran Anthony Adams on Sunday of the club's intentions to release him, according to the defensive tackle.

Read the entire story.

Offseason position outlook: Defensive line

February, 14, 2012
Defensive Bears TD AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastThe Bears' Israel Idonije has 13 sacks over the past two seasons as the full-time starter at defensive end.
This is the seventh installment of a 10-part series that reviews every Bears position group on offense and defense, while also taking a quick look at potential free agent targets and the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft.

The defensive line combined for all but three of the team’s 33 sacks, with defensive end Julius Peppers racking up a team-high 11 for his third double-digit sack campaign in four years.

But the Bears finished 2011 tied for 19th in that statistic, which wasn’t sufficient in the eyes of Bears coach Lovie Smith.

“We got good pressure from our front four,” Smith said. “But to say that we got enough the entire [season], I can’t say that. Each year that I’ve been here, we’ve tried to improve our defensive line; that’s always. You look at our league [and] we’ve got three quarterbacks I think that threw for over 5,000 yards. You need to be able to rush them better. That is an area we need to improve.”

[+] EnlargeHenry Melton
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastHenry Melton impressed in his first season as a starter, recording seven sacks.
The team ushered in the post-Tommie Harris era at defensive tackle with strong campaigns from first-year starter Henry Melton and free-agent acquisition Amobi Okoye, who combined for 11 sacks. Melton posted seven sacks, which tied for third in the NFL at his position, and Okoye’s four sacks tied him for 11th.

But the rest of that position group didn’t contribute much to the team’s totals, although it did fare well at stuffing the run.

The Bears ranked No. 5 in the NFL against the run, and according to STATS LLC, tied for the second most “stuffs” -- a tackle of a rusher for negative yards -- in the league in 2011 with 54 for 144 yards in losses. Since 2004, the Bears lead the NFL with 452 stuffs, and the defensive tackle position plays a significant role in the team’s ability to post such numbers.

That doesn’t mean the position group doesn’t need to improve. With Melton and Matt Toeaina set as the starters, the team needs to coax more out of veteran Adams -- who is coming off somewhat of a down year -- as well as Amobi, a free agent, and 2011 second-round pick Stephen Paea, who wasn’t able to crack the rotation until Week 6.

The defensive ends, meanwhile, might be in line for an upgrade opposite Peppers. With opponents devoting so much to neutralize Peppers, his counterpart -- Israel Idonije -- contributed just five sacks in 2011, and is set to become a free agent. The staff considers Idonije a “core player”, but it would seem unlikely the team would be interested in bringing him back as anything more than a rotational player.


Anthony Adams: Played the first seven games -- starting two -- but was inactive for five of the team’s next eight outings. Adams hadn’t been inactive in that many contests since 2008. Nagging injuries appeared to be a factor in Adams’ struggles, and Smith also cited mediocre practices as one of the reasons for the veteran’s lack of playing time. Adams contributed 17 tackles and eight quarterback pressures, but finished without a sack in 2011 for the first time since the 2008 season. Adams enters the final year of a two-year contract signed just before the start of last year’s training camp, and is scheduled to receive $1.9 million in base salary. He’ll count $2.65 million against the salary cap.

Henry Melton: The coaching staff -- especially Smith -- raved about Melton all offseason, and the three-year veteran justified the team’s position with a promising debut as an NFL starter. Melton notched 16 tackles and seven sacks to go with 34 quarterback pressures. Melton started the season with six tackles, three sacks and 12 quarterback pressures in his first four games, but experienced a lull in production. Melton admitted to pacing himself as an attempt to conserve energy for the duration of games, and thinks that played a role in his inconsistency. With a year of experience as a full-time starter, Melton will be a more consistent performer in 2012.

Jordan Miller: Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Southern, Miller caught the staff’s attention in training camp and the preseason, eventually earning a spot on the practice squad. Miller needs to take full advantage of the club’s conditioning program to make a legitimate push to get on the field in 2012.

Amobi Okoye: Signed to a one-year contract last Aug. 1 that included a paltry signing bonus of $82,500, Okoye -- a former first-round pick of the Houston Texans -- appeared to be merely a reclamation project. But Okoye proved much more by contributing four sacks, 27 tackles and 27 quarterback pressures. Keep in mind Okoye came into the 2011 season with just 11 career sacks in 150 career games. Instead of being a bust, Okoye appears to have been miscast in Houston’s 3-4 scheme because his skill set is more conducive to success in an attacking one-gap system. The Bears will likely try to bring back the free agent if the sides can agree to a cap-friendly deal.

Stephen Paea: Paea’s strange inactivity over the first five games conjured “bust” whispers. But the truth is the second-round pick struggled to transition into the pro game, and was also working through the soreness and fatigue associated with recovering from a knee injury suffered prior to the draft. Paea contributed two sacks, 18 tackles and two quarterback pressures as a rookie. The defensive tackle recorded the club’s eighth safety since 2004 when he sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone in Week 6. Paea spent the majority of last offseason rehabbing from the knee injury. But now that he’s fully healthy, expect Paea to grow tremendously this offseason.

Matt Toeaina: The starting nose tackle, and one of the main reasons the Bears were successful stuffing the run, Toeaina tallied 21 tackles and no sacks, and was inactive four games because of a sprained knee. Toeaina posted a season-high five stops on Dec. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks. Having signed an extension in December 2010, Toeina is under contract through 2013.

[+] EnlargeJulius Peppers
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesJulius Peppers recorded a team-high 11 sacks for the Bears last season.
Julius Peppers: Peppers posted nine of his sacks over the final 11 games, and he tallied at least one in seven of those outings to eclipse 10 sacks for the seventh time in 10 NFL seasons. Peppers also forced three fumbles to run his career total to 36. That number ranks as the fourth-most in the NFL over the past 10 seasons. Interestingly, the majority of Peppers’ production seemed to come after Week 5 when the veteran suffered a sprained knee in a loss to the Detroit Lions.

Israel Idonije: Contributed five sacks, and now has 13 over the past two seasons as the full-time starter. Idonije also scored a touchdown on a recovered fumble in the end zone in Week 15 against the Seahawks. Although the veteran set career highs in tackles (57), and fumble recoveries (2), Idonije might not be back with the Bears in 2012 as the starter opposite Peppers. Idonije just finished the final season of a three-year contract, and will likely be allowed to test free agency for a more lucrative deal than what the Bears might be inclined to pay.

Corey Wootton: Seemed to be putting together a strong training camp, but nagging injuries derailed what could have been a breakout season. Wootton suffered a knee injury on the opening kickoff of the exhibition opener that required arthroscopic surgery. After sitting out the first three games, Wootton returned in Week 4 to face the Carolina Panthers. In the week of practice leading up to the following game at Detroit, Wootton suffered a broken hand. Wootton possesses the potential to develop into a starter, but needs to find a way to shake the injuries.

Thaddeus Gibson: Signed to the active roster on Dec. 19, Gibson contributed on special teams in the last two games of the season. A former fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, Gibson possesses impressive physical attributes, but is raw. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli seems to be the ideal coach to aid in Gibson’s development.

Chauncey Davis: Signed with the Bears in November, Davis made three tackles in a loss to the Oakland Raiders in his debut. Davis played the final six games and registered nine tackles and a sack. Prior to joining the Bears, Davis played in 96 games (25 starts) in seven seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.

Bears free agents: Okoye and Idonije


•DT Jason Jones, Tennessee Titans, unrestricted
•DT Cory Redding, Baltimore Ravens, unrestricted
•DT Kendall Langford, Miami Dolphins, unrestricted
•DE Mario Williams, Houston Texans, unrestricted
•DE Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions, unrestricted
•DE Jeremy Mincey, Jacksonville Jaguars, unrestricted


Unless the team seeks an upgrade at the under-tackle spot currently manned by Melton, it’s unlikely the Bears make any moves at this position during free agency outside of potential backups. But if the team wants to upgrade opposite Peppers, it would have plenty of gifted options, not to mention more than enough cap room to pull off a high-profile acquisition.

Perhaps a significant deterrent to making a move in free agency is the fact the club already has $20.15 million committed in 2012 base salaries to just three players on defense (Peppers, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs). That number would likely swell to approximately $26 million or more if the team picked up a high-profile pass rusher to play opposite Peppers.

So Williams might be too expensive, and Avril is believed to be a top priority in Detroit. That might make Mincey an intriguing option. Mincey, 28, is coming off a breakout season in which he posted eight sacks, 57 tackles and four forced fumbles playing in a 4-3 system similar to Chicago’s. But the Bears might be apprehensive about how Mincey arrived at those sacks because five came in two games against a struggling Indianapolis Colts offensive line, and he notched three more over 14 other outings.

That could potentially push down Mincey’s asking price to a number closer to what the Bears were paying Idonije.

But with new general manager Phil Emery running the show, the team might feel the safer play is to bring back Idonije or try to boost the pass rush through the draft.

Bears put Nathan Enderle on inactive list

December, 11, 2011
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears named rookie Nathan Enderle to the list of inactives for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, meaning new acquisition Josh McCown will serve as the primary backup for Caleb Hanie.

Read the entire story.

Streaking/Slumping: Week 13

December, 6, 2011
Julius Peppers & Anthony AdamsAP PhotosJulius Peppers continued his dominance against the Chiefs while Anthony Adams can't find his way back to the field.


1. Corey Graham, CB: Filling in for the injured D.J. Moore, Graham generated three interceptions over four games, proving he’s more than just a special teams ace. Unfortunately, it appears Graham could be giving up his spot in the lineup to Moore, who should be set to return Sunday against the Denver Broncos. A five-year veteran, Graham is a free agent after the season and could be looking for an opportunity to contribute more on defense instead of solely special teams.

Julius Peppers
2. Julius Peppers, DE: Week in and week out, Peppers puts on a showcase of elite athleticism with his strength and sideline-to-sideline speed. Fellow defensive end Israel Idonije said Peppers literally throws around opponents. Peppers has contributed three sacks in the last four games. Against the Chiefs, Peppers didn’t have any sacks, but was plenty disruptive. Peppers posted four tackles, including one for lost yardage and broke up a pass.

Henry Melton
3. Henry Melton, DT: Melton came into Sunday’s game tied for fifth in the NFL among defensive tackles with five sacks. But he tacked onto that total against the Chiefs for six sacks on the season, which ranks as the most by a Bears defensive tackle since Tommie Harris notched eight in 2007. Melton experienced somewhat of a lull in production in October, but has tallied three sacks over the past four weeks.


Caleb Hanie
1. Caleb Hanie, QB: The team demonstrated faith in Hanie’s ability to lead this team to wins when Jay Cutler suffered the thumb injury that will keep him out indefinitely. But Hanie hasn’t proven the team right with his last two performances. Hanie has thrown six interceptions in two starts filling in for Cutler, with passer ratings of 56.9 and 23.8. The team continues to support Hanie, but his play definitely needs to improve for the Bears to get into the postseason.

2. Lance Louis, RT: Louis certainly didn’t help Hanie’s cause by struggling against the Chiefs. Interestingly, Louis had been one of the offensive line’s most solid performers since becoming the starter at right tackle on Oct. 16. So Louis’ struggles against the Chiefs seem to be more of an aberration than the norm, and we expect him to bounce back against the Broncos.

Anthony Adams
3. Anthony Adams, NT: Adams started all 16 games last season, but so far in 2011, he’s started in just four. In addition, he’s been inactive for three of the past five weeks as the team has preferred Matt Toeiana, Amobi Okoye, Melton and rookie Stephen Paea in the defensive tackle rotation. Bears coach Lovie Smith said earlier this season that Adams hadn’t been playing well. The veteran’s production may also be limited by back issues.

Adams questionable vs. Chiefs on Sunday

December, 2, 2011
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Even if the Chicago Bears wanted to activate Anthony Adams on Sunday, the veteran defensive tackle isn't expected to be available when the team faces the Kansas City Chiefs.

Adams will be listed as questionable after he suffered a back injury in the middle of the week, which kept the defensive lineman off the practice field on Thursday and Friday. He was inactive last week in Oakland as the Bears opted to dress a fellow defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, instead of Adams.

Meantime, nickel back D.J. Moore is questionable to return to action this weekend after missing the previous two games due to a sprained ankle. If Moore is inactive for the third consecutive week, Corey Graham will once again handle the nickel duties versus Kansas City. The Bears defense hasn't missed a beat with Graham, who has intercepted a pass in each of the last three contests while filling in for Moore.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has officially been ruled out for Sunday.

Streaking/Slumping: Week 12

November, 29, 2011
Julius Pepper, Mike MartzUS PresswireJulius Peppers has been unstoppable lately while Mike Martz played a role in Caleb Hanie's struggles.


1. Johnny Knox, WR: Knox put together his first 100-yard outing of the season, hauling in four passes for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Interestingly, Knox has averaged 20 yards per catch or more in six of the Bears' team’s 11 games. The outing against the Raiders certainly qualifies as a breakout performance, but even Knox would admit that he needs to be more consistent with catching the ball and route running.

Henry Melton
2. Henry Melton, DT: Melton has responded positively after sitting down with Bears coach Lovie Smith to discuss his dwindling production. Against the Raiders, Melton was a disruptive force, and finished with a sack. Melton now has five sacks on the season. But that number could rise given the production the team is getting from defensive end Julius Peppers, who is often double teamed.

Julius Peppers
3. Julius Peppers, DE: Since suffering a knee injury against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 10, Peppers has been on fire. Prior to that game, he had posted two sacks over the first five contests. Since then, he’s notched six, including two multiple-sack outings. Peppers sacked Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer twice on Sunday, and finished with three tackles for lost yardage. Peppers has also been one of the team’s major forces against the run.


Anthony Adams
1. Anthony Adams, NT: Adams has now been inactive for two games this season, and has posted just one tackle over his last three outings. One reason the team made Adams inactive against the Raiders was the return of Matt Toeaina, who had missed four of the past six games with a sprained knee. The consummate professional, Adams won’t complain about his role changing. If anything, expect him to respond with better play.

Caleb Hanie
2. Caleb Hanie, QB: Let’s preface this by saying one game doesn’t constitute a slump, but given the situation with the team in the mix for a playoff berth, one bad game can be damaging. Hanie threw three interceptions in the first half, and eventually settled in and performed like the team expected. Hanie won’t be in this section long, and the team is confident he’ll bounce back with strong performances. We’re inclined to believe that, too.

Mike Martz
3. Mike Martz, offensive coordinator: Now you know we can’t place Hanie in the slumping category, and not add Martz, too. Martz played a role in one of the three first-half turnovers by calling the throwback screen. Interestingly, Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry said he saw the Bears run that play out of the same formation in London just before halftime. When he saw it Sunday, Curry said all he had to do was wait for the Bears to throw it to him.

Devin Hester active for Bears

November, 13, 2011
Bears receiver/return man Devin Hester (ankle) wasn't among the team's inactives for Sunday's NFC North clash with the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field, but the club declared starting defensive tackle Matt Toeaina inactive.

Toeina's status means Anthony Adams, who was inactive for the first time all season Monday night against the Eagles, will start at nose tackle opposite Melton.

Read the entire story.

Streaking and Slumping: Week 9

November, 9, 2011
Earl Bennett, Anthony AdamsAP Photo/US PresswireEarl Bennett had a big night in his return while Anthony Adams was inactive for the first time in three years.


1. Jay Cutler, QB: Twice in the last three games the quarterback provided a glimpse of why the Bears traded a couple of first-round picks to acquire his services. Cutler completed 56.2 percent of his passes, but did a masterful job of avoiding pressure and taking care of the ball. Cutler’s confidence seems to be growing with every step of progress the offense makes, which should bode well down the stretch.

Earl Bennett
2. Earl Bennett, WR: Bennett missed five games, but seemed to pick up right where he left off in the chemistry department with Cutler. The Bears utilize Bennett mostly in the slot, but perhaps it’s time the staff puts in more plays featuring him. Bennett caught all five of the passes thrown his way against the Eagles, and his run-after-catch skills make him by far the club’s most dangerous threat.

3. Offensive line: Offensive line coach Mike Tice said last week that the staff learned the starting five isn’t good enough to line up against opponents and win without help from tight ends and running backs chipping. That’s fine. But the starting five definitely deserves credit for Cutler suffering just three sacks in the past three games, including none against the Eagles.


Anthony Adams
1. Anthony Adams, DT: A nine-year veteran, Adams was inactive against the Eagles for the first time since November of 2008. Adams made just three tackles in games against the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and might be losing ground to other players in the rotation such as Matt Toeina and Stephen Paea. Adams still possesses the skill set to contribute significantly. But he needs to perform better moving forward.

Matt Forte
2. Matt Forte, RB: First off, Forte’s production against the Philadelphia Eagles (24 attempts for 133 yards) shouldn’t be overlooked. But he fumbled for the first time in 347 touches with both turnovers leading to Eagles touchdowns. Forte didn’t make excuses for the miscues, and likely won’t find himself in this category very long. After all, Forte is on pace to rush for 1,610 yards, which would go down as the franchise’s best one-season rushing performance since 1984 (Walter Payton rushed for 1,684 yards in 1984).

3. Dane Sanzenbacher, WR: Sanzenbacher remains a virtual no-show in the Bears’ offense. He’s caught just three passes over the past three games for 26 yards, and despite being thrown to twice against the Eagles, the rookie failed to come up with a grab. Sanzenbacher received the Cutler “look” after dropping a ball in the second quarter. Perhaps he’s hit the often-discussed rookie wall?

Adams inactive vs. Eagles

November, 7, 2011
PHILADELPHIA -- In a surprise move, veteran Chicago Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams is inactive for Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles after being in the starting lineup the previous two weeks.

Read the entire story.

Adams has plan to 'break' Royal Guards

October, 19, 2011
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams often poses problems for guards. But unlike in the NFL, the guards Adams plans to harass this week in London usually don't fight back.

"I know I'm going to mess with some (British Royal) Guards," said Adams, whose Bears will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London on Sunday. "I know it. I just feel it in my gut that I'm going to get them to break."

That's no easy task. Even if the presence of obnoxious tourists, British Royal Guards are famous for their serious demeanor while on duty. But Adams is famous for his less than serious demeanor when he's off duty.

Something must give when the Bears arrive Friday morning in the United Kingdom.

But Adams won't reveal the exact nature of his plan. Like an NFL team trying to hide an injury leading up to an important game, he is keeping a tight lid on his Royal Guard breaking strategy.

"It's not enough room to show all the moves that I would do to break them," Adams said. "Then I don't want them to watch it and get a heads up on what I'm going to do. I can't do it right now. I'm just going to go off the cuff. I'm going to get them though.

"I'm not going to give them any ammunition. I don't want them to study the tape and try and to counter what I'm going to do. No physical contact. Let's say their face is right there, the punches will come right here and stop. The reach hand that I've been working on ... see, I'm giving you too much right now."

Briggs: Bears 'must have' Lions game

October, 7, 2011

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With his team sitting at 2-2 in the middle of the NFC North standings, Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs left no doubt about the importance of their game against the 4-0 Detroit Lions on Monday night.

[+] EnlargeLance Briggs
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesLance Briggs knows how big Monday's game with the Lions will be.
"It's huge," Briggs said before Friday's practice. "It's a division game, and it's a game that puts us right in the mix or will set us back three games. We're just coming off two losses in the conference, so this is a must have. We have to have it. Period."

While that may be the prevailing thought in the locker room, teammate Israel Idonije didn't want to put that much emphasis on the game.

"It's a big game, but I look at it [like] one game is our game this week, and we have to get better," Idonije said. "We have to be better than what we've been, and it's a big opportunity to do that, facing a team with a lot of momentum on a big stage. And it's an opportunity for every individual to turn it up and get better and just play how we know how to play. We just have to get back to playing those fundamental basics."

Getting back to basics is a common mantra throughout Halas Hall. Captain Brian Urlacher knows that his team must play better, especially the defense, a unit which has given up huge chunks of yardage of the past few weeks.

"I don't know what it is," he said of the recent defensive struggles. "We're just not making big plays. We're giving up too many long runs, too many long passes. We're giving up big plays and not making any ourselves. We need to stop that somehow and try to figure out and get back to the way we used to play."

In order to do that, the Bears realize they must perform under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, a challenge they are excited about taking on.

For Bears defensive tackle and Detroit native Anthony Adams, playing at Ford Field on Monday night means a little more to him, and he knows his team is looking forward to the opportunity to get its season right back on track.

"It's huge," he said of the hype surrounding this game in Detroit. "Those tickets sold out when they said we were going to have a Monday night game. There's a lot of people there excited. They had those tickets before they knew [the Lions] were 4-0. So they're very excited and amped for this game as well as I am."