- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Chicago’s no-frills defense might as well be Utopia for Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, who isn’t interested in beguiling opponents with grandiose schematics.
Working under recently-promoted defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, the linebacker says he’s learned some simple, yet important certainties about this year’s unit.
“I’m learning that we all fit pretty well in [Marinelli’s] scheme,” Briggs said Tuesday to "The Afternoon Saloon” on ESPN 1000. “He wants aggression. We’re gonna be a pretty violent bunch. One of the things he kind of mentioned, he said, ‘Hey, this isn’t a 3-4 defense. We’re not gonna beat people [by] trying to disguise the things we do. We line up with our best 11 and basically kick their butts.’ I love that attitude, and I think that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Briggs’ assessment about what the defense needs to accomplish isn’t off the mark. The unit ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in defense (18th, allowing 337.8 yards per game) last season, and 13th in sacks (35). The defense also allowed four 100-yard rushing performances, in addition to three 300-yard passing games against NFC North opponents (Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings twice).
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, after picking Chicago to go to the Super Bowl last season, predicted the Bears to be one of the worst teams in the league in 2010, according to his NFL power poll released last month.
Briggs issued a prediction of his own regarding King’s poll.
“Peter King is gonna have to eat his words at the end of the year. It’s fine,” Briggs said. “You know what? We’ve been backs against the wall anyway. It’s really a put up or shut up year. There’s nothing that can be said that’s going to make us play any better. We have to go out and prove it each week. That’s the attitude that we have to have.”
Asked whether there was a feeling permeating Halas Hall of coach Love Smith potentially losing his job if the club doesn’t make the playoffs, Briggs said the team doesn’t spend time thinking about hypothetical situations.
“We don’t sit around and think, ‘Hey if we lose, my coach is gone,' ” he said. “That’s not the attitude.”