AL HAMNIK: Lovie Smith's lament: All positions are open

2012-08-11T18:30:00Z 2012-08-13T14:08:58Z AL HAMNIK: Lovie Smith's lament: All positions are openAl Hamnik Times Columnist
August 11, 2012 6:30 pm  • 

BOURBONNAIS | The fans are upset. The media already is taking target practice. And Bears players, the subject of their discontent, are promising to straighten up.

After just one preseason game, albeit a 31-3 butt kicking by the Denver Broncos Thursday.

Welcome to the city of Fan Fickledom with its endless population.

“At the end of the day, even though it was just a preseason game, we always want to walk away with the 'W,'” said safety Major Wright. “We've just got to get better and correct our mistakes.”

They've got three more preseason makeovers to do it.

The Bears held out four starters against Denver in Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers. You're not supposed to panic at the first dress rehearsal but it gets a bit frustrating when the backups show nothing.

“We're still a work in progress,” Wright said. “Everything's gonna come along. It's a long season.”

Saturday, another large crowd turned out at Olivet-Nazarene University to watch their favorite team. There were no threatening mobs with torches ablaze. Even coach Lovie Smith had reason to feel good.

“There were a lot of things we didn't like in that last football game,” Smith said. “We had a couple of players that showed us they belonged and those guys will start getting more reps.

“We got better today. Today is more what I envisioned our team being."

The butt kicker, correct?

"Offensively, great work down in the red zone," Smith pointed out. "We've got good skill guys and need to protect and give Jay some time so we can move the ball this year.

"On the defensive side, we responded to what was going on today."

One surprise move was the much-maligned Chris Williams escaping the dog house and replacing J'Marcus Webb at starting left offensive tackle. At least for now.

“We had a chance to see certain guys in situations from the (Denver) game and we'll continue to look at different people,” is all Smith would say.

Is that left tackle job open?

“All positions are open,” Smith replied.

Urlacher missed his seventh consecutive practice but watched on the sideline, little good that does the Bears. Afterward, he jumped onto a golf cart, lowered his fisherman's cap as TV cameras converged, and was driven off by team officials without saying a word.

“Brian Urlacher's back after taking care of some personal business,” Smith said. “It's good to get him back on the practice field even though he's not practicing yet. He still has some soreness with the knee and we'll continue to monitor it.

“Exactly when he'll be back, I can't tell you that.”

The face of these Bears might not want to wait much longer, with five linebackers currently “banged up,” according to Smith.

Urlacher's unavailability remains a mystery of sorts. Is he getting further tests? Are there issues at home?

“The knee is sore and he's been gone for personal reasons. That's all we're gonna talk about on the subject,” Smith said.

Peace has been restored for now until the Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III come to Soldier Field Saturday night. Another one-sided loss and those torches might be lit this time.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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