Scare Bears? Brett the Threat Is Least of Their Concerns

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIAugust 20, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10:  Linebacker Lance Briggs #55 and defensive end Alex Brown #96 of the Chicago Bears gang tackle Brett Favre #4 of the Green Bay Packers during their game on September 10, 2006 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

          BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – News that Brett Favre had signed with the Minnesota Vikings was greeted with indifference in Bears camp early Tuesday afternoon. 


           Scare Bears? It didn't matter if Joe Kapp, Tommy Kramer or Sean Salibury had come out of retirement, to hear the NFC North rivals tell it.


 “I’m not scared. Are you scared?” linebacker Lance Briggs asked reporters. “We played against him before. Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit -- every team poses its own threat. We’ll walk into that game like any other game, except that they’re a division opponent."


           The consensus among players and coaches was that the Vikings would be a better team because of the move, but they were too preoccupied to pay much attention to their division rivals right now.


 “Surprised? I haven’t spent a whole lot of thought on it, but nothing surprises me in our game,” said head coach Lovie Smith after a practice session later in the day. “He has been a great player. I assume he still is. The Vikings want him to be their quarterback. I assume they feel good about it. He’s another opponent. That’s how we look at it.”


 “I couldn’t answer that,” said defensive line Coach Rod Marinelli when asked whether the Vikings had improved their playoff chances. “They know. Obviously, they believe it does, sure. I’m more concerned about us. That’s all I worry about.  We’re in a situation that we just concern ourselves with how to get better.”


 “I mean, are we sure about that?” defensive end Adewale Ogunleye expressed doubt that Favre had agreed to a two-year, $25-million deal after so many false starts.


Assured that Favre was a Viking at last, Ogunleye said, “You know what? The (New York) Jets experiment didn’t work well (for Favre last season), so I won’t jump on anybody’s bandwagon right now.


“Brett is a good quarterback. He was a good quarterback for Green Bay, and we beat him when he was with Green Bay. So I won’t say, ‘Oh, my god, the Vikings are the team we got to watch. We had to watch them before they got Brett.”


If the Bears weren’t concerned about the prospect of Favre in a purple uniform, then it could be for this reason: They beat him in five of the last six matchups, in which he completed only 57 percent of his passes and two touchdowns. In that span, he threw 13 interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.


As Favre supporters would remind you, Ron Rivera was the Bears defensive coordinator in the first four of those games. When his contract was not renewed after the 2006 season, Rivera departed to San Diego, where he serves as the Chargers defensive coordinator.


“I hope he makes them better," Briggs said. "Why? Because we want the best possible team to play us whether it’s here or in Minnesota. It doesn’t really matter who lines up, because we’ll bring our A game. That’s just the way it’s going to be.”


“I’ll give you one quote: ‘I’m excited,’” cornerback Charles Tillman said.


When pressed further, Tillman heaped mock praise on the 39-year-old veteran. “Yeah, did you see him throw to them (high school) kids? He still got it!” Tillman said before he turned serious. “I’m sure he’ll get enough practice with (former Bears) Bobby Wade and Bernard Berrian, so I think he’ll have something left in him.”


Perhaps tight end Desmond Clark was the least surprised of all. “Not to be self-serving, but go read my blog,” Clark bragged. “This morning before we even heard the news, I posted something that people said Brett Favre was headed to Minnesota."


“There’s not a whole of talk about it around here. You might hear a guy mention something about it because it’s on TV, but as far as conversation in the locker room, there is no conversation about Brett Favre.”


As for defensive tackle Tommie Harris, he was tired of the incessant talk about quarterbacks – period.


“The first question was about (Jay) Cutler, now this one is about Favre,” Harris said with a disgusted look on his face before he walked away.