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Bears up for challenge

Confident they can contain Brees and Saints' explosive offense if they just execute

Fred Mitchell

7:52 PM CDT, October 4, 2013

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The Bears are prepared to get the run-around from the Saints on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Should they blitz Drew Brees constantly, knowing full well he gets rid of the ball quickly and has multiple receiving weapons?

Should they back off and play it conservatively, and let the Saints march up and down the field methodically?

The undefeated Saints will keep the Bears defense guessing while heading into the key NFC matchup that could shape the Bears season.

Brees, tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles are among those on the most wanted list for the Bears defense to contain Sunday.

"The biggest thing we have to do is rally to the football because with any team people are going to miss tackles," Bears defensive end Corey Wootton said. "The biggest thing is getting the population tackles because if one guy misses, the next guy will be there."

The best-laid plans to attack an explosive offense means little if the players do not execute properly. Last Sunday's 40-32 loss to the Lions was exhibit A.

"It's an easy fix. I just think we have to get back to the fundamentals, the basics … and make tackles," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said.

Like ants around a picnic table, the Saints offensive weapons have been relentless.

"It's not just Graham. It's (Marques) Colston. It's Sproles. It just goes on," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "And then you have the quarterback who knows where everybody is at all times. It's a heck of a challenge. We're going to get their best shot at a time of the season where they're playing at a higher level than most teams in all three phases."

In Monday night's 38-17 victory over the Dolphins, the Saints amassed a season-high 465 net yards.

Brees passed for 413 yards with four touchdowns and a 144.5 passer rating. Sproles had 222 all-purpose yards, including 114 on seven catches. He ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another.

Bears defenders must take a measured approach, proceeding with the proper mix of caution and aggression.

"I don't think I rattle (Brees) at all. I just have to be able to make the plays I'm supposed to make, if he decides to come my way," Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings said. "And be there … and hopefully he decides to go to other places, man. You have to limit his throws down the field, make him drive the field. And hopefully we have an opportunity for a lot of takeaways."

The Bears' penchant for creating turnovers is key to forcing Brees to dial down his creative instincts.

"For us, it's just taking care of our responsibility on every play," safety Chris Conte said. "Make sure we play with great depth and discipline and we don't let them fool us with the pump-fakes and looking us off. We just have to protect ourselves and give ourselves a chance to create turnovers."

fmitchell@tribune.com

Twitter @kicker34