Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs says he won't be satisfied even if the defense recaptures the form that led the Bears to Super Bowl XLI before suffering huge drop-offs the past two seasons.
"I don't want to revert back to that (Super Bowl) form; I want to revert to a better form," Briggs said. "I think that's what we all want. We're all aiming toward something better; better than where we were.
"You hear coaches out here yelling at everybody on every play. That's what we need. We've got to be yelled at. We have to put our grind in if we want to be successful."
Lovie Smith believes he has improved his staff by adding defensive line coach/assistant head coach Rod Marinelli and defensive backs coach Jon Hoke, so Briggs says it's only natural now to put pressure on the players to create a better product this season.
"That's why they pay us the big bucks," Briggs said. "We might have had some down years, but they pay us big bucks because they believe in us, and we've got to show up this year."
Here and there: Cornerback Charles Tillman returned to practice Wednesday. He was glad to be back after rehabbing following postseason shoulder surgery.
"My shoulder feels fine," he said. "It's nice to be able to be out here. It's full strength now. The doctor said after the surgery I should live until I'm 102. So I'm good."
More notable than Tillman's presence Wednesday was the absence of numerous key players, especially on defense.
Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher had an excused absence, defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) only did minimal individual work, and linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (sports hernia) was limited to running off to the side.
Veteran safeties Glenn Earl and Josh Bullocks, nickel back Danieal Manning and linebackers Nick Roach and Joey LaRocque attended practice but did not participate because of unspecified minor ailments. Running back Matt Forte (hamstring) also did not practice.
All players are expected to be healthy before training camp starts July 31.
Rookies Al Afalava (Oregon State) and Eric Peterman (Northwestern) are not allowed to attend OTAs while they are still in school, but both should be back next week for the final three practices.
Finishing early: The Bears are having the best off-season in the NFL - in at least one category.
Wednesday afternoon, they became the first team in the league to sign all their draft picks, inking their top two selections, third-rounders Jarron Gilbert and Juaquin Iglesias, to four-year deals, completing their draft class of nine.
It helped that the Bears didn't have a first- or second-round pick, but it's impressive that nearly a third of the league's 30 signed draft picks (out of 256) are Bears. They were also the first team to sign all their draft picks in 2006.
Gilbert is expected to back up three-time Pro Bowler Tommie Harris as a three-technique defensive tackle. The 68th overall pick is San Jose State's all-time leader in sacks (22.5), and he set a school record with 42 tackles for losses.
Iglesias, the 99th overall pick, provided some highlights during Wednesday's practice with a couple crowd-pleasing fingertip grabs in traffic.
The 6-foot, 210-pound wide receiver caught 202 passes for 2,861 yards (14.2-yard average) and 19 touchdowns, finishing second in Oklahoma history in receptions and receiving yards.