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Columnist
Attitude could be Bears' biggest opponent
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 9/6/2010 8:40 PM

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As the NFL regular season approaches, the same can be asked about the Bears that can be asked about other teams.

They have the personnel to make the playoffs, but do they have the personality?

We're talking about the attitude, the defiance, the resolve to be better than their 0-4 preseason record.

"We'll make adjustments this week and be all right," running back Chester Taylor said Monday at Halas Hall while looking toward playing the Lions on Sunday in Soldier Field.

The adjustment the Bears need most is to be more irritable and more impatient.

The Bears are one of those middling teams that exited the preseason where they entered: with the potential to finish as high as 10-6 or as low as 6-10.

I maintain the urge to go for the upside except for the nagging memory from the Bears' first preseason game.

San Diego's defense came out blitzing, unusual for an early exhibition. Schemes customarily are basic enough to bore fans and players alike.

However, the Chargers' defensive coordinator is Ron Rivera, whom Bears head coach Lovie Smith declined to retain for the same position three years ago.

Rivera and other former Bears coaches on San Diego's staff sure looked like they were executing a grudge as much as a game plan.

So how did Bears coaches respond to the figurative head slap? By essentially surrendering.

Offensively the Bears pulled quarterback Jay Cutler early to protect him from suffering an injury. Defensively they stuck to the bland schemes they began the game with.

How about demonstrating a measure of anger at the Chargers' audacity? How about slapping back with a few blitzes that San Diego's offense likely wasn't prepared for? How about indicating there's some spunk left in that old Monsters of the Midway carcass?

Instead, Bears coaches thanked the Chargers for providing challenges that they'll face during the regular season.

Excuse me but, "Huh?"

It's hard to imagine even in an exhibition game the faces, hearts and souls of the Bears' franchise - guys with nicknames like Super Crunch, Iron Mike, Danimal, Samurai and Mongo - responding to the insult by retreating.

No current Bears player or coach seemed to mind that the Chargers sent them whimpering back to Chicago.

The Bears looked and still look like what they have been accused of being: built in the image of their slow-talking, low-keyed head coach.

OK, so I'm often accused of living in the Bears' past, when they took any insult as a swipe at their manhood. I'm told these NFL days aren't like the nastier old days. I'm reminded that roughhouse gangs like the legendary Bears and Raiders teams couldn't behave that recklessly anymore.

If that's true, the name of the game might as well be changed legally from football to soccer.

Anyway, if the Bears are going to respond the way they did at San Diego, they might as well not play the season. A 10-6 possibility will evolve into 6-10 and a playoff berth will become an impossible dream.

Defensive tackle Anthony Adams said of the Lions game, "We'll come out with a sense of urgency and have some fun."

Maybe the Bears will, but only if they undergo a personality makeover by then.