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updated: 1/21/2011 6:42 AM

Cover 2 defense defended by Smith

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Coach Lovie Smith's Cover-2 scheme has been criticized in the past when things didn't go well, but there haven't been many complaints this season.

Either way, Smith says he isn't really bothered by it.

"I look at criticism a little bit by who is giving it," he said. "For people to criticize Cover 2, which has been around since George Halas and Vince Lombardi, and long before that, (and it's) a defense everyone uses.

"We're labeled as a team that plays Cover 2 every snap. If people watch us a little closer, they'll see that there is a time and a place for you to double cover receivers, and Cover 2 gives you the best opportunity to do that."

"We do believe in it, like we believe in some other things. We believe in what we do defensively, and it's good to see the guys have the type of success they've had this year. It will be around long after we're gone."

The Bears were No. 20 in passing yards allowed but No. 8 in average gain per pass allowed. They also were No. 8 in interceptions and No. 6 in third-down conversions allowed.

Not as much glare:

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher welcomed the arrival of defensive end Julius Peppers last off-season and quarterback Jay Cutler the year before, and not just because of their Pro Bowl abilities.

They took away some of the spotlight Urlacher feels shines on him too much of the time.

"I've always loved playing here," Urlacher said. "It's always been fun. But it's nice when you have other guys that fill that role and not everything is pointed at you.

"We had (Devin) Hester come in, and now Jay is the face of our franchise, I'll say it, and 'Pep,' too. They got it. It's nice to have guys like that that you can kind of lean on."

Field of nightmares:

The "grass" at Soldier Field continues to be a hot topic.

"I think our field is a little bit harder in December and January. Some people say that it's a …, er, sorry field," cornerback Charles Tillman said, laughing. "Uh, a (shoddy) field, a sorry field, say what they want.

"But at the end of the day, we've got to play, so that's what we do. We accept it and we just play."

Injury update:

Just as on Wednesday, safety Chris Harris (hip pointer) didn't participate in Thursday's outdoor practice, and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) also was held out as a precautionary measure after he practiced Wednesday.

Coach Lovie Smith expects both to play and said Harris could play even if he isn't able to practice Friday.

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