The Bears don't actually do anything close to full-speed tackling in practice, but they're doing all they can to avoid a repeat of the epidemic of missed tackles that plagued them Sunday against the Lions.
"Obviously we're not hitting our guys and knocking them to the ground," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "But you can put yourself in a hitting position and simulate a tackle and have the intent to tackle, proper pad level, angle and leverage and fit to simulate the tackle."
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Tucker hopes to use last week's poor tackling as a teaching point this week, knowing his group can't afford many missed tackles against an explosive Saints offense that is No. 4 in total yards.
"We did some extra tackling drills in individual (work) because you get what you emphasize," Tucker said. "Whether it's third down a couple weeks ago or tackling now, it's going to be a constant, week-in and week-out. Regardless of how you're playing, you're going to be trying to plug the dam in some way. That's just the nature of the thing."
Facing familiar foes:
Offensive left tackle Jermon Bushrod spent the previous six seasons with the Saints, who drafted him in the fourth round and then helped him develop into a two-time Pro Bowl player.
"A lot of them are my close friends," the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Bushrod said. "I've got some good friends on that team. They gave me an opportunity coming out, so I have a lot of love for them. But I'm a Bear now and I'm trying to get it done here."
Bushrod knows first-hand how potent the Saints offense is, and he said it will take a team effort to slow them down, including a contribution from the Bears' offense.
"With the type of weapons that they have, you've got to try to throw them off a little bit, and that's going to come from us too on offense," he said. "We have to fight to keep them off the field as much as possible. We have to play an all-around balanced game. We have to play together in all three phases, the offense, defense and special teams."
Very few teams have been able to prevent the Saints' 6-foot-7, 265-pound Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham from catching the football. But Bears 5-foot-8 Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings says he can handle Graham after the catch.
"That's easy," Jennings said. "The big guy's the easy part. It's the small shifty guys that are the problem. Trust me, once he catches it, he's not very shifty. The best thing he can do is probably jump over you."
Going low is the way to go, according to Jennings.
"He can't run without the legs," said last year's NFL leader in interceptions. "The shifty guys are the ones where you have a problem getting those legs. It'll be a good test for us, at home. So we'll see."
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (foot), defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe), cornerback Charles Tillman (groin/knee) and safety Anthony Walters (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Defensive end Julius Peppers (chest), tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder) and cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad) were limited.