Bears' Briggs addresses off-the-field questions
For a guy who has made the Pro Bowl seven times, it seems linebacker Lance Briggs has a lot to prove this week.
Briggs and the Bears are preparing for a trip west to meet the San Francisco 49ers in the inaugural regular-season game at Levi's Stadium on Sunday night in Santa Clara, California.
For the Bears to avoid an 0-2 start, the defense and Briggs must prove they can stop the run more effectively than they did last week, when the Buffalo Bills rambled for 193 yards.
Briggs took the blame for a 47-yard run by Anthony Dixon with 1:49 left in the first half that allowed Buffalo to escape bad field position.
"I jumped out of my gap," Briggs said. "I played the quarterback when I should have been in the 'A' gap (between the center and guard)."
Briggs has come under more scrutiny for his off-the-field adventures than for anything he has done on the field.
He missed the Monday practice before the season opener to attend the grand opening of his restaurant in California. Four days later came a report that Briggs was out until 4 a.m. Saturday before the noon Bills game a day later.
"I don't think you know what I do every day," Briggs said in response to a question on whether he needs to take better care of his body at 33. "I don't think you have any idea. I'm here early. Every day that I'm here, I get a lot of treatment on my body.
"Even though this is not necessarily anybody's business, I'm going to tell you. I work out in the middle of the day. After practice, I'm getting treatment, and I do an additional workout after I leave this building to get my body ready.
"People don't know that."
Based on past performance, Briggs deserves the benefit of the doubt, Critics, however, will point out that he hasn't been voted to the Pro Bowl since 2011 and that he missed seven games last season with a fractured shoulder. In the previous 10 seasons, though, he missed just four games.
On paper, Sunday night doesn't appear to be an ideal opportunity for redemption.
In the last three seasons the 49ers played in the NFC title game each year and won 36 games. They were No. 3 in rushing yards last season behind Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,128 yards, his seventh 1,000-yard season. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 524 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per attempt.
But Briggs said he doesn't subscribe to the trendy "sky is falling" theory.
"I'm not like everybody else," he said. "I don't hit the panic button. It's time for us to focus on beating the 49ers."
The Bears had the NFL's worst run defense last season, allowing 161.4 yards per game. After the Bills fiasco, they're off to an even worse start.
"This week is (about) proving people wrong," Briggs said. "A lot of people don't think we can stop the run. But when we turn the tape on, it's a very different outlook than what everybody else sees.
"We lost to a team we really shouldn't have, (but) defensively, we were a couple plays away from playing the type of defense we really want to play."
That style of defense, with Briggs leading the way, would silence the critics -- at least for a week.