Bears notes: Kreutz says stars not aligned for Bears

Matt Trowbridge

Do the Bears’ struggles start with Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Olin Kreutz? They do according to Kreutz. Chicago’s six-time Pro Bowl center said the Bears (4-5) won’t start to win again unless their best players take the lead.

“We have to perform well,” Kreutz said. “If your stars aren’t making plays, it will affect your whole team. We all have to make plays. If we do, we’ll start winning games.”

Coach Lovie Smith agreed that Chicago’s stars must take the lead, but said everyone must then follow.

“That’s why you are a star. That’s why you talk to those people first,” Smith said. “Stars need to do that, but everyone’s job is important. Role players can win games for you. It’s not just the stars that can do it. We all need to do our job better.

“That’s what it will take for us to get out of this hole that we’re in now.”

Kreutz misses practice

The Bears held center Olin Kreutz (neck), safety Kevin Payne (back) and backup tight end Desmond Clark (neck) out of practice Wednesday, while safety Al Afalava (shoulder) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) were limited.

“We’re still in pretty good shape physically,” Smith said.

Kreutz has started 111 consecutive games.

“It’s going to take a lot for him to miss,” Smith said. “If I were a betting man, I’d say he’d be out there.”

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher, is out after sustaining his second concussion in less than a month. Coach Andy Reid said he was in Pittsburgh having tests done Wednesday.

Vasher set at safety

Former starting cornerback Nathan Vasher, recently switched to backup free safety, now sees himself as a safety with no plans to return to corner. “That’s just what it is right now,” he said. “That’s all I can go by.”

Matt Trowbridge can be reached at (815) 987-1383 ormtrowbridge@rrstar.com.