Bears Quick Shots: Harris says he can change the game - when healthy

Matt Trowbridge

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris criticized himself, patted himself on the back and made excuses for himself in a rambling interview.

“I started off very slow and I’m finishing hard,” he said. “It had to do with the team’s failures early on. If I would have played the way I’m playing the last three weeks, it could have benefited our record. I’m feeling better each week, but it’s one of those things where it’s too late.”

But the team didn’t fail early on. The Bears started 3-1. And they’ve gone 0-3 the last three weeks, when Harris has had nine of his 22 tackles and all of his 1.5 sacks.

“I blame myself,” said Harris said, who signed a four-year, $40-million extension two years ago. “When you get paid more, you are supposed to perform more. Due to different situations and injuries, I haven’t but I continue to keep striving. I will take the shots on that, but I feel when I’m healthy, I can change this whole game.”

Urlacher’s way didn’t work

Brian Urlacher should stick to playing linebacker. His analysis of the Bears’ identity shows he wouldn’t make much of a coach. Urlacher told Yahoo! Sports that: “We used to establish the run and wear teams down and try not to make mistakes, and we’d rely on our defense to keep us in the game and make big plays to put us in position to win. ... That formula worked for us.”

Yes, that is how the Bears played. But it hasn’t worked. The Bears drafted Urlacher 10 years ago, and in only one of those 10 seasons did they win a single playoff game.

And despite always wanting to run the ball, this isn’t the only year the Bears have been last in the NFL in rushing during Urlacher’s tenure. The Bears were also dead last in 2002 and 30th in 2007. They’ve been in the top 14 only once in these 10 years. As Vikings coach Brad Childress noted last week, in explaining why Brett Favre threw 37 passes in the first half when Minnesota has 2008 rushing champ Adrian Peterson in the backfield, running comes a lot easier after proving you can pass.

Pace a model lineman

Asked who he modeled himself on, offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer mentioned Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones and teammate Orlando Pace. “Those three guys have been around forever,” Shaffer said. “Those are guys I like to emulate. They’ve got size and everything. It’s fun watching those guys.”

So, should we tell Pace you grew up watching him?

“No,” said Shaffer, expected to start at right tackle Sunday. “Let’s cut that out. We don’t need that.”

Still, he couldn’t resist a jab at the 34-year-old Pace. “I was in second grade maybe when he came out,” Shaffer, an eight-year veteran, said.

June ready to help at LB

Cato June, who started at linebacker when the Colts beat the Bears in the Super Bowl three years ago, was playing with his 18-month-old son when the Bears called to sign him after Lance Briggs’ knee injury.

“He was a little (ticked) off,” June said. “When I went to the airport, he understood that Daddy was leaving and started crying. It was funny. He’ll get over it.”

June broke his forearm in training camp and was released by the Texans. He said he’s been healed for five or six weeks and is ready to play as soon as needed.

“There’s nothing you can do to simulate putting your shoulder pads on and playing; you can’t do that in the backyard,” June said. “But I was working out, running, lifting, all the functional things you always do in the offseason.”

Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on the Bears appear Fridays. He can be reached at (815) 987-1383 ormtrowbridge@rrstar.com.