Burris has uphill battle

Burris has uphill battle


Times Sports Writer


BOURBONNAIS - Henry Burris still believes, but some wonder if Bears management feels the same way.

Burris, the team's third-string quarterback, said he didn't toss and turn in his sleep Saturday night after his performance in a 27-3 loss to the Denver Broncos in the Bears' preseason opener.

Burris, who took the majority of the snaps in the game, was 6-of-19 passing for 49 yards with two interceptions, two fumbles and a 1.3 quarterback rating.

On Monday, Burris stayed after the team's morning practice session to put some extra time in. He says he's still confident in his abilities, but maybe Bears general manager Jerry Angelo wasn't jumping the gun when he tried trading for rookie QB Patrick Ramsey from the Redskins last week.

"I'm going to go out and play," Burris said. "Guys can say 'boo' or say 'Burris is all weak, and this and that' - I read that stuff, fellas - but you're going to be eating your words real soon. That's all I've got to say."

Burris, who backed up Brett Favre in Green Bay last season, used to play in the Canadian Football League. He's still got time to prove to the coaching staff that he has what it takes to play in the NFL. But he could be in trouble of making the team if he doesn't make drastic improvements in the upcoming preseason games.

The Bears play the St. Louis Rams on the road Friday.

"Henry's very energetic and he's got a great attitude," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "It was a huge disappointment for him to perform as he did and as we did, but he'll work his way through it.

"We said going in, he had very little playing experience in the National Football League, for sure."

* GANG TACKLE: The key battle continues for the left tackle position where starter Bernard Robertson and rookie Marc Colombo are still fighting for the job.

Robertson took part in 16 plays against Denver, but was whistled for two false starts. He said it was being too anxious in his first game situation.

"You just take it in stride. It really can't bother you," Robertson said of the media criticism. "If it did, you'd be sitting somewhere with a gun to your head, ready to commit suicide.

"There's always going to be critics, whether you do good or do bad. Somebody's always got something to say, I'm not worried about it."

Colombo, the team's first-round pick, got burned by Kavika Pittman on one play, which led to a fumble by Burris and later a field goal by Denver's Jason Elam.

"I know I've got a lot to work on," Colombo said. "I know it's not going to happen overnight."

* INJURY UPDATE: Starting defensive tackle Ted Washington (ankle) didn't play Saturday and missed practice again Monday. Jauron said the team is still expecting his return in the team's third preseason game Aug. 23 against Jacksonville.

"We just want to make sure he's ready for the beginning of the season. That's critical for us," Jauron said.

Safety and special teams standout Larry Whigham (illness), rookie safety Bobby Gray (sprained right ankle) and backup guard Mike Gandy (knee) sat out Monday's practices. Gray hurt his ankle on the last kickoff of the game Saturday, while Gandy hurt his knee in practice Monday and was taken off the field.

Backup center Kevin Dogins and rookie cornerback Roosevelt Williams (ankle) returned to practice.

Brian Waddle can be reached at bwaddle@howpubs.com or (219) 933-4191.


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