Lovie Smith is thinking about the Browns, wishing he could dwell on the Chargers instead.

Lovie Smith is thinking about the Browns, wishing he could dwell on the Chargers instead.

The Chicago Bears head coach has Cleveland on his mind tonight for the team’s final preseason game. At the game’s conclusion, no one at Soldier Field should be happier than Smith.

"I’m anxious about getting one step closer to playing San Diego," he said, as Chicago will open the regular season in San Diego Sept. 9. "The quicker we play this game, the quicker we can just concentrate on San Diego."

The Bears won’t invest much time into preparation for the Browns for two reasons — it’s still only a preseason game, and there are only five days for preparation.

Defensive end Alex Brown sees a big positive in the short turnaround period.

"Coach won’t beat us up this week," he said with a smile. "We’ll prepare and be ready to play (tonight).

"I don’t think it makes much of a difference. We played a little over half the last game. It’s not like we’ll be playing a whole game. We’ll be fine. We’ve had days of rest."

Fellow end Adewale Ogunleye thinks the same way.

"It’s not tough at all," he said. "It’s better because it cuts down on practice time."

Defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, still listed as a starter, knows he might only play a quarter at the most. Even though he missed last season, he doesn’t care about missing out on so many potentials reps he still might need tonight.

"I think the coaches have a pretty good grasp on how many reps we need," he said. "I’m going to play as long as they want me to. If it’s a lot, I’ll play a lot. If not, I won’t." Dvoracek doesn’t mind the short work week.

"It’s quick. It’s right on you," he said. "We just played Saturday (beating San Francisco 31-28). We have a short week — we just have to get ready to roll."

If Smith follows his usual routine, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, corner Charles Tillman (knee) and wideout Rashied Davis (calf) might not play tonight. Harris keeps practicing, but missing preseason games, as he recovers from offseason hamstring surgery.

"We’re expecting him to be there (for the opener)," Brown said. "I don’t think it’s crossed any of our minds that he won’t be. We know the situation. We’re taking it day by day. We expect him to be there and 100 percent."

The Bears (3-0) could be unbeaten in the preseason for the first time since 1994 and only the fourth time since 1943. Their scoring average of 26 points is on pace to be their highest since averaging 33 in 1959 when they went 5-1.

The Browns (2-1) hold a 15-7 advantage in the preseason series, but Chicago won last year 20-7. Quarterback Rex Grossman was 5-of-8 for 73 yards, one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 131.8.


Reed Schreck is the NFL Writer for the Rockford Register Star. Reach him at 815-987-1381 or rschreck@rrstar.com.