|Brian Urlacher and the Bears' run defense will face another top back Sunday when they try to contain the 49ers' Frank Gore. (US Presswire)|
To say there doesn't seem to be the same respect among some Chicago Bears defenders for San Francisco 49ers QBs Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as there is for RB Frank Gore would be a significant understatement.
Asked at a press conference Thursday about Smith, DT Henry Melton said, "He's just kind of there to just not … don't mess up the game."
Then mindful he hadn't exactly been complimentary at an open press conference, Melton said, laughing, "don't quote me on that."
Added Melton about Smith: "If it's not open he's just running. He doesn't want to get that turnover, just like every quarterback should if you had a great defense. You should try to not have any turnovers. That's what I see them back there doing. That was good.”
Smith has thrown for only 83 fewer yards (1,731) than Bears QB Jay Cutler. The 49ers' passing game is ranked 28th, two spots ahead of the Bears. The Bears aren't certain they'll face Smith due to a concussion, but indications are he'll play.
"He wins games," LB Brian Urlacher said. "His numbers are good. You can call him what you want to, he wins games.
"When you have a great defense, it's hard to tell your quarterback to go out there and make a bunch of big plays because you don't have to when your defense is good like that. He does what he has to to win."
Added Urlacher: "He's come a long way, I know that much, from his first few years."
The respect among defenders for Gore and the 49ers' running game borders on downright fear. Perhaps only when speaking about Adrian Peterson are Bears defenders more impressed with a back. Gore twice has had 100-yard games against the Bears, including 104 on 25 carries in the 10-6, 49ers win in 2009 when Jay Cutler threw five INTs.
"He's one of the better running backs in the NFL, if you ask me," Urlacher said. "He is very underrated. He doesn't get a lot of pub but he does a lot of the dirty work for them."
It's the second straight run-oriented team to face a Bears defense that allowed five rushing plays of 10 yards or more last week after allowing just 23 total the first eight games.
"They're a different style than Houston, but similar as far as the amount of plays that they run the ball," DE Corey Wootton said. "They're more of a downhill power scheme. They like to run the ball a lot. They lead the league in rushing average per game. We've got to come and really stop the run and get physical with them."
If Smith plays, it doesn't mean Kaepernick will only watch.
"He's fast," Urlacher said. "They do some wildcat stuff and the read option stuff that Carolina did with Cam (Newton). Just a different changeup. They did that stuff with Alex Smith as well because they are both fast guys."
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.