Plans for Burris to play get lost as Chandler finds success

Tribune staff reporter

Q What happened to the plan to play Henry Burris more during the final games of this lost season?

A Burris got in for one play Sunday — a third-and-1 rollout from a T-formation. Offensive coordinator John Shoop said Chris Chandler was playing so well that the seasoning of Burris will have to wait at least another week.

"I really thought Henry would get in for some plays in the first half," Shoop said.

"Maybe one play, maybe a series of plays. But Chris was pretty hot."

"They could put me out there just to down the ball," Burris said. "You go in ready for whatever. Chris was in a zone and it's all about getting wins.

"On that one hard hit he took, I said, 'Whoa, Chris, get up!' I hate to see anybody get hurt. I was ready to go in and do my job if I had to. I was staying loose, but it's hard to stay loose through 21/2 quarters or whatever."

Shoop called the T-formation the "Robust" package for Burris to run for the first down.

Shoop added that he was mindful that George Halas and the Bears invented the T-formation and that "Robust" was the name of the play and formation made famous when the legendary Woody Hayes coached at Ohio State.

Q Is there any chance the Bears will draft a quarterback for the 2003 season?

A General manager Jerry Angelo acknowledges the Bears will have an opportunity to improve that position because of the plethora of highly touted quarterbacks expected to be in the spring draft.

Veterans Chandler and Jim Miller say they want to return next season.

"This year obviously has been disappointing and frustrating," Chandler said.

"That makes me and everyone else in here more excited to get this thing turned around. I know there are a lot of things I could help a [rookie draft pick] with. If that should happen ... it's never been a problem."

Q Are we going to see more of Adrian Peterson this season?

A The Bears have lacked a runner who can make defenders miss.

Peterson ran for 39 yards on just seven carries Sunday and also scored his first NFL touchdown from 5 yards out in the second quarter.

"Football is not like basketball, where you can just get minutes for a guy," Shoop said.

"He's done a nice job, though, certainly, with the opportunities he has had."

Q Why did the Jets, a team desperately needing a victory to have a shot at the playoffs, look so uninspired Sunday?

A Go figure.

The Jets showed life early in the second half when Chad Pennington led them on a seven-play, 69-yard drive to make the score 10-7.

But the Bears seemed to zap the energy out of the Jets by answering with a six-play, 63-yard TD drive, culminated by Leon Johnson's 2-yard run.

Q Paul Edinger has kicked so well at Memorial Stadium. Will he miss Champaign next season when the Bears return to Soldier Field?

A Edinger kicked field goals of 53 and 48 yards Sunday and tied a Bears record when he booted his fifth field goal of 50 or more yards this season.

He has made 5-of-8 kicks of 50 yards or more, tying the 5-of-8 Kevin Butler kicked in 1993.

"This is a college field and nobody wants to play here," said Edinger, who has made 22-of-27 kicks this year.

"We played in college and nobody wants to play in college anymore."

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