Kreutz experience not expected to play role

The Bears don't expect the Saints to have an advantage because of Olin Kreutz's knowledge. Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints continue to downplay the significance of center Olin Kreutz playing 13 years in Chicago.

Some of the Bears defensive linemen said that because of Kreutz's experience in practicing against the unit for so many years, the club plans to change some of its calls for Sunday's game at the Louisiana Superdome.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees admitted Kreutz knows Chicago's personnel well.

"You can talk to him about tendencies, personnel, and that kind of thing," Brees said. "In the end, you've still got to go out and play. There's little things here and there [that Kreutz knows]. He was there for a long time."

Bears coach Lovie Smith said the defense constantly changes or tweaks calls from week to week, adding that even if Kreutz is aware of what's coming, it's a totally different thing to stop it.

"In the end, you don't know what's coming until the ball is snapped," Smith said. "Then, it's about one-on-one matchups. Olin, of course, is a great player. But I don't think him knowing what we've done in the past will help that much."

Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, meanwhile, said that Kreutz's intelligence alone makes him a formidable foe. Asked whether the team would be cognizant of Kreutz's intimate knowledge of the Bears scheme, Marinelli said, "Oh yeah, you're kind of on it now."

A former third-round pick of the Bears in 1998, Kreutz signed with the Saints on Aug. 6, and ranks third among NFL centers with 135 consecutive starts (134 of those starts with the Bears), dating back to 2002.

"Yeah, he's smart," Marinelli said. "We know that. We've got our own checklist [that] we've got to make sure we're on top of when you're going against a guy like that; even if he wasn't here [for 13 years]. That'll be a challenge for us."