Despite a four-game losing streak, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis remains confident heading into Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears.
Make that extremely confident.
Asked for his thoughts on Chicago's defense, Davis said the 49ers should roll.
"I think we can destroy their front," he said. "The guys up front, I think we can destroy them. I don't see anything spectacular about their front line."
The Bears' defense ranks 15th in the NFL heading into the game at Candlestick. It is 21st against the rush and 12th against the pass.
After a couple of days of watching film, Davis said that defensive end Adewale Ogunleye was about the only player to catch his eye.
"Their linebackers, I think we can handle them pretty well," he said. "I like Ogunleye. I like the way he's playing up front. He's about the only player I like on their defensive line. I think he's doing a good job."
The tepid scouting report might come as a surprise to Lance Briggs, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker. The Bears credited Briggs with 15 tackles, including nine solo, against Arizona last week.
Briggs has been credited with 100 tackles in each of the past four seasons.
"He can't check me," Davis said.
At this point, he smiled widely. Davis was clearly joking about Briggs.
"I totally respect Lance Briggs. He's a good player," Davis said. "He's been around before I came in this league, and I respect his game. But we still have an opportunity. If he's matched up against me one-on-one, I'm going to try my best to beat him."
Davis shares the NFL lead with seven touchdowns this season. He is coming off a 10-catch, 102-yard performance against the Tennessee Titans. He became the first 49ers tight end with a 100-yard game since Eric Johnson in 2004.
Briggs joined the 49ers beat writers on a conference call Tuesday morning before Davis made his predictions.
The Bears linebacker had nothing but praise for the 49ers' leading receiver.
"Eighty-five's having a great year," Briggs said of Davis. "He shows up on film a lot. A lot. He's in position to get the ball thrown to him in tough coverages, and he's still coming up with the ball, getting in the end zone."
Is Briggs going to cover No. 85? He hopes so.
As it turns out, Briggs is confident about the matchup, too.
"It matches up well. It matches up four Pro Bowls well," Briggs said. "I've been in the league going on seven years. So at some point the savvy and the know-how start to take over."
Briggs recalled the 49ers trade talks two years ago that ended in controversy. The 49ers were slapped with tampering charges for contacting the would-be free agent. At one point during the trade-deadline talks, Briggs was gearing up to head west.
"Yeah, I thought it was a done deal," Briggs said. "I thought when the trade was offered, I didn't think I'd be back in a Chicago Bears uniform. The way things worked out, they just worked out I was able to come back."
The way Briggs recalled it, the 49ers were going to get him and the Bears were going to get the 49ers' top draft choice.
"It was a first-round pick, straight up," Briggs recalled. "To me, that's quite an honor to have, to have a team willing to trade you for a first-rounder."
Instead, the NFL ruled that the 49ers violated the league's anti-tampering policy. They were forced to surrender a fifth-round draft pick in 2008 and swap third-round picks with the Bears.
"I didn't see any of that stuff coming," Briggs said. "When I was questioned, there was nothing that I could say to help anyone, because I had no idea about it. Whatever information they said they had, that's what the NFL decided, and, you know, I'll leave it at that."
49ers linebacker Patrick Willis made two midseason All-Pro teams. Peter King of Sports Illustrated called Willis "Ray Lewis' closest heir among young crop of LBs." Willis also was honored by Pro Football Weekly.
The 49ers remain uncertain about the playing status of Isaac Bruce, who has quietly struggled with an ankle injury. Bruce aggravated the ankle against the Titans on Sunday. "We'll see where he is physically, and then we'll make a decision going forward,'' offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said.
Bruce did not appear on the 49ers' injury report. Linebacker Takeo Spikes (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis but is expected to play.
I dont think its a good idea to call out your opp