Last year, Phillip Daniels was sidelined early in the season with a groin injury, so he missed the Week 5 game at Chicago, his former team from 2000-03.
One year later, Daniels is one of three ex-Bears on the Redskins' roster looking forward to opening the season against Chicago at FedExField. The other two, linebacker Warrick Holdman (1999-2003)and cornerback Walt Harris (1996-2001), are expected to join Daniels in the starting lineup on defense.
And then there are a pair of Redskins coaches--defensive coordinator-defensive line coach Greg Blache and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey--who coached in Chicago and helped mold the Bears' defense into one of the league's best during their tenures. Blache coached in Chicago from 1999-2003 and Lindsey coached in Chicago from 1999-2001.
In 2001, the Bears' defense yielded just 203 points, tops in the league, and his run defense was second in the NFL and best in the NFC.
It's no coincidence that the Redskins' defense from last season was also among the league's best, Daniels said.
"I know this defense in and out," he said. "I've been in it for six years with Greg. It's pretty similar to his defense in Chicago, with a few changes here or there."
With Harris playing a more extensive role this year and Holdman on board, Daniels is excited to work with his two former teammates again.
"If we're as good as that Bears defense was back then, it'll be exciting," he said. "That was a great defense, but it still wasn't as good as this defense we have here now. This defense can cover a lot of ground and really get after people."
Holdman, a fourth-round draft pick by the Bears in 1999, echoed those sentiments.
"I know what Dale and Greg offer and what they expect," Holdman said. "Dale coached me for five years and when I was a rookie, he instilled in me the work ethic of how I play and how I look at the game. It's a real advantage."
Harris was drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 1996 draft.
The veteran cornerback said he still feels a connection with Chicago and is looking forward to Sunday's game.
"You always want to play well against your former team," Harris said. "That's the team that drafted me. But I don't feel a need to prove anything. I just need to focus on the job at hand and playing well, or all of that won't matter."