The Weekend Bears Den: October 27, 2012 - Week 8 News and Notes

Scott Cunningham

The Weekend Bears Den: October 27, 2012 - Week 8 News and Notes

Bears look to limit Panthers star receiver Smith and Hester vows to play with more aggressiveness - Larry Mayer with team news and notes ahead of Sunday's game against the visiting Panthers.

Tice keeps the mood light, getting laughs as well as results - Fred Mitchell: In contrast to his predecessor, Tice comes across as engaging and more willing to listen to the suggestions from players and QBs coach Jeremy Bates.

Bears better at defending deep this year - Jeff Dickerson: Over the course of the 2011 regular season, the Bears gave up 20 pass plays of 30-plus yards. It's been a different story so far this season, with only 2.

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Previewing Bears-Panthers

Chicago must Bear Down, not letdown, against Carolina - Chris Boden: The Panthers are 1-5, but looks can be deceiving as Ron Rivera's group has been competitive in all but one of the five games they've lost.

[Video] CTL discussion - Could the visit of the 1-5 Panthers be a trap game for the Bears?

Know thy enemy - Andrew Bickers: The Panthers aim to get their run game back on track against the Bears this Sunday and know it will be vital to helping keep their defense -- led by rookie Luke Kuechly -- fresh.

Cam Newton is struggling, but Bears’ ‘D’ still has nightmares from 2011 - Adam L. Jahns: Marinelli said he has gone to the 2011 tape a lot this week. “The guy is a weapon and right now, we’re very concerned with [Newton].”

Cutler and Cam: What’s wrong with these pictures? - Moon Mullin: Cam Newton and Jay Cutler have seen their numbers dip a bit from the 2011 season, but how will the two gunslingers perform Sunday in a faceoff between the Bears and Panthers?

ProFootballFocus: 3 things to focus on - Bears OTs vs. Panthers edge rushers, Panthers WRs vs. Bears CBs, and Carolina's running game.

[Video] Kip Lewis & Moon Mullin - Previewing what to watch for from Carolina.

Know thy enemy - Matchups and what to look out for. Are the Bears good enough to kick a struggling team when it’s down?

Hester looking to get back on the edge - Moon Mullin: Devin Hester has made questionable decisions over his career as a returner, but the potential Hall of Famer did something crazy on Monday -- he fair-caught two punts. Hester is looking to change that for Sunday.

Hester agrees he has made return mistakes - Jeff Dickerson: Three-time Pro Bowler vowed to get more aggressive when returning kicks moving forward.

The more Devin Hester plays offense, the less effective he is as returner - Mark Potash: Lovie Smith doesn’t buy that. Dave Toub doesn’t buy that. And Hester doesn’t buy that. But their resistance flies in the face of numbers that indicate Hester is a more productive kick returner when he’s less focused on offense.

Panthers' Ron Rivera vows to keep fighting - Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera told Waddle & Silvy on Friday that he plans to keep fighting amid speculation his job may be in trouble if the Panthers don't recover from a 1-5 start.

Injury report - Vaughn McClure: Cutler is set to play, Alshon Jeffrey the only Bear unavailable for Sunday.

Expert Picks - The ESPN Chicago crew unanimously see the Bears moving to 6-1.

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Updates

Bears seeking fifth straight win - Larry Mayer: Chicago (5-1) enters the contest with a one-game lead over the Vikings (5-3), who lost to the Buccaneers Thursday night in Minnesota. The Packers (4-3) host the Jaguars Sunday.

Bears needing next step from Cutler - Moon Mullin: Since the start of the season, the Bears have seen drastic improvement everywhere on offense...but at QB. However, they're still 5-1 and that may be an indicator Jay Cutler is adapting and growing.

Moon Mullin's scouting report: Defense - The Bears defense has been unbeatable most of this season. Cam Newton and the Panthers offense have struggled mightily. That bodes well for Lovie's D.

[Video] Matt Bowen's playbook - Breaking down Cam Newton vs. the Bears D.

Bears scouting report - Panthers TE and former Bear Greg Olsen is playing better than ever.

Moon Mullin's scouting report: Offense - The Bears have fared well on offense this season and have turned the ball over just three times the last four games. But there is still something missing.

Coach's Big Decision - Michael C. Wright: Should Devin Hester or Earl Bennett get more snaps?

Bears TEs have some catching up to do - Vaughn McClure: Cutler obviously still has a great appreciation for Greg Ditka speaks. You listen.

Matt Bowen's playbook - Power-O the way to go: Deep in the red zone, Matt Forte can be a force when the passing space tightens up.

Bears QB can't get a (boot)leg up - Dan Pompei: Bears aren't giving Jay Cutler many opportunities outside the pocket; plus, more team news.

Brad Biggs' Four downs - Jay Cutler is tough as nails, the safeties are rock solid, Steve Smith, and the expectations on Hester.

Three Bears - Brad Biggs: Charles Tillman is too hot, Gabe Carimi too cold. Matt Forte is just right.

Game preview - Michael C. Wright breaks down Sunday's matchup between the Bears and Panthers. More Nuts & Bolts.

Game Preview - Tom Waddle: Someone came up to me the other day and said, "Hey Waddle, settle down about your Bears. They haven't beaten a team with a winning record. They're beating up the weak sisters of the NFL." Know what I said to him? Take that slab of cheese off your head and shut your pie hole.

Game preview - Moon Mullin predicts the outcome of the game. Will Lovie's squad come out on top?

Expert Picks - The Tribune writers are all in for the Beloved.

Former Bear Greg Olsen happy with Panthers - Sean Jensen: Greg and Kara Olsen didn’t want to leave Chicago. ‘‘When we got traded,’’ Olsen said, ‘‘we thought the world was coming to an end.’’ Olsen, though, is thankful to many in the organization and in the Carolina community for the support they’ve provided him and Kara as they deal with the heart defect of their newborn son, T.J.

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Other Bears news

Kelvin Hayden glad to get involved - Mark Potash: Kelvin Hayden said the Bears’ decision to share nickel-back reps with D.J. Moore on Monday against the Lions caught him by surprise, but he was ready for the opportunity.

Rodriguez hopes for more playing time - Jeff Dickerson: Fullback was in uniform on the sidelines for Monday’s night win over the Lions but failed to get into the game.

Evan Rodriguez: "My package was small going into the short week" - ...plus more team news and notes from Vaughn McClure.

NFCN Blog - Kevin Seifert's look at NFC North QBs in 'clutch' situations places Cutler marginally ahead of Stafford and Rodgers.

Brandon Marshall fined for wearing orange cleats - Joined fellow WR Earl Bennett in receiving (no pun intended) a $10,500 fine from the NFL.

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Polish sausage

Bears make time for WWII veterans - Moon Mullin: On Thursday, the Bears took part in Honor Flight Chicago, a group which provides a trip to Washington for a day of honor and more.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Kevin Seifert's Free Head Exam in the wake of Minnesota's 36-17 loss to Tampa Bay.

Know thy enemy: Packers - PPF's Three Things to Focus On: Can Jacksonville find a healthy playmaker and take advantage of Green Bay's missing pieces?

Know thy enemy: Lions - PPF's Three Things to Focus On: Can Seattle's impressive defense continue to keep the Lions off balance or will the home team get things moving in the playoff direction finally?

Buyer beware: Counterfeit tix surfacing - Moon Mullin: There have been reports lately of counterfeit tickets being sold to fans for Bears games -- both on the road and at home -- so be careful with your purchases.

NFL.com's Best of the Week 7 Cheerleaders - Helloooo, San Fran!

Leavin' on that midnight train...

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