The Weekend Bears Den: November 23, 2013 - Week 12 Bears-Rams news & notes

Andy Lyons

Ich bin ein Weekend Denner.

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses the Rams player the Bears should be most concerned about, Mel Tucker's move from the press box to the field, and how Josh McCown has fared against the Rams in the past.

Bears defense striving to improve vs. Rams - Larry Mayer: As the Bears prepare for Sunday's game in St. Louis, one of their top priorities remains improving a porous run defense that ranks 31st in the NFL.

Even Trestman doesn’t know what kind of team Bears are - Mark Potash: At this point last season, they were 7-3 but heading downhill under Lovie Smith. Now they’re 6-4 with key players on the sidelines, and not even Marc Trestman knows which direction they’re headed.

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Chicago Bears - St. Louis Rams previews

Game preview - Mark Potash takes a look at how the Bears and Rams match up.

Game preview - The Tribune's key matchups, game picks, and thoughts going into the game.

Know thy enemy - Dan Wiederer: Our weekly peek at the Bears' opponent reveals a fierce Rams' pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Chris Long and an explosive playmaker in Tavon Austin. Andy BenoitExpect to see Austin in trips sets.

Game preview - James Neveau: Can the injury-riddled Bears' D slow down Zac Stacy? STs will have to improve in a huge way against Tavon Austin.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - Do the Bears win Sunday? [KAPCON: 5]

Bears 'franchise' DEs delivering game-winning plays - Moon Mullin: At a time when their DTs and LBs and DBs are in and out of the infirmary, the Bears' DEs have been coming up with game-turning plays in the last two victories.

[Video] Game preview - Jeff Dickerson, Michael C. Wright and Tom Waddle discuss the Bears' upcoming matchup against the Rams.

Bears stressing better study habits - Michael C. Wright: Bears know that Sunday against Rams they won't be able to count on a weather delay to help them recover from a horrid start.

Artificial turf in St. Louis a big test for Bears - Fred Mitchell: Rams' speed is accentuated in Edward Jones Dome, so Bears' aging defense must be on its toes.

Four Downs - Jeff Dickerson & Jon Greenberg with their thoughts on Long v. Long, McCown v Cutler, Zac Stacy v. the Bears' run D, and Jeffery v. Austin.

A Long time coming - Peter King: Brothers Chris and Kyle Long have never played football together on the same field. That changes Sunday, when the two brothers square off with proud papa Howie also in attendance.

[Video] - Jay Glazer interviews Chris and Kyle Long ahead of tomorrow's game.

[Video] Game preview - Jeff Dickerson previews Bears-Rams. Will fresh legs be an advantage for the Rams?

Game preview: QB - Moon Mullin: Ball security and getting the ball out quickly to nullify the Rams' pass rush will be key to the game.

Game preview: Receivers - Moon Mullin: The Rams do not have the secondary to match up with Bennett, Jeffery and Marshall and the big-play potential with the threesome may be enough to break open a potentially very close defense-based game.

Game preview: O-line - Moon Mullin: Forcing Long (270 pounds) and Quinn (264) to deal with 50-pound size disadvantages to Bushrod and Mills is one way to slow the pressure on Josh McCown.

Game preview: D-line - Moon Mullin: Massive OT’s provide challenge, especially if Bears use 4-DE looks on fast surface.

Game preview: LB - Moon Mullin: Losses at DT have taken the run defense with them, and a monumental burden now falls to an equally depleted LB group to be near-perfect.

Team notes - Larry Mayer: McCown praises Cutler for helping out; injury news; Jeffery's breakout season; Bears alumni watch practice.

Game notes - Mark Potash: Chris Williams excited about facing ex-teammates; injury news; never mind all that, Pat Mannelly is ready. READY.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Trestman unfazed by McCown's peacking at age 34; Cutler all-in to help McCown succeed; injury news; DT Tracy Robertson elevated from PS to the active rooster[sic].

Game notes - Rich Campbell: Martellus Bennett accepts he's been needed more recently on pass protection; Bears' run D to be tested again; injury news; keeping players fresh vs Rams team coming off bye week. Brad Biggs: With Paea out, DT Tracy Robertson promoted.

Game preview - PFF's three things to focus on. Can Rams' pass rush take advantage of two of the league's worst pass-blocking OTs?

Injury news - Jeff Dickerson: Stephen Paea out, Shea McClellin probable in Week 12.

Game picks - the CBSChicago staff are split, while the ESPNChicago crew are more bullish Bearish.

Updated 22:30 CT / 04:30 GMT.

Game preview - Jeff Dickerson compares the two teams by position group and makes his prediction. Rich Campbell: Three Bears to keep an eye on.

Julius Peppers' numbers are starting to pick up - Dan Wiederer: DE's impressive three games in November beginning to sow doubt among the many putting the washed-up tag on him.

Time to bear down and stop run - Bob LeGere: The Bears' defense gets another chance Sunday to show it can stop the run against an opponent that hasn't run the ball very well.

Know thy enemy - Brad Biggs with a scouting report on Rams RB Zac Stacy, who is second behind the Packers' Eddie Lacy among rookies with 537 yards and three TDs.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - Tavon Austin presents Bears with matchup problems: Rams will use him on inside breaking cuts, underneath option routes and vertical concepts that cater to his play-making skills.

Game preview: DB - Moon Mullin: Austin capable of blowing top off Bears “D” but the problem for the Bears is that Austin is not the only problem facing the defense,

Game preview - Jeff Joniak delivers his keys to the game.

Game preview: RB - Moon Mullin: Forte stands third in yards from scrimmage this year; Bears win if they total 25 or more rushing attempts.

Game notes - Brad Biggs: Bears O-line molding into shape, one of only four clubs to have the same five starters all season; Rams are youngest team in league; Tracy Robertson is the 8th DT on the 53-man roster this season.

Team notes - Adam L. Jahns: Bostic getting more comfortable with responsibilities of role; DeCamillis on Tavon Austin; spotlight on Christian Tupou; more team notes.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: McCown disappointed by team's preparation last week; Martellus Bennett's production; more notes.

Madden - Rich Mayor with the Tribune's Madden simulation of Bears vs. Rams: "Hester's Hail Mary catch with less than 15 seconds left cements him further in Bears lore."

Inside the headset - Adam Hoge with an excellent behind the scenes look inside the headsets of Marc Trestman and Mel Tucker.

Updated Sunday 08:00 CT / 14:00 GMT.

Game preview - Michael C. Wright with 5 things to watch for in today's game.

Bears deserve tip of hat for their resilience - Rick Morrissey: Close games might not be the best things for your nerves, but they’re the mark of a team that doesn’t fall apart at the first hint of trouble.

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Bearsss

McCown embracing role as Bears backup - Jon Greenberg: Good-natured QB puts the "win" in "winsome" for a franchise where the stars are perennially disgruntled.

Back to D-back for Devin Hester? Not likely - Patrick Finley: #23 hasn’t played in the secondary regularly since 2006, and said playing corner in practice allows him "to reminisce on stuff." Jeff Dickerson: Is likely an emergency option if Bears suffer more injuries in the secondary Sunday

Jeremiah Ratliff is a different breed of player - Patrick Finley: ‘‘He’s an intense guy,’’ D-line coach Mike Phair said. ‘‘Very focused and intense. I like his demeanor. He’s a serious guy. He’s got an edge, yup.’’

Bears mailbag - Jeff Dickerson answers readers' questions on all things Bears. Trestman for Coach of the Year?

Bears honor their roots as vets invited to Halas Hall - Moon Mullin: Several former Bears were present inside the Walter Payton Center to take in Friday's workout.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Bear Trax: All the action on the Bears' sideline in their Week 11 show down with the Ravens.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - This past offseason, the Bears expanded and upgraded their headquarters at Halas Hall. Lyndsay Petruny and Anthony Adams take a tour of the new state of the art facility.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Watch the most accurate kicker in Bears' history give host Lyndsay Petruny some kicking pointers as Robbie Gould shows us his trick kicks and the fine art of kicking.

Which NFL coach wins 'The Hunger Games'? - Eric Kay: Thirty two coaches enter, one comes out on top. Stone cold killer?

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Ditka

Four downs with Ditka - Da Coach on the job Marc Trestman has done in his first 10 games, on the team's identity now being offense, whether or not he likes instant replay, and why he chose to attend Pitt over Penn State.

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Polish sausage

NFL history - Richard Rothschild: Attending an NFL game two days after JFK's assassination was surreal, cathartic.

Are we approaching a QB salary bubble? - Tom Pelissero: Things change once a sixth or more of a largely flat cap is devoted to one player who may not even be among the 10 best at his position.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Michael Rothstein: Double teams and quick passing plays have contributed to Lions' inconsistent pass rush.  PFF's three things to focus on.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky: GB still waiting for big plays from Morgan Burnett after giving him 4-year, $24.75 million contract that included an $8.5 million signing bonus.

Know thy enemies - PFF's three things to focus on for Vikings-Packers.

Cheerleaders - The best of week 11, from NFL.com.  Another gallery from SI.com.

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