The Weekend Bears Den: December 14, 2013 - Week 15 Bears-Browns news & previews

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - LM discusses whether Cutler will be replaced Sunday if he struggles early, first-round picks on the Bears roster, and if the Bears practiced outside this week.

The Bears' big mistake - FootballOutsiders' Scott Kacsmar: By starting Cutler, an erratic QB coming off an injury, Chicago is benching the NFL's hottest signal caller in McCown, who has performed better, longer than Cutler ever has.

Cutler's "smugness" a strength, not a liability for the Bears - James Neveau: The Bears knew that they were getting a tough guy with a tough personality when they traded for Cutler, but certain Chicago media members [David Haugh - Den] didn't seem to get the memo.

Follow WCG on Twitter; like us on Facebook (& click on 'Subscribed to'). Oh, I would. Check out David "OSS" Taylor's CheekyMonkeyArt prints and t-shirts. Perennial contender for potential future Mrs Spongie in hi-res.

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Chicago Bears - Cleveland Browns previews

Game preview - Kevin Chroust: The Bears are second in the league with 28.3 points per game and take on a Cleveland team that has dropped seven of eight, including four in a row, to ensure its sixth straight losing season.

Game preview - The Tribune's key matchups, staff game predictions, and thoughts going into tomorrow's game.

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

[Video] Game preview - Tom Thayer and Larry Mayer discuss the Bears road trip to Cleveland, as they look to carry momentum from their win over the Cowboys into week 15.

Game preview - Jeff Joniak's keys to the game. Will pass-happy Norv Turner run the ball against the Bears' last-placed run D?

Game preview: QB - Moon Mullin: Cutler was playing at a career-best level before he suffered the groin tear. Did he keep up in learning with the rest of the offense while he wasn’t playing?

While everyone else is focusing on Cutler’s return, he’s locked in on Browns - Adam L. Jahns: Cutler shouldn’t be judged on his final numbers against the Browns on a wintry day in Cleveland. All that matters is that the Bears find a way to win and stay in the playoff race.

No hint of QB controversy in Bears’ locker room - Mark Potash: Pat Mannelly, who has been a Bear longer than any Bear in franchise history, has seen his share of QB controversies in 16 seasons with the team. This isn't one of them.

[Audio] - Tom Waddle talks about Trestman's choice to start Cutler, what Cutler learned from his time off, expectations for him against the Browns and more.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - The panel on Trestman's decision to start Cutler.

[Video] - David Kaplan on the Dan Patrick Show: Marc Trestman has made his decision, in part, because he had no choice. [KAPCON: 5]

Game preview: RB - Moon Mullin: Cutler’s ability to use Forte in check-downs and underneath routes will be a key to finding open spots in a very good Cleveland defense.

2nd year receivers on display in Cleveland - Peggy Kusinski: Alshon Jeffery is just one of eight players in NFL history to record a pair of 200 yard games in the same season. Josh Gordon is having an even better year.

Game preview: DL - Moon Mullin: Ratliff role growing in size; Peppers vs Joe Thomas one to watch.

Game preview: LB - Moon Mullin: McClellin could work as a de facto linebacker with pass-rush ability.

Game preview: DB - Moon Mullin: The Bears expect teams to come out running at them, but the Browns don’t run the ball well at all.

Game notes - Rich Campbell: Bears can't afford loss to Browns and Cutler can't afford poor play in comeback game; defense to face NFL-leading receiver; Browns defense breaking down in decisive situations.

Team notes - Adam Hoge: All signs point to Briggs returning next week; a return to Cleveland for Trestman, who thinks the Browns are better than their record; weather to be a factor on Sunday?

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Much-needed Briggs should return against Eagles; Trestman won't take Browns lightly; facts and stats going into Sunday's game.

Game preview - PFF's Three things to focus on.

Know thy enemy - Dan Wiederer with a detailed look at the Browns: Josh Gordon, Jason Campbell and Joe Haden will keep the Bears on their toes Sunday afternoon.

Know thy enemy - Andrew Lawrence: Josh Gordon's breakout season coming after rough road to NFL, emerging as the most electrifying talent this side of Megatron.

Game picks - The CBSChicago crew mostly pick the Beloved to win in Cleveland ... it's a clean sweep by the ESPN Chicago pundits ...

Updated 21:00 CT / 03:00 GMT

Game notes - Larry Mayer: Bears look to contain Josh Gordon; a familiar face at QB for Browns, Jason Campbell keeping in touch with McCown; Ratliff began college career as TE.

Game preview - Mark Potash with a look at how the two teams match up.

Game preview - Jeff Dickerson looks at how the teams match up and makes his prediction.

Game preview: O-Line - Moon Mullin: If Cutler is not pressured into turnovers, and the line with run blocking for Matt Forte can slow the Browns pass rush, it is unlikely that the Browns will be able to sustain enough drives on their own to outscore Chicago.

Game preview: WR/TE - Moon Mullin: The Bears are one of only two teams with two 1,000-yard receivers, but the Browns are No. 2 behind only Seattle for fewest passing yards per attempt and allow just 10.1 yards per completion.

Bears offense a different animal now - Bob LeGere: The offense is operating with a lot more horsepower since the last time Cutler was behind the wheel. It will be interesting to see if he can keep things running smoothly.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - Marshall and Jeffery double trouble for Browns: Bears can target duo for big gains between the 20s, then take advantage of Browns' deficiencies in the red zone.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Bears' WRs excel at more than catching; McCown unchanged by Chicago celebrity status; returners more dangerous in bad weather; Jennings to contend with Gordon.

Team notes - Brad Biggs: Devin Hester to surpass Deion Sanders with the Bears this season; Mincey on waivers; run defense stats aren't pretty.

Madden - The Tribune's Madden 25 simulation: Bears win!

Updated 09:00 CT / 15:00 GMT

Game preview - Michael C. Wright: Five things to watch when Bears face Browns on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. Cutler knows there's a good chance he'll be rusty, but understands the team can't afford it.

Complete NFC playoff picture - The Tribune breaks it down. The Bears are currently in 8th place.

Will Trestman rue decision to start Cutler? - Chris Burke: For 2014 and beyond, figuring out if Cutler fits Trestman’s offense may be priority No. 1, so it’s hard to knock the decision to roll back to #6 this week. Is it worth sacrificing a division title run to solve those mysteries?

Trestman's decision to return to Cutler bears watching - Jarrett Bell: There's undeniable risk, but Trestman didn't have much of a choice. To go back on his word at this point might have ruined whatever level of credibility in the locker room he has established as a first-year coach.

Trestman has Super belief in Cutler - Barry Rozner: Trestman knows QBs and makes it very clear that Cutler is his guy. It would surprising if Emery couldn’t get a deal done with Cutler, who wants to stay and only needs to be reasonable to make it happen.

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Bearsss

Bears' 2014 salary cap space - Scott Lindholm: Can a defense be overhauled in one year? Is Cutler the answer in the short term? These are questions Emery is paid to answer, and it’s far easier to develop those answers with cap space room.

Hard-working Roberto Garza is leading from the center - Patrick Finley: The Bears have allowed only 22 sacks, the third-fewest in the NFL and exactly half their total from 2012. The rookies point to the 34-year-old center as the reason why.

Team notes - Larry Mayer: Bears hope Briggs will return next week; no QB controversy; Chud remembers Hester from college.

Team notes - Patrick Finley: Alshon Jeffery, Browns CB Haden meet again; Briggs hoping to return next week; more notes.

Hester would like to break Deion’s mark as a Bear - Adam L. Jahns: A holding penalty a few weeks ago wiped away that punt-return highlight against the Rams and that page in the history book. But it’s coming.

Browns coach longtime admirer of Hester - Fred Mitchell: Rob Chudzinski realized the returner was special when he recruited him for the University of Miami.

Bears mailbag - Q. Wharrgarble Wear it! McCown for Bears quarterback in 2014!  Jeff Dickerson: /facepalm

SI's Pass Rush Pressure Points - Bottom of the table, baby. Bottom of the table.

X&Os - Adam Hoge: Marshall, Jeffery and Earl Bennett have become the best blocking trio in the NFL.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Tom Thayer breaks down two plays where Brandon Marshall's blocking effort down field makes the difference and keeps the Bears offense on the move.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - All the action on the Bears' sideline from their Monday night show down with the Cowboys in the frigid December weather.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Martellus Bennett was mic'd up for Sounds of the Game against his former team on MNF.

Marshall fined $15K - Jeff Dickerson: The NFL has fined Brandon Marshall $15,000 for wearing orange cleats during the MNF win over Dallas; Bowman's fine for a horse-collar vs Ravens was rescinded.

Check WCGer Sackman's selection of Bears-themed tops here, or some t-shirt designs here. And have a crack at his competition to win free swag.

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Ditka

Four downs with Ditka - Da Coach on the "QB controvery", the weather for his jersey retirement ceremony, how he made his own decision of Flutie over Tomczak, and what a coach says to the QB who has to sit.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com: Mike Ditka memories - Former teammates and players share their favorite memories of Bears Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.

[Video] - Jeff Joniak sits down with Mike Ditka at his restaurant to discuss his life as a Bear and the honor of getting his number 89 retired.

[Video] - HOF player and coach Mike Ditka's #89 was retired in a ceremony during halftime of the Cowboys-Bears game on Monday Night Football.

[Video] - Video tribute shown on the big screen during the halftime ceremony celebrating the retirement of #89.

[Video] - Video of former players congratulating coach Ditka, played in stadium during the halftime ceremony retiring number 89 on Monday Night Football.

[Video] Ditka on jersey retirement: 'Great honor' - Mike Ditka addresses the media from Soldier Field Monday following the retirement of his No. 89 jersey.

[Video] ITB: Adams exclusive interview - In an exclusive interview, Anthony Adams sat down with number "89" for a no-holds barred conversation.

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Polish sausage

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Noey Kupchan previews Eagles-Vikings: Philadelphia tries to extend its winning streak to six when it visits Minnesota, which is uncertain to have Adrian Peterson available. Ben Goessling, Phil SheridanHow the teams match up ... What to watch for. PFF's Three things to focus on.

Know thy enemy: Packers - (AP) Packers-Cowboys preview: Playing a backup QB may prove not to be a detriment against the Cowboys' league-worst defense. Rob Demovsky, Todd Archer: How the teams match up. PFF's Three things to focus on.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Alan Ferguson's Ravens-Lions preview: Both are in position for playoff berths, but only one of them has made significant progress toward reaching that goal lately. Michael Rothstein, Jamison Hensley: How the teams match up. PFF's Three things to focus on.

Same Old Lions - Steve Silverman: The Lions have the kind of personnel that should put together a 12-4 or 13-3 record, but they don’t play up to their talent and they never have. The Bears will have an opportunity to win the NFC North.

Cheerleaders - NFL.com has misplaced its week 14 cheerleaders gallery, but SI.com has one up.

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Readers in the UK may remember this being used for a Heinz TV advert.

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