The Bears Den: December 04, 2013 - Week 14 news & notes

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses the Bears' short-yardage offense, if Gould had ever missed two field goal attempts in one game before Sunday, and the Bears' record when leading after three quarters.

Stats & Info - Scott Lindholm: When the epitaph of the 2013 Bears is written, several items need to be understood: injuries to the starting QB and a decimated defense that regressed. And it’s still going to come down to this one missed field goal, right or wrong.

[Audio] Our own Steven Schweickert joins Making Sense with Mike and Tom and talks Alshon Jeffery, the offensive transition, the run defense, Cutler/McCown, and Trestman's Second Down. [He's on from 61:30.]

Follow WCG on Twitter; like us on Facebook (& click on 'Subscribed to'). Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Check out David "OSS" Taylor's CheekyMonkeyArt prints and t-shirts. Den pic in hi-res.

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Bears-Cowboys

Ratliff expected to see expanded playing time Monday - Larry Mayer: The Bears were pleased with Jeremiah Ratliff's debut performance Sunday in Minnesota and plan to increase his playing time Monday night when they host the Cowboys.

Ratliff: Cowboys just another game - Michael C. Wright: Ratliff called his first action in more than a year a good start, but made it clear he won't be participating in any back and forth regarding his former team.

Know thy enemy - Dan Wiederer: Jerry Jones wishes Jeremiah Ratliff all the best. Jones also believes Ratliff should still be in Dallas.

Game preview - Carlos Mendez: Former Cowboy Ratliff is looking to shore up a defense that is allowing an NFL-worst 153.6 yards rushing per game; Bears have the most productive pair of receivers in the NFL; more game notes.

Game preview - Brad Biggs: Two banged-up defenses will be on display on 'Monday Night Football'. Calvin Watkins: Sean Lee to return vs Bears.

Know thy enemy - Steve Silverman looks at how the Bears and Cowboys match up.

[Video] Game preview - ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates breaks down the Monday night matchup between the Cowboys and Bears.

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Phil Emery talks Bears, Cutler

Lunch with Larry Phil - The Bears GM hosted a live one-hour chat with fans on ChicagoBears.com and, among other topics, discussed Cutler's contract situation. Michael C. Wright: Emery talks tag, offseason challenge.

Team notes - Rich Campbell: Emery praises McClellin for being far more disruptive than believed, cites Roddy White as a player who took time to blossom in the league; wowed by Jeffery's leaping 46-yard TD catch.

Cutler questionable vs. Cowboys; new contract 'probable?' - Moon Mullin: The immediate issue with Cutler is whether he will be able to return next Monday. The longer and larger question is whether he is the Bears’ starter in 2014, and signs are again positive in that direction.

Bears not looking to ‘franchise’ Cutler - Patrick Finley: Tagging him for one season, rather than using it as a means to negotiate a longer deal, would harm the team’s ability to sign other players.

Draft-eligible QBs on Emery's radar - Rich Campbell: GM's due diligence on QBs a logical focus considering the contracts of Cutler and McCown expire at the end of this season.

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Trestman

Reasoning behind FG decision hard to get a day later - Moon Mullin: Trestman noted in his explanation of timeout usage in the Baltimore game that it was based on factoring in five years worth of possessions. Yet against the Vikings he seemed to eschew the information route.

Stats & Info - Keith Goldner: A 47-yard field goal misses 25% of the time. Gaining just four yards decreases that miss probability to 1 out of 5 attempts. Why not make an effort to get closer?

Trestman stops trusting his offense just when it's taking over - Steve Rosenbloom: Wasn't Trestman watching his offense shred the Vikings?

Offense coming up short in key area - Bob LeGere: Deciding when to bring back Cutler from his ankle injury isn't the Bears' biggest dilemma on offense. The bigger problem is improving the unit's inability to pick up first downs or TDs in short-yardage situations.

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Defense

Bears' playoff hopes falling victim to atrocious defense - Bucky Brooks: What's wrong with this traditionally strong unit, and will it cost the team a playoff bid? Ryan Wilson: Bears' D will be their downfall.

Stopping the run just another thing ‘D’ needs to tackle - Patrick Finley: Last week, Lance Briggs said that stopping the run "really comes down to heart." For the Bears, though, any part of the chest will do.

Briggs, Cutler: Whose return would be bigger? - Moon Mullin: A closer look at the numbers makes Briggs’ possible return for Dallas or whenever a potential season-saver.

[Video] ESPN Hot Button - Eric Allen: Who or what is most responsible for the Bears' decline on defense this season?

X&Os - Adam Hoge: The Bears' defense actually made some progress in Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss to the Vikings. [Plus, top & bottom-graded Bears from the game.]

Team notes - Larry Mayer: Fourth-down failures cost Bears defense in loss; Craig Steltz, super sub; more notes.

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Bearsss

Joniak's Journal - Alshon Jeffrey is now in the top 11 among receivers in yards after the catch with 351 yards; more notes and observations.

Team notes - Mark Potash: Cutler is the better choice at Bears’ QB; Angelo sees FG decision from both sides; Jerry Jones irked by Ratliff.

Stats & Info - Football Outsiders has the Bears' offense still ranked in the top 10, and the defense and special teams close to the league average.

Stock Watch - Jeff Dickerson with who's trending up and whose stock is down following Bears-Vikings: "Craig Steltz was basically the team's best linebacker on the field."

Bears doing good things - Melissa Silverberg: Students from several suburban schools got a chance to play against Bears players past and present during a fundraiser Tuesday night, as part of the Bears Bowl 2013 annual fundraiser for Bears Care charities. [Video]

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Polish sausage

Jack Bechta: The Agent's Journal - Improving the NFL: Blackouts, improved officiating, in-stadium experience and building a better off field player.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Ben Goessling's Rapid Reaction to the Vikings' 23-20 overtime win over the Bears ... Upon further review ... Cassel reminds Vikings what he can do.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky: If not Aaron Rodgers, then who? ... For now, it's Flynn over Tolzien ... Packers sign Kahlil Bell.

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