The Bears Den: January 02, 2014 - Chicago Bears news & notes

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Free agents-to-be ponder future - Larry Mayer: As they cleaned out their lockers earlier this week, several Bears players who are slated to become free agents discussed their uncertain futures.

Bears brass addresses the media - Phil Emery and Marc Trestman are set to address the media at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, and it'll be streamed live on CSNChicago.com.

Follow WCG on Twitter; like us on Facebook (& click on 'Subscribed to'). Bearsss. Check out David "OSS" Taylor's CheekyMonkeyArt prints and t-shirts. Den pic in hi-res.

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Bearsss

No free time for Bears brain trust - Bob LeGere: Phil Emery faces a monumental task in the off-season with 28 free agents on the roster. Who might be back, and who might be playing elsewhere next season?

Changing face(s) of the Bears - Rich Campbell, Brad Biggs: With contracts set to expire March 11 for 28 players, Phil Emery will have considerable opportunities to revamp the roster. Impending free agents.

Questions loom regarding Urlacher, Trestman, Tucker, Arians and Lovie - Mark Potash: The Trestman staff looked like a clear upgrade all season, but the sour finish left room for doubt — and opened the door for questions that will linger in the offseason.

Bears' two-game dropoff worst by new ’13 coaches - Moon Mullin: But Trestman was also one of the five (out of eight) new head coaches getting their teams either into the playoffs or within a game of them.

Grading the 2013 Bears - Mark Potash hands out grades for the season.

How did each first rounder do? - PFF take a look at each of the first 32 picks in the draft.

Football Outsiders - The Bears end up as FO's 6th-ranked offense, 25th-ranked defense, and 11th special teams unit. Have a look under the third chart down ("Worst run offense DVOA") to see why the 2013 Bears run defense isn't as bad as you might think.

Forte, Marshall Pro Bowl selections start of a Bears trend? - Moon Mullin: First time since 1985 that two Bears offensive skill-position players were selected.

2014 opponents announced - The schedule won't be available until April, but here is a complete rundown of who each team will face during the 2014 season.

MMQB 2013 reflections - Peter King on why officials have to give ticky-tacky unnecessary roughness penalties, and why the head umpire in charge of Bears-Ravens apologised to Peppers for his flag.

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Polish sausage

Lovie Smith, Buccaneers reach agreement - Lovie Smith will replace the ousted Greg Schiano on a four-year deal, according to sources. Gregg Rosenthal: Smith the anti-Greg Schiano. Michael C. Wright: Bucs lucky to land Smith.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky: The Packers' last 3 games against the 49ers since week 1 of the 2012 season have seen them allowing a combined 1,450 yards. Sunday’s rematch could define Dom Capers’ tenure as the Packers’ DC.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Michael Rothstein: Ten moments that stood out in a 2013 to forget for the Lions. Where the Lions failed down the stretch.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Ben Goessling: GM Rick Spielman responsible for QB situation, seems to admit Ponder isn't the solution. Marc Sessler: Vikings players rip Freeman's practice habits.

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Q. What did the boy octopus say to the girl octopus? A. "I wanna hold your hand hand hand hand hand hand hand hand."

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