The Bears Den: January 06, 2014 - Chicago Bears news & notes

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

Bears assessing all areas of team - Larry Mayer: Determined to rebound from a disappointing 8-8 season, the Bears have already started to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of the team.

Improving defense a top priority - Larry Mayer: After re-signing Jay Cutler, it's clear that the Bears' No. 1 priority will be to fix a porous defense.

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Bearsss

Team Report: Offense - Dan Wiederer: With new contract in hand, supporting cast fortified all around him and Marc Trestman's proven system to assist him, Cutler must deliver.

GM, coach can only hope Cutler decision 'isn't on them' - Mike Imrem: If Emery and Trestman made a mistake in evaluating and re-signing Cutler, the consequences will be more severe than merely missing the playoffs one season.

Cutler showed Bears early that he was their man - Bob LeGere: Cutler's career-best 89.2 passer rating, 19-12 TD-to-INT ratio and improved ability to avoid sacks are not why the Bears lavished what could amount to $126 million on him for the next seven years.

Team Report: Defense - Dan Wiederer: Overhaul could include switching to 3-4, but first Trestman must decide whether Mel Tucker is the man to oversee unit that will undergo a massive makeover

2014 playoff hopes ride squarely on Emery draft hits - Moon Mullin: The mission statement of the offseason is to address the defense, which is potentially a simpler task than building an offense.

McClellin may move to linebacker - Larry Mayer: After recording only 6.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the Bears, 2012 first-round draft pick Shea McClellin may be moving from DE to LB in 2014.

Love affair with switch to 3-4 for Bears misguided - Moon Mullin: It is not the scheme; it’s not even the coach in the final analysis. It is the players. What the Bears do in free agency with respect to their D-line will be the first clue.

Conte takes responsibility, seeks rebirth - David Haugh: Besieged safety shoulders blame for playoff-busting play as well as his own poor season, vows to come back strong in 2014.

Team Report: Special teams - Dan Wiederer: Devin Hester may be too much of a luxury to keep despite his place in Bears history, as the team must shore up group that took step backward this season.

Roster notes - Brad Biggs: Robbie Gould's deal sweetened by $3M signing bonus; breakdown of Tony Fiammetta's contract.

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Ditka

[Video] Ditka - (Tribune) Mike Ditka was awake this time, but the former Bears coach still managed to fumble the ball Saturday during a segment of ESPN's "NFL Countdown."

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Polish sausage

NFP Sunday Blitz - Len Pasquarelli: Are NFL teams more interested in coaches with experience or new faces with fresh ideas?

Will Lovie coach just as he did with Bears? - Barry Rozner: Lovie Smith arrived at Halas Hall humble but came to believe he was truly a football genius. He's back in business because he is a good NFL coach; to become a great one, he will have to change some aspects of his personality and approach.

NFL already dumb for its cold-weather Super Bowl - Dave Wischnowsky: We’re still a month away from the Big Game, but it’s already a mistake – for more than one reason.

Know thy enemy: Packers - 49ers 23,.Packers 20: Game report and [Video] highlights from NFL.com.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Michael Rosenberg: Dysfunctional Vikings clearly the least attractive coaching opening, and that won't change unless the Wilfs do. Ben Goessling: What can investigation regarding Kluwe's allegations uncover?

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