The Bears Den: January 07, 2014 - Chicago Bears news & notes

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses the TD the Packers scored on Aaron Rodgers' fumble, if the Bears could have challenged the play-clock expiring, and the last time the Bears played a playoff game on the road.

McClellin remains one big question mark - Bob LeGere: There have been numerous questions about where to play Shea McClellin and how to use him, ever since he was selected 19th overall in 2012. So far there are no definitive answers.

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

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Bearsss

Forte a finalist for FedEx Award - Larry Mayer: After finishing second in the NFL in rushing with a career-high 1,339 yards, Matt Forte has been named one of three finalists for the FedEx Ground Player of the Year Award.

Trestman faces a credibility issue - Steve Rosenmoan: One month, Trestman tells us that Mel Tucker is doing an "amazing'' job. Next month, he won't say that Tucker is coming back. Why would any assistant coach want to work for a guy like that?

Time for Cutler to earn the money - Michael C. Wright: After the Bears made a huge seven-year investment in Cutler, he needs to lead his team to the dance more often so he can start to cement a playoff legacy.

Cutler's contract gives Bears flexibility - Brad Biggs: The Bears can convert a portion of that base salary to a signing bonus at any time, which would be prorated, thus lowering his cap hit for this season.

Cutler deal works for both sides now and in the future - Moon Mullin: Cliff Stein has made a practice of contract design that does not strangle the Bears in the later years of a deal, and Cutler's sets up precisely that way.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - How does Cutler compare to playoff QBs? [KAPCON: 4, but he did have to deal with a guy from Yahoo Sports.]

Bears’ OL pay structure setting up according to plan - Moon Mullin: One way of financially constructing a team is to spend heavily on one side of the ball and draft the other. If the Bears now can manage on defense what they have with the current O-line, they will have a structure bordering on the ideal.

Roster notes - Brad Biggs with contract details for Matt Slauson's four-year contract, worth a base value of $12.8 million with $4.9 million guaranteed.

Team notes - Adam Hoge breaks down the Bears' upcoming free agent class, highlights a key offensive play from week 17, and more team notes.

Hester: Return to the Bears "Not up to me" - James Neveau: As weird as it would be to see Hester in another team’s uniform, the Bears will be looking very closely at how they are allocating salary cap space.

[Video] ESPN Hot Button - Herm Edwards [Caffeination level: Decaf] discusses which unrestricted free agent the Bears should be most concerned with resigning.

X&Os - Michael C. Wright with the first of 10 plays that negatively affected the Bears' 2013 season. It's a doozy.

[Video] - After coming off a record-breaking season, Brandon Marshall continued to dominate in the Windy City. Catch his 2013 season highlights.

Check WCGer Sackman's selection of Bears-themed tops here, or some t-shirt designs here.

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Ditka

Gus Malzahn takes a page out of Mike Ditka's book - Scott Krinch: The Auburn head coach was rocking a sweater vest that resembled the legendary Bears coach's memorable look.

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Polish sausage

Lovie Smith good coach, bad talent evaluator - David Haugh: Nobody doubts Lovie Smith's ability to coach an NFL team. But when teams allow Smith more power over personnel, history says it produces mediocrity. Lovie to transform Bucs into winners?

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - Did the Bucs make a good move in hiring Lovie Smith?

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky's Rapid reaction in the wake of Packers 20, 49ers 23 ... PFF's Three performances of note ... Do the Packers need more veterans?

[Video] - Packers fan having a complete meltdown during Sunday's game. So completely unlike what comes up in the game threads during our games!

Weather report - So, apparently it's a bit nippy over there. There's a nice photo of ice buildup along Lake Michigan halfway down this BBC news article.

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Fat Bob before he was Fat.

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