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The Weekend Bears Den: September 07, 2013 - Week 1 news and notes

Michael Bush looking focused. Who doesn't like an intense Bush?

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Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses how the Bears will determine their starting MLB, how the base defense compares to last year's, and if the Bears are interested in Tim Tebow.

Earl Bennett agrees to pay cut - Brad Biggs & Rich Campbell: Bennett has reduced his base salary by $1 million for this season, creating the corresponding amount in salary cap relief for the club; can earn it back. Moon Mullin: Creates cap space, and questions.

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Bears-Bengals preview

Injury news - Larry Mayer: All 53 players on the Bears roster practiced without restrictions Friday and will be healthy enough to suit up for Sunday's season opener against the Bengals. Michael C. Wright: E. Bennett, Williams, Melton will play.

[Video] Game preview - Tom Thayer and Larry Mayer preview the Bears 2013 opener against the Bengals.

Trestman holding starter decisions close - Moon Mullin: Coaches do not ever voluntarily give out competitive information and Trestman is holding off on informing the Bengals about certain positions.

Game preview - Jeff Joniak's Keys to the Game for the Bears' Week 1 matchup with the Bengals. [Video]

[Video] View from the Moon - Moon Mullin joins the CSNChicago panel to preview Bears-Bengals. [KAPCON: 4]

Game preview - James Neveau's five keys for the Bears if they want to knock off the Bengals on Sunday.

Peppers to face banged-up Bengals O-line - Jeff Dickerson: Bengals could be without the services of their top O-lineman on Sunday, Pro Bowl LT Andrew Whitworth.

Position battle - Brad Biggs: Who starts at DE opposite Peppers? Either way, both Wootton and McClellin will get considerable playing time.

[Video] Game preview - Jeff Dickerson, Michael C. Wright and Tom Waddle preview the Bears Week 1 matchup with the Bengals.

Game preview - Jeff Medzydlo: While the Bengals believe they have the club capable of winning their first playoff game in 23 seasons, the Bears hope going north of the border to find their new coach will lead them back to the postseason.

Pressure on Cutler to thwart pressure - Moon Mullin: The Bears do not need pyrotechnics from Cutler. They need efficiency and ball security.

OL looking to drive Bengals 'into the ground' - Moon Mullin: Whether Long, Mills and the rest can drive the likes of All-Pro Geno Atkins into the ground may be open to at least a teeny bit of question.

Bears hope balanced offense helps rookie linemen - Rich Campbell: Bears will balance their offense to help rookies RG Kyle Long and RT Jordan Mills. Fred Mitchell: Jimbo Covert advises rookie duo to 'play within your game.'

Receivers searching for a passing identity - Moon Mullin: Bengals are not strong in the secondary.

'O' runs through Forte, Bush - Moon Mullin: Cincinnati's D among the NFL’s best against the pass, but just 12th in rushing yards per game and 11th in yards per carry allowed (4.1 ypc).

Game Preview - PFF's Three Things to Focus On.

Know thy enemy - Dan Wiederer with a flurry of notable odds and ends on the Bengals.

Special teams figure to have hands full with Bengals - Dan Wiederer: Bengals return men Adam "Pacman" Jones and Brandon Tate have explosive abilities. That's left the Bears on high alert this week.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Don't underestimate the D; injury news.

Team notes - Adam Hoge: How much Earl Bennet will play for the Bears this season; conditioning to dictate playing time for Bennett, Williams and Melton; more team notes.

Bengals provide Bears open challenge in Week 1 - Patrick Finley: Win or lose, Sunday will be a measure of where the Bears are at the moment.

For Alshon Jeffery, fat was then, this is now - Patrick Finley: What Alshon Jeffery lost this offseason — body fat — he has gained in explosiveness, agility and the respect of his Bears teammates.

Team notes - Mark Potash: D.J. Williams looks likely to get starting call at MLB; Wooton or McClellin; Slauson has experience playing against good DTs.

Game picks - Dan Durkin goes over week 1, and thinks the biggest difference in Bears-Bengals is the respective QBs.

[Video] View from the Moon - Moon Mullin looks ahead to season opener: Everything boils down to Cutler.

Trestman may have hands full with Cutler - Joe Reedy: It has all the appearances of the NFL's latest version of the Odd Couple – a professorial head coach and a hot-headed QB. In Jay Cutler's case, he needs to make it work.

Thoughts on Baltimore–Denver and looking at the weekend - Greg Gabriel breaks down the opener and this weekend, and thinks Trestman's correct to start Williams over Bostic.

Game preview - Chris Burke and Doug Farrar preview the weekend's games: "If Chicago cannot protect Cutler, it will not matter what sort of plays Trestman calls."

Dalton easily overlooked, but not by Bears - Moon Mullin: Bengals QB is consistent inside the red zone, and has targets in AJ Green, Sanu, Gresham and Eifert.

No ‘54’ covering the middle anymore so…. - Moon Mullin: The issue facing the Bears is whether or not their middle is secure in an NFL that has turned increasingly toward using two TEs and their ability to work the middle of the field.

McClellin and Wootton - Moon Mullin: Richard Dent espoused his “Rule of Three,” that nearly all truly great defenses had ability to generate serious pressure from three points at all times. The Bears need both to step up alongside Peppers and Melton.

Trestman welcomes Cutler's input on game plan - Larry Mayer: Throughout his coaching career, Marc Trestman has always welcomed the input of his starting QB in formulating weekly game plans, and that won't change this year.

Suddenly, offense part of Bears football - Barry Rozner: The 2013 Bears season will feature growing pains, but the Bears should be much more entertaining as they join the 21st century and include the offense as part of the football team.

Trestman has what past Bears offensive saviors didn’t — playmakers - Mark Potash: Trestman has four Pro Bowl-caliber players at the right positions QB, WR, RB and LT. And unless the preseason was a mirage, he has an O-line that will give Cutler a chance.

Trestman's offense must work in concert - Dan Wiederer: Cutler's development is top priority, but managing pieces around QB may determine how far Bears can go.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - The versatility of Forte and the ability of Marshall to create space will be key to quick passing game's effectiveness against Bengals.

Know thy enemy - Dan Durkin: The Bengals are the NFL equivalent of a "butterface." Everything that meets your eyes during a slow scan of their roster is appealing until you get to that pesky-yet-essential starting QB position. Brad Biggs: Scouting report on Dalton.

Game preview - Mark Potash breaks down how the two teams match up.

Game preview - Jeff Dickerson compares the two teams and thinks home field advantage could ultimately make the difference.

Game notes - Dan Wiederer: Waiting on starting MLB; #1 WR showdown; Bengals' disruptive defense piled up 51 sacks in 2012; should be a telling afternoon for Trestman to show how innovative and efficient his offense can be. Rich Campbell: Three Bears to watch.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Cutler, Forte checked out film of predecessors; time to fly for Long & Mills; more team notes.

Game picks - Tribune writers anticipate a close game, with most expecting the Bengals to edge it. Plus, Rosenbloom.

Updates (Sunday 7am CT / 1pm GMT)

Game preview - Michael C. Wright's 5 things to watch.

Game notes - Adam L. Jahns: Mel Tucker will add a few twists to D; Bengals' real strength is special teams; more team and pregame notes.

Game preview - Jim Miller: Can Bears O-line handle Bengals pass rush?

Trestman the Bears’ No. 1 unknown - Moon Mullin: Whether Trestman ultimately is overwhelmed by the moment, only Sunday will begin to reveal.

Bears are one big unknown, but mystery beats misery - Rick Morrissey: This season should be very, very interesting. It is so much better than the alternative, which was what went on the previous nine seasons: ‘‘Bears offense sucks’’.


Matt Forte 'a perfect fit' in new Bears offense - Larry Mayer: Given his versatility and skill set as a runner and receiver, Matt Forte appears primed to thrive in first-year coach Marc Trestman's offense.

Morning Bears Bits - Adam Hoge explains why he believes the Bears are capable of taking the tough NFC North.

2013 NFL preview: NFC North - Tom Pelissero and Nate Davis round up the division: "Adapt is the watchword in the Windy City. Expect this team to improve as the season progresses."

Bears name five team captains for 2013 - Charlie Roumeliotis: Cutler, Garza, Briggs, Peppers and Mannelly elected.

Defense could face major makeover in 2014 - Michael C. Wright: Bears currently have seven starters on the roster who will become UFA at the end of the season, including four players age 29 or older.


Four downs with Ditka - Ditka speaks. You listen.

Polish sausage

Know thy enemy: Packers - Bill Williamson and Rob Demovsky look ahead to 49ers-Packers. Possible read-option overkill for Packers? PFF: Three Things to Focus On.

Know thy enemies - Ben Goessling: Vikings, Lions both in search of balance. Michael Rothstein: Lions will try to deny AP a quick start; Four keys for LionsPFF: Three Things to Focus On.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Michael Rothstein: Suh, Stafford among Lions captains. (So remember that when you see Suh penalised for the inevitable personal foul. - Den)

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