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The Bears Den: October 31, 2014 - Chicago Bears bye week 9 news & notes

Brothers Brock and Shane Vereen exchanged jerseys after their first game facing one another.

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Bears' problems are more than just Jay Cutler - Rich Campbell: According to a former NFL director of pro personnel, the Bears "are just flawed in their construction." [Non-Tribune version, courtesy of corneillejrk.]

Bears defense in doldrums - Rich Campbell: Rebuilt line and underachieving big-name players hampering Bears' defense at midpoint, but rookie contributions a silver lining.

Midseason superlatives: Defense - Not-Hub Arkush and Not-Hub Fishbain recap the highs and lows on the defensive side of the ball.

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Marc Trestman expects Bears to 'find themselves' - Michael C. Wright: The Bears need to spend the week off fixing myriad problems in every facet of the game, and the coach points to improvements following last year's bye week as evidence that they can.

Putting Cutler’s turnovers in perspective - Dan Durkin: Giving away opportunities to score points is a losing formula, and the Bears are having Cutler throw the ball at a rate at which he's unable to avoid turning it over.

Bears considering reshuffling O-line - Michael C. Wright: Injury to Matt Slauson could lead to several different line combinations being tried by team.

Martellus Bennett needs a more prominent role - Michael C. Wright: It’s understandable if Chicago fans caught a case of Gronk envy Sunday; with similar physical attributes, Trestman needs to find fresher ways to feature Bennett more prominently.

Stats & Info - Mini-Larry: Numbers don't tell the whole story in football, but they can provide great insight. Here's a look at some key numbers for the Bears through eight weeks of the season.

[Video] - Jeff Joniak's four keys to the second half of the Bears' 2014 season.

McCaskey remains confident in team - Larry Mayer: Appearing in studio on Comcast SportsNet's "Bears Huddle" show, chairman George H. McCaskey said he's "very disappointed" with the Bears' 3-5 start and is eager to see how the team responds to adversity.

Ted Phillips on the state of the 3-5 Bears - Team President Ted Phillips joins Chris Boden and Dan Jiggetts to answer questions about the team [with Video] and the issue of artificial turf.

Bears mailbag - Q. Will Bears bench Cutler?  Brad Biggs: /facepalm.

Where teams stand halfway through the NFL season - Sheil Kapadia: The Bears have given up an average of 32 points per game in the last five. The defense is bad (23rd), their special teams are even worse (30th), and they need the offense to step up to compensate.

[Video] - Wanny on how the Patriots' tight ends exposed Bears defense.

Loss to Patriots will stick with Brock Vereen - Not-Hub Arnold: The jersey obtained in a postgame exchange with Shane will be among the only positive memories Brock Vereen will take from an otherwise forgettable 51-23 loss.

Rabid Chicago market provides wealth of media opportunities for Bears - Patrick Finley: Fourteen Bears players claim media deals — from five-minute radio hits arranged by the team to hourlong radio shows and half-hour TV sit-downs negotiated by their agents.

'Doug and OB' give voice to Bears fans everywhere - Ed Sherman: Doug Buffone and Ed O'Bradovich aren't concerned with any hurt feelings.

[Video] - Jeremiah Ratliff answers three questions for the Halloween edition of 3 And Out.

[Video] Inside the Bears - Jordan Mills and Anthony Adams get zombified and take part in the scare fest at Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest.

Bears doing good things - Larry Mayer: The Bears are encouraging their fans to donate winter coats at Jewel-Osco locations throughout the Chicago area through Dec. 21 as part of their 26th annual coat drive.

Polish sausage

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Ben Goessling: Vikings want Teddy Bridgewater to learn to process coverages quicker so he knows where to go with the ball sooner in the process ... Everson Griffen named NFC DPotM.

Mark Barron didn't like Buccaneers' defense - Aaron Wilson: Safety describes Lovie Smith's defense as "passive".

Rugby match at Soldier Field rare chance to see world-famous All Blacks - Brian Sandalow: Many of the 60,000-plus in attendance will be rugby fans from across North America eager to see the All Blacks play in the United States for the first time in 34 years. US Eagles coach wants 'blood and guts'.

Breaking new ground in the Windy City - Tom Hamilton: By the time the final ball has been passed or kicked in Saturday's match, USA Rugby chief executive Nigel Melville is certain those in the stadium and others watching on television will be left with no illusion over rugby's potential in the country.

Game preview: New Zealand All Blacks vs US Eagles - No talk of body language, sulky facial expressions, leadership, whose ego is bigger, etc.

Todd Clever wants US Eagles’ battle with All Blacks to win over NFL crowd - Martin Pengelly: US captain Todd Clever is adamant his underdogs can show gladiator spirit against the world champions at a packed Soldier Field.  NZ centre Conrad Smith: NZ always take the opposition seriously, will play to win.

[Video] SportsTalk Live - Previewing rugby at Soldier Field; what are the key differences between the two sports?  Could they help the Bears?

A gridiron fan's guide to rugby union - In case you were planning to take a look at tomorrow's game.  Think of it as near-constant hurry-up in which the same players have to switch seamlessly between offense, defense and special teams.

Marginal Gains: Rugby's bond with the NFL - Tom Hamilton: While the playing transition from top-level rugby to the upper echelons of NFL and vice versa is still in the infant stages of the pathway, American sport has had a huge influence on rugby coaches' philosophies.


Dueling cellos.