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The Bears Den: July 04, 2014 - Chicago Bears offseason news and notes

The NFL's experiment of having four balls simultaneously in play proved too confusing and was quickly shelved, dashing Robbie Gould's hopes of competing for RB/returner roles.

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Time to return to Bears football - Michael C. Wright: While it’s certainly refreshing to see Chicago’s offense finally blossom, Marc Trestman wants to make sure the club doesn’t stray from its roots.

Roster analysis: Linebacker - Michael C. Wright: Bostic and McClellin are competing for the Sam position, but Christian Jones was impressive during minicamps and OTAs, and could fight for time on the field if given the opportunity.

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Clausen will bear watching in camp - Larry Mayer: All eyes in training camp no doubt will be on Jay Cutler and the Bears’ explosive No. 1 offense. But Jimmy Clausen will also bear watching as he battles for a backup QB position.

Rookie spotlight: Will Sutton - Dan Durkin: Sutton must learn a new scheme, adjust to the speed and power of the NFL game and fine tune his body to handle the rigors of a 16-game schedule; he projects as a rotational, situational pass rusher this fall.

Bears mailbag - Not-Hub Fishbain answers readers' questions on the D-line rotation, backup RB competition, and more.

NFCN Blog - The NFCN reporters tackle a key question on each of their teams. Michael C. Wright's is: Will Jay Cutler finally shed his enigma label in Year 2 under Marc Trestman?

ProFootballFocus - PFF breaks down the 2013 QB play of Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.

Ten NFL "contenders" that won’t make the playoffs this season - Buck Stanton: Replacing Julius Peppers with Jared Allen isn’t a cure-all, and Josh McCown isn’t around if Jay Cutler gets injured again in 2014.

Sun-Times Bears section here.

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Polish sausage

The new game: Pass-heavy approach transforming NFL positions - David Steele: It's not just pass-catching tight ends and multi-skilled running backs, but also the defensive side of the ball that has evolved to match them.

30 big-time players heading for contract crossroads - Joel Corry: This season will be pivotal for NFL players entering a contract year or facing a crossroads (typically because of age, salary cap concerns, injury or off-the-field issues). [Includes key Packers and Lions. - Den]

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Rob Rang takes a look at the Vikings' draft class, and thinks Scott Crichton could be their safest pick for Zimmer's more team-oriented approach towards QB sacks.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Chris Burke's offseason report: Even with the additions of Julius Peppers and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, there is reason to wonder if the defense has improved enough. Doug Farrar: Can Clinton-Dix turn tide for Packers' disappointing D?

Aaron Hernandez' menu for today - Apparently today is one of the days in the calendar when America eats itself silly.  Here are the culinary delights that Aaron Hernandez will be enjoying.