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The Weekend Bear's Den, May 28-29, 2016

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The weekend is here again! Althought the Chicago Bears were not in pads this week, they were busy on the practice field working together (mostly) to build a future championship-level team.

Kyle Long is on the verge of becoming the greates player to wear #75 in Chicago
Kyle Long is on the verge of becoming the greates player to wear #75 in Chicago
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

BEAR DOWN!!!!

BEARRRSSSS

Weaver: Jay Cutler's Fantasy Football ceiling for 2016 - Cover32 - Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will not have Bennett or Forte to work with anymore, so he is unlikely to repeat 2014's numbers...

Emma: Bears’ Alshon Jeffery Working Hard In Personalized Offseason Regimen - CBS Chicago - Jeffery is working on personalized workouts with renowned trainer David Alexander.

Dickerson: Kyle Long, Bears equipped to fill leadership voids left by Matt Forte, Matt Slauson - ESPN - The Chicago Bears have gotten in younger, but in the process of doing that they've had to let go of players like Matt Forte and Matt Slauson.

Hub & Co.'s Podcast: Chicago Bears OTA recap, plus interviews with DB Omar Bolden and TE Ben Braunecker - Pro Football Weekly - We can talk football! Well, sort of. Kevin recaps the highlights he can report from the first open OTA to the media and puts in perspective these non-padded practices in May.

Cox: PFF says Bears inside linebackers are second-most improved position group in NFL - Bears Wire - ProFootballFocus has the Chicago Bears inside linebackers as the second-most improved position group in the NFL this offseason.

Mayer: Seven Bears cream of college crop - ChicagoBears.com - Seven current and former Bears have been selected as the top NFL players from their respective FBS colleges, including quarterback Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt.

Mullen: Bears' move away from Forte part of change in run-game philosophy - CSN Chicago - The Bears’ decision to move on from Matt Forte was part of a deeper change in the main operating principle underpinning the run game.

Campbell: Bears counting on Jerrell Freeman's smarts, instincts in defensive overhaul - Chicago Tribune - With Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, the Bears expect more tackles closer to the line of scrimmage, and they're hoping for more big plays.

Rosenbloom: Is Alshon Jeffery's offseason plan to get in shape and get traded? - Chicago Tribune - Wait, Alshon Jeffery can come to town to throw out the first pitch and conduct the seventh-inning stretch at Saturday's Cubs game but he can't come to town to (Ken's Note: it's Rosenbloom... if you know what I mean)

Cox: Ryan Pace and John Fox putting young players to the test early in their careers - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears could have the majority of their starters end up age 26 or younger. They will be put to the test early in their careers.

All Access (audio): Houston on start of OTAs - ChicagoBears.com - Hosts Zack Zaidman, Jim Miller and Tom Thayer chat with Bears outside linebacker Lamarr Houston on the Bears All Access radio show.

Lemming: Three undrafted free agenst most likely to make the Chicago Bears 2016 roster - Scout - The Bears have 15 undrafted free agents on the pre-camp roster but when it's all said and done, these three UDFAs have the best shot at making the final 53-man roster.

Snyder & Sunderbrunch: Draftwatch 2016 Big Board Rankings Roundup - Windy City Gridiron - Who is the media Top Gun in the high stakes player evaluation business?

POLISH SAUSAGE

Clayton: Top 15 NFL free agents still available - Greg Hardy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Donte Whitner - ESPN - Teams have started their offseason programs, but a handful of notable players remain unemployed. John Clayton ranks his top 15 NFL free agents.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Crabtree: Aaron Rodgers blames being mic’d up for Randall Cobb’s punctured lung - ProFootballTalk - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hasn't exactly been a fan of technology creeping onto the field. He doesn't enjoy having cameramen on the field and microphones picking up everything said at the line of scrimmage.

Wilde: No more Mr. Nice Guy, Aaron Rodgers vows to temper offseason praise - ESPN - Last year Aaron Rodgers gushed about one of his receivers. Not again. "We're going to temper expectations," the quarterback said. "There's no pads on."

Demovsky: Peek at Eddie Lacy's workouts with P90X founder Tony Horton - ESPN - Eddie Lacy's workouts with P90X founder Tony Horton were kept out of the public eye, but here's a peek inside what a typical day looked like.

Zinski: Joe Berger, Phil Loadholt get first-team reps in OTAs - TheVikingAgeJoe Berger and Phil Loadholt both worked with the first-team offense in early OTAs practices.

Trotter: Lions want more balance in offense - ESPN Video - Jim Trotter and Darren Woodson break down how the Lions need to adjust to life without having WR Calvin Johnson on their roster.

GREATEST BEARS BY THE NUMBER

In 2011, WCG's Sam Householder did an outstanding "Bears By The Number" series that a lot of folks with us today haven't read. With Sam's permission, I am sharing some of the info with you folks over the couple of weeks as it appeared in 2011, plus the link to the original post that contains more information.

Most number sets, little has changed, but Kyle Long may be transforming #75 from it's 2011 holder into the "greatest Bear" to wear that proud numeral. Is he already there? Probably not, he's at least one pro-bowl short... but I like his chances.

This time we get a good mix of Bears talent; a couple defensive tackles, a couple of guards, two Hall of Famers and the last retired number for the Bears (which was also the first number to be retired for the team). This will be our last look at offensive linemen and the last look at defensive linemen until the 90s. Every guy mentioned in this post was part of a championship winning Bears team, that's a pretty good start!

75 - Fred Williams, DT (1952-63): Williams was a four-time Pro-Bowler who intercepted two passes and recovered nine fumbles. He was a member of the 1963 NFL Champion Bears. He appeared in 140 games.

76 - Steve "Mongo" McMichael, DT (1981-93): Now some members have said that no Bear should be on this list if he played for the Packers. Now McMichael played one season with the Pack, but we can forgive him, right? I mean, it's Mongo!! Nicknamed after the character from the popular film Blazing Saddles, Mongo was a starter the majority of his career as a Bear. He appeared in 191 games which was a team record until a certain Mr. Patrick Mannelly came along. He tallied 92.5 sacks, good for second all time in team history and was a four-time Pro-Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro.

77 - Harold "Red" Grange, RB (1925, '29-'34): Red Grange was an incredible player in his day. Stats are hard to come by but the guy put pro-football on the map. He was a big reason football became so popular because he sold out stadiums all over the country. He was twice a first-team All-Pro and he was as much a running threat as he was a threat in the kick return game. He was a charter member of the Hall of Fame. He was also nicknamed The Galloping Ghost (Sound familiar :)) and the Wheaton Ice Man.

78 - Stan Jones, DT/T/G (1954-65): Jones did it all, he was a Pro-Bowler at both guard and tackle during his Hall of Fame career. He was elected to seven Pro-Bowls and three time was a First-Team All-Pro. Jones was another member of the 1963 NFL Championship team. Honorable Mention: Keith Van Horne, RT (1981-93): Van Horne was another staple of the OL of the 1980s. I know I am too young to remember these guys but from what I understand, each one of them is deserving of their place on my list (which they have all made). Van Horne was never a Pro-Bowler but he played in 186 games with 169 starts. For more read his feature in Taking a Look in the Bears History Book.

79 - Kurt Becker, G (1982-88. '90): I don't know much about this guy but he played years with the Bears, he was a full-time starter in '83 and '84 but after that was a backup. In total he appeared in 92 games for the Bears with 35 starts.