The Bears open up their 2013 preseason, and the Marc Trestman era, against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium tonight in Charlotte, NC.

Let's go to some Bears-related links to get caught up on the stories/notes in the world of the Chicago Bears as we head into this game...

Here At DBN

Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden out for the season with a torn hamstring

Reacting to the Bears' preseason depth chart


Around The Web

10 players to watch in Bears' preseason opener- Adam Hoge writes about his 10 players to keep an eye on tonight, and why. Make sure to click through and read the explanations, but I'll list the players:

1. RG James Brown.
2. RG Kyle Long
3. LB Jon Bostic
4. CB Isaiah Frey
5. S Brandon Hardin
6. DT Zach Minter
7. CB Demontre Hurst
8. RB Michael Ford
9. OT Jordan Mills
10. DE Cornelius Washington

Hard to argue much with that list, but I'll add some players of my own to keep an eye on:

WR Joe Anderson- If the season were to begin today, it's hard to see him not being on the roster. It sure seems like he's the No. 4 wide receiver at the moment, he's impressing more seemingly everyday in camp, and he was a big factor on special teams late in 2012. Barring an awful preseason or other wide receivers really stepping up, it's hard to see Anderson not making the roster. What interest me more, is if he'll be a legitimate contributor at wide receiver, and a quality preseason showing there would certainly help those chances.

WR Eric Weems- Whereas Anderson's stock is continuing to trend upward, Weems' is going in the opposite direction. He hasn't stood out at wide receiver in training camp, and Devin Hester is the clear No. 1 kick returner, diminishing Weems' value to the team there. He'll likely need to make some plays in the preseason games to have a decent chance to make the roster, in my opinion. Right now, I think he's on the outside looking in.

WR Marquess Wilson- Seeing a trend here? Wilson was an extremely talented wide receiver in college, but quitting his team (Washington State) understandably put quite a dent in his draft stock. But again, he has the talent, and if he has his head on straight, the Bears may have gotten a steal in the seventh round. And if he shows off his talent in these preseason games, it will be hard for the Bears to keep him off the roster (and someone else may want him on their roster, thus potentially preventing him from being a practice squad option).

QB Matt Blanchard- I don't see him beating out Josh McCown (and that's not an endorsement for McCown either) for the backup job, but then again, I don't really know how good Blanchard is. Few do. All we can go by is some preseason action last year and two training camps, as he was a Division III  player in college. An impressive showing in camp could go a long way to positively shape the Bears' (and our) view of him, and perhaps cause for a backup QB controversy.

TE Fendi Onobun- Highly talented and athletic (a former basketball player) at 6'6", 260, but he's been unable to stick with any teams because he's been unable to get it done when the lights come on. He'll get the chance to prove he is more than just a practice star in these next four games.

OL Eben Britton- For why to pay attention to him, read the article below about him, which is ironically from Hoge as well.

LB Khaseem Greene- A fourth round pick out of Rutgers in 2013, Greene is a tackling, fumble-forcing machine that should fit in very well with what the Bears have done on defense in recent years. He's currently the second-string strongside linebacker behind veteran James Anderson, but a nice preseason could have him possibly taking that job away from Anderson before long.

Five things to watch: Bears-Panthers (ESPN Chicago)

Top five things to watch in Bears-Panthers (Bear Goggles On)

Top five things to watch in Bears-Panthers (Chicago Sun-Times)

Pleased to meet you: Preseason Week 1, Carolina Panthers (Windy City Gridiron)

Bears Stock Watch: Which players are rising and falling through 2 weeks of camp- Great stuff from our buddy Matt Eurich (@MattEurich) (Bleacher Report)

Bears don't need Trestman to be a "quarterback whisperer"- Terrific read from Dan Durkin on what the Bears need out of Marc Trestman as head coach. Durkin did some great research on stats most correlated with wins. (670 The Score)

Cutler will play Friday, but not very much- Jay Cutler will start for the Bears at quarterback tonight, but don't expect him to be in there for more than a series or two:

“It could be three plays, it could be one play, it could be eight plays,” Trestman said. “I’m not trying to be smart. We’ll see how the flow of the game goes. If we go three and out, we’ll decide if he goes back in for another three. He may not.” (670 The Score)

Blitz could be coming for Bears- (Chicago Tribune)

Melton part of new wrinkle in Tucker's defense- New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has Bears' start defensive tackle Henry Melton setting up in a stand-up position on some plays in training camp, and it's something we could see in the regular season.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Melton got out of his customary three-point stance and rushed the passer from a stand-up position, something first-year defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is experimenting with in training camp.

"That's a little wrinkle he's bringing to us," Melton said. "We're just testing it out right now. We're going to see how it works for us, and we'll see if we're going to run it." 

A converted college running back who rushed for 10 touchdowns as a freshman at Texas, Melton said he's comfortable rushing the quarterback from a stand-up position because "I'm an athlete." 

"Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it," said the 6-3, 295-pounder. "If it's going to help us win, I'm all for it."  (ChicagoBears.Com)

Britton taking advantage of reps at Left Tackle- Adam Hoge writes how Bears' free-agent signing Eben Britton is looking solid as an offensive tackle so far in camp. And Britton may be the starting left tackle tonight, as Jermon Bushrod is expected to sit as a precautionary measure as he recovers from a calf injury.

Britton was pretty bad for the Jacksonville Jaguars last year at guard, after losing his offensive tackle job there, but he's impressing so far in camp, and that would really be nice for depth purposes if he could be a competetent backup tackle. And perhaps even push J'Marcus Webb at right tackle.

Make sure to read Hoge's great article, but here's a nice excerpt from it:

Britton sounds like a guy who is taking nothing for granted. In fact, he almost sounds like a guy who is expecting to be cut. But the fifth-year pro looking for new life in the NFL has performed very well throughout training camp, and at this point, it would be surprising if he doesn’t stick with the Bears. 

“He’s had a very productive start of camp,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “He’s versatile. He can play just about every position, both on the left and right side. At this point I can say he’s definitely involved in being part of this roster – on a week-to-week basis. The 46″ 

By that, Trestman means not only will Britton likely make the roster, but he should be among the seven offensive linemen dressing every week. (670 The Score)

Matt Blanchard looking to leave a mark (Chicago Sun-Times)

2013 stats over/under: Brandon Marshall (Windy City Gridiron)


Marc Trestman buys $2.94 million home in Winnetka (Chicago Tribune)

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