Da Bear Necessities and State Farm have partenered up for a scavenger hunt involving Chicago Bears prizes that include two tickets and sideline passes to the Bears game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night (December 15, 7:30 PM CT) at Soldier Field. Other prizes include Bears jerseys, shirts, and hats.

So what do you have to do to follow the scavenger hunt and be eligible for the prizes?


1. Follow State Farm on Twitter- @StateFarm

2. Follow the hashtag #DoubleCheckDaBears for clues on where the prizes will be given away by State Farm representatives.

So give it a shot, and good luck!

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While Bears fans won't soon forget the team's stunning come-from-behind 28-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night to open up Levi's Stadium, there was unfortunately a heartbreaking moment they won't soon forget either.

In the third quarter, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman got tangled up with a 49ers offensive player and his right arm was clearly in pain. It was soon revealed that the injury was to Peanut's right triceps, the same triceps he tore to end his 2013 season last November.

And then NBC showed Peanut on the sidelines:

That was all we needed to see to realize that Peanut had likely torn his triceps again. And on Monday, that injury was unfortunately confirmed:
The 33-year-old Tillman signed a one-year deal in the offseason to remain with the Bears, and it felt like there was a very good chance this would end up being his last season in the NFL. So, it's very possible this is it for Peanut, and you certainly wonder that even more after seeing tears fall down his face.

If this is the end for Peanut, what a career it's been. The greatest cornerback in Bears history and as classy of a man as you'll find in the NFL (he was just named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2013).  36 career interceptions, nine career defensive touchdowns, 42 career forced fumbles... just eye-opening numbers left and right.

The Bears add more on Tillman's statistical accomplishments:
If you need any more convincing on how good of a career Peanut has had and what an incredible role model he's been (in a league full of disturbing accusations and stories of late), here's just a small sampling of what some people in the football world are saying about him on Twitter:

And I think Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog summarized it perfectly:

Lastly, here are Peanut's comments following the injury news on Monday:

Classy as always, and Peanut will make a great coach to have for the rest of the year, especially for rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.

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A brutal opening loss for the Chicago Bears against the Buffalo Bills also included some injuries to key players.

Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery (they're kind of a big deal) left the game with leg injuries, though Marshall tried to play through his and came up lame trying to catch a pass on what would've likely been a big play in space (summarized how things went on this day). There don't seem to be concerns that Marshall's injury is serious, though.

And as for Jeffery, reports from the Bears' sideline kept saying he was probable to return to the game after a hamstring injury, but never did. It seems like the Bears were just being extra cautious on their star third-year receiver.

While Marshall and Jeffery were each out with injuries on Sunday, the Bears were down to Santonio Holmes, Josh Morgan, and Micheal Spurlock at wide receiver. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've made it clear that I don't think Spurlock should be on the team and I don't understand what he showed during the preseason/camp to earn a precious 53-man roster spot. The Bears talked about Spurlock's return abilities and obviously have been full of question marks there, but he muffed two punts in the preseason, without even having a single good return to top it off. And at wide receiver, he showed very little. It just seemed like there were a few players more deserving of a roster spot than Spurlock out of camp.

Well, on Tuesday, the Bears finally released Spurlock (after he had a bad drop on Sunday... after Cutler for some reason threw to him), and re-signed veteran offensive lineman Eben Britton:

The Britton move was about the most predictable move ever, as two other players that suffered injury on Sunday for the Bears were starters on the offensive line: left guard Matt Slauson and center Roberto Garza. Reports are that Slauson and Garza suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain, an injury that frequently takes 4-6 weeks to heal.

Britton is a veteran known for his versatility on the offensive line and probably would've made the team if not dealing with an injury himself during the preseason. The Bears even lined up Britton as a "tight end" at times last year as an extra blocker.

Brian de la Puente will be the starting center with Garza out, and many would like for de la Puente to keep the job even when Garza is healthy. Here's what Pro Football Focus said about de la Puente, whom they gave their second-highest grade on the Bears for Sunday's game (the grade has since been increased to +3.7):

Brian De La Puente, C: +3.2 

Breakdown: Playing 45 snaps in relief of the injured Garza, De La Puente was integral in the Bears’ comeback attempt. Routinely exhibiting strong work in the run game, he helped open the door for Matt Forte’s solid day. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though, as De La Puente put up a combined +40.8 grade in three years starting for New Orleans. How he ended up in a back-up role is mind-boggling, and if he continues playing as he did yesterday, he shouldn’t stay a backup for long. 

Signature Stat: Perfect in 33 snaps of pass protection.

And guess which Bears player had PFF's highest grade vs the Bills (and PFF's highest grade for any guard in the NFL through week one, actually, at +4.8))? None other than the guy that replaced Slauson at left guard, Michael Ola.

So, there's reason to believe the Bears will be fine on the starting offensive line while Slauson and Garza are out, but their depth obviously took a hit, and that's where Britton comes in. Provided Britton is healthy, quite a fortunate situation to be able to bring back a guy off the street that was solid and very versatile for them in 2013.

In another move on Tuesday, the Bears signed Greg Herd (was with the Bears for a part of preseason) to the practice squad and released defensive tackle Roy Philon from the practice squad:

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Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins (Ribs) is listed as 'probable' to face the Bears

The Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills released their official injury reports on Friday, in preparation for their 2014 season opener coming up Sunday at Soldier Field.

Let's take a look at the Bears' injury news first...

Chicago Bears' Injury Report

David Fales, QB (Shoulder): OUT; Did Not Practice

Tony Fiammetta, FB (Hamstring): Questionable; Limited Participation In Practice

Chris Conte, S (Concussion): Probable, Full Participation In Practice

Brian de la Puente, C (Knee): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

The main storyline here is in regards to (much-maligned) safety Chris Conte, after Conte suffered a concussion in the Bears' third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Conte passed concussion protocol on Thursday, and fully participated in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Conte appears good to go on Sunday, although Marc Trestman plans to ease the safety back into game action, considering Conte also missed training camp and the first two games of preseason following shoulder surgery. Here's what Trestman had to say about the Bears' safety situation on Wednesday:

“We’re going to roll them in,” coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday. “If Chris is up, we’ll rotate the safeties. We’ll rotate them between Ryan, Danny and Chris. Are we set on who’s going to start? No. But I expect all three of them will play and Brock [Vereen] will get some work as well.”
Source: ChicagoBears.Com

The whole "rotating safeties" thing was an eye-opener, but as ESPN Chicago Bears beat writer Michael C. Wright explains, this appears to be a temporary tactic while Chris Conte gets back into game condition; the Bears envision Conte and Ryan Mundy as the eventual starters:

Fullback Tony Fiammetta is listed as 'Questionable' with a hamstring injury, and appears to be the only starting Bears player in danger of missing the game. Quarterback David Fales has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury, but it's unlikely we see Fales on the gameday roster anytime soon anyway (barring an injury to Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen, of course).

Now for the Bills' injury news...

Buffalo Bills' Injury Report

Jonathan Meeks, S (Neck): Doubtful; Limited Participation In Practice

Lee Smith, TE (Toe): Doubtful; Did Not Practice

Anthony Dixon, RB (Hamstring); Questionable; Did Not Practice

Stephon Gilmore, CB (Groin): Questionable, Did Not Practice

Randell Johnson, LB (Ankle): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

Brandon Spikes, LB (Knee): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

Sammy Watkins, WR (Ribs): Probable; Full Particpation In Practice

The Bills also are in pretty good shape health wise, with backup safety Jonathan Meeks and blocking tight end Lee Smith the only players listed as 'Doubtful' to play in the game.

Starting Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore has dealt with a nagging groin injury and is listed as 'Questionable', but is expected to be able to play. Running back Anthony Dixon is also listed as 'Questionable' but is Buffalo's third-string back known more for special teams contributions.

The big news on the Bills' injury front is that wide receiver Sammy Watkins (the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft) should be able to play on Sunday. Watkins has dealt with a rib injury in the preseason, and even was forced to leave the Bills' fourth preseason game after aggravating the injury. But, the electrifying rookie participated fully in practice on Friday and is expected to start at wide receiver vs the Bears.

Still, the injury has limited Watkins' work in preseason and recent practices, and it usually takes rookie wide receivers a bit of time to be major threats in the NFL. So, the Bears may not face quite the same Sammy Watkins that other Bills' opponents likely will as the year goes on.

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Coming into training camp, it was assumed that the battle for the Chicago Bears' No. 2 running back duties was between second-year back Michael Ford, and rookie back Ka'Deem Carey.

Ford was very impressive in the 2013 training camp and preseason as a kick returner and ball-carrier out of the backfield, while Carey had a decorated college career before being selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2014 draft (and keep in mind that the fourth round is an early pick for a running back these days).

But, Ford was released in the first wave of cuts this year, and never really got a chance to show what he could do in the preseason games. Clearly he had not impressed this time around in camp, most likely in the pass-blocking department which Marc Trestman and Phil Emery have made clear is a primary quality that the Bears want out of Matt Forte's primary backup.

And Carey didn't exactly light it up either. The Arizona Wildcats product averaged just 2.7 yards per carry over 27 rushing attempts, and received just a -2.2 grade from Pro Football Focus (110th out of 128 running backs). Some of the concerns over Carey's measurables (such as just a 4.70 40-yard dash at the Combine) looked like they could indeed be issues for him going forward.

Really, the most impressive all-around back in the preseason for the Bears was veteran back Shaun Draughn, who was an under-the-radar signing over the offseason. The 26-year-old seemed like a longshot to make the roster coming into camp, but appeared to actually be the favorite for the No. 2 running back job going into the final preseason game.

But, it's obvious that the Bears wanted Carey to win the job all along. I mean, when you use a fourth-round pick on a running back, you're expecting that player to at least be your main backup at the position. And Draughn is a veteran that has run for just a 3.7-yard average in his career, so it's not like he's a very dependable option either.

So, Bears head coach Marc Trestman announced on Wednesday that Carey will indeed be the No. 2 running back entering the season:

Trestman added that Draughn will be a four-phase contributor on special teams:
The bottom line is that if Forte gets hurt, the Bears appear to have a very bleak running back situation. It would probably turn into a running back by committee approach rather than Carey getting around the same amount of touches that Forte would get.

The good news, of course, is that the Bears' passing game is terrific, and the offense could likely get by with a second-tier running game.

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The result of any preseason game means pretty much nothing, and that's especially the case when you're talking the fourth preseason game. And that's especially the case when you're talking about the 2014 Chicago Bears' fourth preseason game.

Due to not wanting to risk key players getting injured and wanting to get better looks at players on the roster bubble, the Bears sat a whopping 40 players on Friday night in a 33-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns (the Browns sat just six players):

H/T: Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain)

One name not on that list is Santonio Holmes, as the Bears wanted to get a look at the veteran wide receiver for a second game after signing him recently.

It's been in question if the 30-year-old Holmes still has the explosiveness and playmaking ability that made him a great weapon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets over the years (and he of course even won a Super Bowl MVP with the Steelers). And if Friday night is any indication, Holmes still has those qualities.

In the second quarter, rookie Bears quarterback David Fales hit Holmes for a completion under 10 yards away on 3rd-and-14, but Holmes made a great move to elude Browns defenders, and took the ball to the house for a 32-yard touchdown:

And with the Bears' kick and punt return jobs up for grabs after no one stood out in the roles over the first preseason games, the team wanted to get a look at Holmes as a punt returner. Holmes only got one chance to return a punt, but made the most of it with a very impressive 30-yard return:

Even if Holmes is not named the Bears' starting punt returner, it's still nice to know that he looks very capable in the role and brings more abilities to the roster than just being a receiver.

Holmes came into the game on the roster bubble, but you'd have to think he's a near lock now to make the team, and could provide yet another big playmaker in a Bears offense that was already loaded with them.

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Some good news on the injury front for the Chicago Bears on Wednesday at Halas Hall, as right tackle Jordan Mills (foot) returned to practice, and free safety Chris Conte (shoulder) revealed that he will be able to play on Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks.

Mills underwent left foot surgery in January, and had missed all on-field activities until his participation in Wednesday's practice. He hadn't even been spotted walking without a boot on his foot until Monday. But, the fact he's already back practicing is a very good sign, and hopefully he can play in the Bears' final preseason game next week against the Cleveland Browns.

In Mills' absence, rookie Michael Ola has been very impressive at right tackle and it seems like the team would be comfortable with Ola starting over Mills come week one if Mills isn't back in game shape or has any issues with the foot.

As for Conte, the 25-year-old made his first 2014 practice on August 10th, after being on the PUP list due to shoulder surgery he underwent in April. Now has a chance to make a statement over these final two preseason games in the Bears' wide-open safety competition.

Conte's 2013 struggles are well-documented, but the fact is that he may be the most talented free safety on the roster and likely has a very good shot at a starting safety job still. If nothing else, his presence may make Ryan Mundy, Brock Vereen, Adrian Wilson, Danny McCray and company step up their game up a little bit in this battle for starting jobs and roster spots.

In other encouraging health news, kick returner/wide receiver Chris Williams' hamstring feels better and he too will play on Friday night:
As you see there, I said "That's big", because Williams really needs to get into game action and show what he can do, as the Bears evaluate their options at kick/punt returner and wide receiver.

Williams impressed in the preseason opener when he reeled in a 73-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Clausen, but injured his hamstring on the play. But the play demonstrated the elite speed Williams possesses and it's why that, along with potentially being another nice weapon in the Bears' offense, he could be the best kick/punt return option on the roster.

Right now, nobody is impressing in the return game for the Bears, and Williams was an electrifying returner in the CFL. However, the 26-year-old has yet to attempt a return in preseason for the Bears, and he's never even played a regular season game in the NFL. So, before you hand Williams a kick/punt returner job, you want to see what he can do there in NFL game action (albeit preseason), and you also want to make sure his hamstring is not going to be an issue going forward.

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DBN Material

Bears Place Tight End Zach Miller (Foot) On Injured Reserve- Super crappy news here after Miller was so impressive in the preseason opener. Injuries are the story of his career, unfortunately.

Podcast: Talking Bears With 'The Lineup' On Radio DePaul- I jumped on 'The Lineup' (a Chicago sports talk show for Radio DePaul) to talk Bears football with Eli Hershkovic on Saturday. This was soon after the Santonio Holmes news, but before the news that the team was cutting wide receiver/kick returner Eric Weems.

Topics include Holmes, the No. 2 QB battle, the No. 2 RB battle, the run-blocking struggles, the special teams struggles, & more. You can listen to a podcast of it here:

Thanks to Eli for having me on. He really does a great job on that show and gets some tremendous guests (much, much better than myself for certain), so make sure to give him a follow on Twitter (@EliHershkovic) and tune in to the show. (Eli Hershkovic; The Lineup)

Bears Roster Moves & Injury News

Bears Sign Santonio Holmes, Release Eric Weems- The Bears recently had Santonio Holmes in for a workout, but it was still pretty stunning to see news that the Bears were signing the NFL veteran and Super Bowl XLIII MVP.

Holmes has had off-the-field issues, been considered a "locker room cancer", and has dealt with injuries in recent years. He should not be expected to be the Santonio Holmes of a few years ago, but, who knows. Maybe a change of scenery and being around guys like Brandon Marshall that have turned their lives around since joining the Bears can help keep Holmes' head on straight, and get him to perform like a great player again. And for the No. 3 wide receiver on the Bears, that would make an explosive offense even more explosive.

If he ends up being a distraction or not performing well on the field, the Bears just cut him. It's as simple as that. It's a low risk, high reward move.

As for Weems, the fact he was already cut was as surprising to me as Holmes being signed. Weems was brutal in the Bears' two preseason games at wide receiver and returner. He fumbled a kick return, couldn't make it past the 20-yard line on the other kick returns, and pissed off Jay Cutler when he didn't come back to a pass that he could've. But, he came into the second preseason game as the No. 3 wide receiver and first wide receiver on the field next to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and he was the primary kick returner. So, just seeing him flat-out released right after that is a bit shocking to me, although with how Phil Emery runs things, a bold move like that maybe shouldn't be so surprising.  (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Report: Santonio Holmes Gets Minimum Salary Deal From Bears- According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Holmes received a one-year deal for a non-guaranteed salary of $855,000 — the veteran minimum. If the 30-year-old Holmes doesn’t make the club, the Bears won’t be on the hook for any more compensation. But if he proves a solid third option behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, the Bears will have made quite the value signing. For Holmes, the deal functions as a one-year “prove-it” contract.

So, Holes has a non-guaranteed salary of $855,000, the veteran minimum. There is nothing to lose here for the Bears. They can cut Holmes and be on the hook for nothing if he is a "cancer", doesn't impress on the playing field, etc., etc. And if he's what they hope, he's a damn solid, play-making third receiver (and likely fifth option in targets).   (Mike Wilkening; Pro Football Talk)

Marc Trestman On Santonio Holmes: 'People Change'- The Bears are well aware of Holmes' past and why he was on the street this far into the preseason, but Marc Trestman thinks Holmes can change (and obviously, otherwise they wouldn't have signed the wide receiver):

"We spent time with him," Marc Trestman said Monday, via the Chicago Tribune. "I mean, people change. They get into new venues, new environments. You're out for a while, you get a good, hard look at where you are not only in your work life, as well as other aspects of your life." (Mike Coppinger; NFL.Com)

Holmes Plans To 'Embrace' Opportunity- (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Bears Signing Holmes Makes Team Leadership Statement- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Signing Santonio Holmes Could Be Huge Boost For Bears If WR Can Stay Healthy- (Kristopher Knox; Bleacher Report)

Holmes Could Be A Big Upgrade- (Andrew Dannehy; Da Bears Blog)

Report: WR Marquess Wilson Could Miss 12-14 Weeks- When promising Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson broke his collarbone on August 5th, it was assumed he would be out 6-8 weeks. But, it sounds like it may instead be 12-14 weeks, in which case it seems likely that he'd end up on the short-term Injured Reserve. That would officially keep the 21-year-old out of the first eight games, but the Bears may have no choice if he may miss that amount of time anyway, as doing so would allow them to carry another player on the roster through that time frame.

If this report is accurate, is it why the Bears signed Santonio Holmes? The Bears are denying that's the case, but you have to wonder. Wilson was very likely to be the No. 3 wide receiver to open the season. Let's hope he can at least play half the season and at least make a big step in his development, as he's a very intriguing prospect. (NFL Trade Rumors)

Bears Sign KR Darius Reynaud & CB Peyton Thompson, Cut P Tress Way & LS Chad Rempel- The Bears released punter Tress Way and long-snapper Chad Rempel on Monday, and as corresponding omves, signed return specialist Darius Reynaud and cornerback Peyton Thompson.

While the Bears built up the Tress Way/Pat O'Donnell competition to really be a, well, competition, it was hard to see Way having a realistic shot at the job. The Bears wanted to keep Mr. 'Megapunt' motivated and to go out there and prove it, but when you use a draft pick on a punter... you'd better be using that punter.

Rempel was competing with Brandon Hartston for the long-snapper job after SuperBear Patrick Mannelly decided to retire, so it should be assumed that the job is Hartson's now.

Darius Reynaud is a veteran returner that you may remember an electrifying running back/receiver at West Virginia back in the day. The thing is, he's pretty much a returner-only in the NFL now, as evidenced by the Bears calling him a "return specialist" upon the signing. A big reason why they didn't seem to even bother keeping Devin Hester was that it's an inefficient use of a roster spot for a guy that only returns kicks. But, with Eric Weems struggling and ultimately being cut, Micheal Spurlock muffing two punts, and Chris Williams missing time with a hamstring injury, the Bears needed another returner around for the remainder of the preseason. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Bears Hold Out Six From From Monday's Practice"The Bears held out guards Brian de la Puente (MCL sprain) and Eben Britton (hamstring), cornerbacks Isaiah Frey (hamstring) and Kyle Fuller (ankle), right tackle Jordan Mills (foot) and linebacker Lance Briggs (knee bruise). 

 Bears coach Marc Trestman called Fuller, Mills and Briggs day-to-day. But Mills hasn’t yet played in a preseason outing, and there’s growing concern that his regular-season availability could be in jeopardy."  (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Mills Misses Another Practice, But Ditches Walking Boot- Bears right tackle Jordan Mills has missed all of the preseason, and is unlikely to play vs the Seahawks on Friday, but he's at least ditched the walking boot on his foot. (Brad Biggs; Chicago Tribune)

Bears/Jaguars Reactions

ReFocused: Bears-Jaguars- Ben Stockwell of Pro Football Focus breaks down the Bears' preseason victory. His three performances of note: Jay Cutler, Jon Bostic/Shea McClellin, and the Bears' cornerbacks.

Here's an excerpt  on what Stockwell took away from the performances of Bostic and McClellin:

The linebacker corps was a disaster for the Bears last season and they got off to a poor start against the Eagles last weekend. A few days on, though, and things will look a little brighter. New convert Shea McClellin put in a much improved display in run defense capitalizing both on unblocked situations as well as disrupting and defeating blocks to allow others to make plays around him. He still looks a little uncomfortable in coverage, but as a fresh convert from the defensive line, that should hardly be a surprise. 

Last year’s second-round pick, Jon Bostic, had about as polar opposite a performance from the preseason opener as you could manage. After struggling in both run and pass defense at the weekend, Bostic made positive plays in both phases last night (39 snaps, +3.1 overall).

Bostic's most impressive play came on the game's first drive, when he blew up Jaguars left tackle Luke Joeckel (the No. 2 overall pick in 2013) to get into the backfield to get a tackle for a loss on 3rd-and-1 (you can see the GIF of that awesome play at the end of the post). After how bad Bostic and McClellin looked against the Eagles, it was extremely encouraging to see them look much better in the second preseason game.

Here's some of the high and low grades given to Bears players by PFF:

Top 4 Offensive Grades Vs Jaguars
1. QB Jay Cutler, +1.6 (14 snaps)
2. RB Senorise Perry, +1.0 (14 snaps)
3. LG Robert Turner, +0.9 (46 snaps)
T-4. TE Martellus Bennett, +0.8 (14 snaps)
T-4. WR Josh Morgan, +0.8 (30 snaps)

Bottom 4 Offensive Grades Vs Jaguars
1. RB Ka'Deem Carey, -2.2 (28 snaps)
2. WR Josh Bellamy, -2.1 (25 snaps)
3. LG Joe Long, -2.0 (14 snaps)
4. C Roberto Garza, -1.4 (24 snaps)

Top 4 Defensive Grades Vs Jaguars
1. LB Jon Bostic, +3.0 (38 snaps)
2. DE Cornelius Washington, +2.6 (18 snaps)
3. CB CJ Wilson, +1.7 (13 snaps)
T-4. CB Tim Jennings, +1.5 (29 snaps)
T-4. CB Charles Tillman, +1.5 (28 snaps)

Bottom 4 Defensive Grades Vs Jaguars
1. LB Khaseem Greene, -2.9 (30 snaps)
2. CB Kelvin Hayden, -1.4 (33 snaps)
T-3. DE Austin Lane, -1.0 (26 snaps)
T-3. DT Will Sutton, -1.0 (26 snaps)

Jon Bostic's 38 snaps were the most played on defense; newly acquired offensive lineman Robert Turner's 46 snaps were the most on offense. (Ben Stockwell; Pro Football Focus)

Bears-Jaguars Observations: Devin Hester Is Missed- While it doesn't mean the Bears should've given a returner-only the $3 million the Atlanta Falcons did to sign Devin Hester (and note: the Falcons plan to use him at receiver too... good luck with that), the Bears definitely miss Hester so far this preseason. Eric Weems was absolutely awful as the primary kick returner, Michael Spurlock has muffed two punts (granted, he was never expected to make the team)... there has not been a notable return once, both in the kick and punt return games.

Chris Williams is probably the best option at returner (and could end up being an electric one as he was in the CFL), but he missed this game with a hamstring injury, and you'd like to see him showing what he can do in game action before just handing the regular season duties to a guy that has been playing in the CFL. So, the  (Adam Hoge; The Game)

Bears-Jaguars: Notes, Scribbles, & Things Jotted Down- Steven Schweickert's notes taken during the game. Lots of good takes here. (Steven Schweickert, Windy City Gridiron)

Impressions From Bears-Jaguars- (Dan Durkin; 670 The Score)

Report Card: Offense Solid As Bears Beat Jaguars- (James Neveau; NBC Chicago)

Chicago Bears: What We've Learned Through Week 2 Of Preseason- (Ross Read; Bleacher Report)

Bears Preseason Rookie Report: Week 2- (Mike Flannery; Bear Goggles On)

More Bears Stories

Morgan To Receiver First Shot At Bears' No. 3 WR Job- Marc Trestman says that veteran wideout Josh Morgan will get the first crack at the Bears' No. 3 wide receiver job, even with the signing of Santonio Holmes.

And this makes plenty of sense, for a few clear reasons. One, Morgan is a solid receiver that has three years of 40+ receptions in the league, and has impressed in the preseason. I wanted him to get time with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in the previous two games. Two, Santonio Holmes should be handed nothing. The Bears want Holmes to go out there and show he still has it on the field, and that his head is in the right place. Three, Holmes still has to learn the offense and develop a solid quarterback/receiver relationship with Jay Cutler.

Holmes may ultimately win the No. 3 job, but going into the Seattle game, Morgan should be the guy in that role. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Bears Stand To Measure Progress Friday Against Seahawks- The third preseason game is generally considered the most "regular season"-feeling preseason game, as the starters usually play more (and many of them then sit out the fourth game). And this year, the Bears' third preseason game happens to be against the defending champions in the most difficult road venue in the sport. So, this game could be a nice measuring stick for the Bears. (Sam Householder; Windy City Gridiron)

Breaking Down The Bears' Likely Opening Game Starting Lineup- (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

2014 Preview: Chicago Bears- (Tyler Horn; Pro Football Focus)

Bears Wait For Backup RBs To Set Themselves Apart- (Patrick Finley; Chicago Sun-Times)

The Future Price Of Alshon Jeffery- What is it going to cost to keep Alshon Jeffery around long-term? Bear Goggles On's Alexander Zorn takes a look. (Alexander Zorn; Bear Goggles On)

Tweet Of The Day
Tweet Of The Day No. 2
Video Of The Day 

Santonio Holmes with a 69-yard touchdown reception for the Jets in week three of 2013 (he had 5 receptions, 154 yards in the game):

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Much of the talk following the Chicago Bears' 2014 preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles was about tight end Zach Miller, after the 29-year-old reeled in six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears' 34-28 victory.

And with all of the talk of how well Miller played in the game, came the explanations of how he's long been an intriguing player, but has never been able to stay healthy after being a sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska-Omaha in 2009 (he was an option quarterback there, actually). Miller's 2011 season ended after just four games due to injury, and he missed the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injury.

Well, just six days later, Miller's awful luck continued. The tight end left the Bears' preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday with a foot injury, and on Friday, the team announced that Miller has been placed on injured reserve due to the injury:
Ugh. No details on what the foot injury is, but obviously it's something bad if the Bears are immediately placing Miller on injured reserve.

It appeared Miller could really form a great tight end duo with Martellus Bennett in the Bears' passing game, but thinking about that feels secondary right now. Best of luck to Miller in his recovery and let's hope he can stay healthy next year (whether it be with the Bears or someone else), as he clearly has talent and can be a productive player in this league.

As a corresponding roster move, the Bears signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Kofi Hughes to a one-year contract:
The 6'2", 217-pound Hughes had 47 catches for 739 yards (15.7 AVG) and and seven touchdowns at Indiana in 2013.

UPDATE: ESPN Chicago's Michael C. Wright tweets that the Miller's foot injury involves a torn ligament, and the tight end will have foot surgery on Tuesday:
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The Chicago Bears host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night at Soldier Field (and on national TV, ESPN), for their second preseason game of 2014.

Here are seven things to focus on with the Bears during the game:

Special Teams

The Bears' special teams play was brutal across the board in the team's preseason opener. The kick coverage unit allowed a 102-yard touchdown return. Michael Spurlock muffed a punt and nobody stood out in the return game. Robbie Gould had a 41-yard field goal attempt blocked (we're obviously not worried about him, though). Pat O'Donnell and Tress Way are battling for the punter job, and were each inconsistent. There were three special teams penalties, one of which nullified a 63-yard punt from Way (the one good punt).

The special teams play must improve, and there are many jobs to be won on the special teams units. Pay attention to what players are standing out (or at least executing their jobs) on special teams against the Jaguars.

Jimmy Clausen

I simply have "Jimmy Clausen" here instead of "Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer", because if Clausen keeps playing well, the No. 2 quarterback job should be is. Even though Marc Trestman will keep telling you that this is an even competition between Clausen and Palmer that will go down to the last minute, it seems like the job is Clausen's to lose.

So, another strong showing for Clausen on Thursday night and it would be hard to see him not being Jay Cutler's primary backup come week one (unless the team were to sign Kyle Orton, of course).

Jon Bostic & Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin played in his first game at outside linebacker in the Bears' preseason opener, after the 2012 first-round pick disappointing at the defensive end position the previous two seasons. But, things didn't look much better for McClellin in his linebacking debut, as he struggled vs the run and pass with some of the same issues that have seen in the past, frequently taking himself out of the play.

And then there's Jon Bostic, in his second season for the Bears after being a second-round pick out of Florida in 2013. Bostic is in a battle with veteran D.J. Willliams for the starting middle linebacker position, and is working with the first-team nickel defense. But, he too looked bad in the preseason opener, after the team was expecting him to make big strides in his second NFL season (and with new linebackers coach Reggie Herring).

The Bears were counting on Bostic and McClellin to be key contributors at linebacker for 2014 and for one of them to be a starter entering the season (realistically at strong-side linebacker with D.J. Williams at middle and Lance Briggs on the weak-side), so they really need to start showing improvements.

Safety Battle

This is a wide-open competition, with Chris Conte joining the mix after returning to practice in the last week following shoulder surgery that kept him out of on-field activities all offseason. It appears that Conte will not play on Thursday night, but Ryan Mundy, Brock Vereen, Adrian Wilson, and Danny McCray should all be out there fighting for jobs.

Mundy made an interception in the preseason opener, but it was giftwrapped to him thanks to pressure from defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Willie Young on Nick Foles. The improved pass-rush is why the Bears should get much better safety play in 2014 even if the safety talent level isn't necessarily better; the deficiencies at safety can be masked as we saw in 2012 with the same safety tandem that looked awful in 2013.

But, you'd like to see a safety or two start to stand out from the rest of the group, and not feel like you are basically starting backup-level players at the position.

No. 2 Running Back Battle

Coming into camp, it was assumed that the No. 2 running back duties would go to rookie fourth-rounder Ka'Deem Carey or second-year player Michael Ford (impressed last preseason). But, the No. 2 running back against the Eagles was veteran back Shaun Draughn, who averaged 3.9 yards per rushing attempt over 59 carries with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.

Marc Trestman has made it clear all offseason that pass-blocking is of significant importance when it comes to Matt Forte's backup, and Draughn has impressed in that regard during camp. So, pay attention to how these backs look when blocking.

Josh Morgan & Eric Weems

Marquess Wilson appeared to be a near lock for the No.3 wide receiver in the Bears' offense, before suffering a fractured clavicle that is expected to keep him out of action for 1-2 months. It's even possible the Bears put Wilson on the short-term IR (designated-to-return), which would mean that he would not be eligible to play until week 9. It's something the Bears certainly don't want to do, but they may feel it's the best course of action if Wilson is going to miss a lot of time anyway. They don't want to waste a 53-man roster spot on a guy that is going to miss several games.

So, for at least a while, the Bears are in need of a third receiver after Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The most likely candidates are Josh Morgan, Eric Weems, and Chris Williams.

Williams showed off his ridiculous speed with a 73-yard touchdown reception against the Eagles, but he also pulled his hamstring on the play and will not play against the Jaguars. Keep an eye on Morgan and Weems, both in terms of their production and how many snaps they play (particularly with the first-team offense).

Jared Allen

We know what he can do and that he's going to be a starting defensive end... but Jared Allen playing football in a Bears uniform for the first time? This will be fun (and weird) to see.

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Bear Down On The 8/13/14 Links

Posted by Matt Clapp | 8/13/2014 03:58:00 PM | ,

Jay Cutler & Zach Miller Were The Stars Of The Bears' Preseason Opener. 

We're now just 25 days away from the Chicago Bears' 2014 regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills,, and one day away from the Bears' second preseason game, a nationally televised (ESPN) contest vs the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field. Additionally, the Bears finished up their training camp at Bourbonnais on Tuesday.

Let's catch up on the happenings around Bears camp, and also catch up on the reactions of the team's preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday since this is our first post since then (apologies for our laziness; we plan to kick it into gear now)...

Bears-Eagles Reactions

Pro Football Focus' ReFo: Bears-Eagles- Kiernan Hogan of Pro Football Focus breaks down some of the key things to takeaway from the Bears' 34-28 victory.

Also, I'm a Pro Football Focus subscriber (as I recommend too if you're a football and advanced data nut), so I went looking through the grades of every Bears player from the game (crazy that they take the time to grade every player from every preseason game)...

Top 4 PFF Grades On Bears' Offense Vs Eagles:
1. QB Jay Cutler +2.5
2. TE Zach Miller +2.4
3. WR Michael Spurlock +1.3
4. WR Chris Williams +1.2
5. C/G Brian De La Puente +1.1

Bottom 4 PFF Grades On Bears' Offense Vs Eagles
1. OL Michael Ola -3.0
2. OL Joe Long -2.9
3. C Dylan Gandy -2.7
4. OT Dennis Roland -2.5

Top 4 PFF Grades On Bears' Defense Vs Eagles
1. CB Sherrick McManis +2.5
2. CB Demontre Hurst +1.6
3. DT Jeremiah Ratliff +1.5
4. S Adrian Wilson +1.4

Bottom 4 PFF Grades On Bears' Defense Vs Eagles
1. LB Jon Bostic -5.5
2. LB Shea McClellin -4.6
3. DE Austen Lane -4.4
4. DT Will Sutton -3.5

Bostic and McClellin have the two worst grades given out by PFF so far this preseason. It's all "take it with a grain of salt" stuff in the preseason, but that's not a good start for two linebackers that need to start making a positive impression. (Kiernan Hogan; Pro Football Focus)

Five Things Learned Vs Eagles- Jeff Dickerson writes about five things to take away from the Bears' preseason win. (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Positives From The Bears' Exhibition Win- Video report featuring Bears writers Brad Biggs and Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune following the game. (Chicago Tribune)

Negatives From The Bears' Exhibition Win- (Chicago Tribune)

Bears Defense Already Looks Much Better- (Bob LeGere; Daily Herald)

Clausen Grabs Upper Hand In Back-Up Quarterback Battle- Most have assumed that Jimmy Clausen has the edge over Jordan Palmer for the No. 2 quarterback job, and Clausen figures to be an even larger favorite for the job after what we saw on Friday night. (James Neveau; NBC Chicago)

A Fine Defensive Line Lifts Bears In Preseason Opener- Well that defensive line sure looked much better than the one we saw last year, and that's certainly no surprise. Newcomers Lamarr Houston and Willie Young were impressive, as was veteran Jeremiah Ratliff (whom we only saw for the final five games last season). And Jared Allen didn't even play in this one as he sat out after attending to a personal matter for a couple days earlier in week. So, very nice start for the defensive line and hopefully a sign of things to come. (Mark Potash; Chicago Sun-Times)

Strong Night For Bears QBs In Preseason Opening Win- Bears quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Jordan Palmer, and Jimmy Clausen combined to complete 24 of 37 passes for 339 yards, four touchdowns, and a 119.1 QB rating in three quarters of play. You'll definitely take that. (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Cutler, Scott Step Up In Bears Win- Defensive end Trevor Scott has impressed in camp, and carried that over to his performance in the Bears' victory. (James Neveau; NBC Chicago)

New Era Of Bears' Special Teams Struggle In Nearly All Areas- The Bears' special teams play on Friday night certainly could not have left Joe DeCamillis happy. It was ugly, across the board. (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Rookie Roundup: Bears Newcomers Impress In NFL Debut- (Scott Krinch; CSN Chicago)

Bears' Adrian Wilson A Big Hit At Safety- Five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson was very impressive in the Bears' preseason opener. Although 34 and perhaps not what he once was, Wilson has a chance to be a starting safety for the Bears, or at least right in the thick of their safety rotation. (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Training Camp Reading Material

Bears Reinstate Martellus Bennett- Tight end Martellus Bennett returned to Bears practice on Sunday, six days after serving a suspension and being fined by the team for his altercation with rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller in practice. However, the assumption is it was much more than just because of how he acted that day and has been a build-up of events/attitude issues that led the organization to do this. Whatever the case, hopefully Martellus learned his lesson and all should be good now. Let's hope so, because the Black Unicorn is a big part of the Bears' offense. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Conte Makes Immediate Impact In Return- Chris Conte had his first practice on Sunday after missing every practice and the team's offseason program following shoulder surgery. And during Monday's practice, he even intercepted a pass in the end zone before returning it back 100 yards for a touchdown. The crowd even cheered the much-maligned player's efforts. Good for Chris, and if he can get back to game action soon (it sounds like the third preseason game is most likely), he may have a chance to win a starting job in this wide open safety competition. (James Neveau; Grizzly Detail)

Why A Chris Conte Renaissance Could Go A Long Way Towards Defining The 2014 Bears On Defense- Great read here from Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog. (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)

Brian de a Puente Suffers MCL Sprain- An MRI revealed that veteran center/guard Brian de la Puente suffered a grade 2 left MCL sprain in the Bears' preseason opener. While he's likely to miss a couple weeks, it should be considered good news given that many feared he had an ACL injury. (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Bears Sign C/G Rob Turner- With de la Puente going down and Eben Britton also out at the time being with a hamstring injury, the Bears have signed veteran center/guard Rob Turner. Turner started six games for the Tennessee Titans in 2013 and all 16 games for the St. Louis Rams in 2012. Not a bad guy to be able to bring off the street this time of the year for a camp body (and potentially more if de la Puente or Britton's rehab takes longer than expected). (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Camp Day 14 Notes: Clausen Will Take 2nd-Team Reps Vs Jaguars- Notes from day 14 of camp, the final day at Bourbonnais. Among the tidbits is news that Jimmy Clausen will be the No. 2 quarterback on Thursday night against the Jaguars. But, this was likely planned regardless of how Clausen and Palmer performed against the Eagles, as Trestman wanted each quarterback getting No. 2 reps. (670 The Score)

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Week 3 Stock Report- (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

Trestman Mixing Up Personnel On Defense- Notes from day 13 of camp. (670 The Score)

Bears' New-Look Defensive Line Can Help Mask Other Deficiencies- Zach Kruse with a great write-up on how the defensive line can make the rest of the Bears' defense look much better. A quality defensive line can mask issues at safety, for example. Chris Conte and Major Wright looked just fine there in 2012 with a quality pass-rush up front... and looked like absolute garbage in 2013 with an absolute garbage pass-rush up front. Even if the safety talent isn't any better in 2014, a good pass rush can hide that. (Zach Kruse; Bleacher Report)

Bears' No. 2 QB Situation Is Mighty Unsettling- Tim Baffoe with a great column on how ugly the Bears' backup quarterback situation is on paper. Jimmy Clausen has looked impressive in camp... but he's still Jimmy Clausen. Jordan Palmer is 30 years old and has thrown 15 passes in the NFL. After what Trestman got out of journeyman quarterback Josh McCown last year, there's plenty of reason to believe he can continue working his magic on guys like Clausen and Palmer, but you still have to be pretty nervous about how things will go if Jay Cutler gets hurt. (Tim Baffoe; 670 The Score)

Jay Cutler Showing A 'Second Wind' With Bears- Jay Cutler looked great in the Bears' win over the Eagles and appears to have made many strides in his second training camp under Marc Trestman. Great, great news, and let's hope he can stay healthy. (Mark Potash; Chicago Sun-Times)

Is Jay Cutler Ready To Take His Game To The Next Level?- It would appear he most certainly may be. (Whitney Daniela; Bear Goggles On)

Kyle Fuller's Fine Play Overshadowed By Training-Camp Tussle- Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller has had a great first training camp, even though most of the talk has been about the incident he had with Martellus Bennett. Alshon Jeffery is very, very impressed with the rookie:

“He’s going to be a star in this league,” Jeffery said. “He makes a lot of plays. He’s a tough competitor. He likes to compete. It’s just something he was born to do. He’s a great cornerback.” (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

So Far, Bears' Special Teams Not Very Special- (Bob LeGere; Daily Herald)

Jordan Mills Likely Out Again Vs Jaguars- Bears starting right tackle Jordan Mills is expected to miss his second consecutive preseason game due to a sore left foot. He's been wearing a boot on the foot. Mills had some struggles in his rookie year and the time he's missing can't be helping his development heading into his second year. Additionally, Eben Britton who may be next in line at right tackle is still out himself with a hamstring injury. So, this is definitely concerning even if the injuries appear to be minor. (Rich Campbell; Chicago Tribune)

Zach Miller Could Bring Bears Closer To Two TE Threat- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Khaseem Greene No Longer Overthinking It- (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Chicago Bears' Projected Roster- Michael C. Wright with an updated Bears 53-man roster projection. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Comparing Bears' Roster Depth In 2013 And 2014: Offense- (Johnathan Wood; Da Bears Beat)

Forte: We Have A Chance To Be Really Good This Year- (CSN Chicago)

Mundy On Bears' D: 'Sky's The Limit- (670 The Score)

Young: 'Motor Everyone Plays With Is Crazy'- (670 The Score)

Pleased To Meet You: Preseason Week 2, Jacksonville Jaguars- Steven Schweickert of Windy City Gridiron previews the Bears' second preseason game. (Steven Schweickert; Windy City Gridiron)

Video Of The Day

Best Of Bears Training Camp Highlights- A video from the Bears' official website showing some of training camp's top moments.

Also, here's a link to the photo gallery of some of the top photos from camp: Top Bears camp photos. (ChicagoBears.Com)

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Bear Down On The 7/30/14 Training Camp Links

Posted by Matt Clapp | 7/30/2014 03:24:00 PM |

The Chicago Bears completed their fifth training camp practice (and third padded practice) on Wednesday. Their first preseason game is just 9 days away, against the Philadelphia Eagles. Pretty awesome, huh?

As Izzy Mandelbaum would say, "It's go time!" So let's get to the links to get caught up on the latest Bears happenings in Bourbonnais, as well as some nice Bears takes from writers around the web...

Reading Material

Bears Camp Report: Day 5- Michael C. Wright recaps the events at Bears camp on Wednesday. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Day 4 Training Camp Notes- Our buddy Matt Eurich was in attendance at Bears camp on Monday and wrote a nice summary on the day's events at Bourbonnais.

I also got a chance to talk to Matt today and he told me that he was particularly impressed with two newcomers to Bears camp, rookie first-round pick Kyle Fuller and former CFL wide receiver/returner Chris Williams. Matt said that "Williams seems to just fit in seamlessly", and Cutler "seemed pretty high on him (Williams)".

The 26-year-old Williams came into camp as the favorite to take over Devin Hester's duties as the Bears' main return man, and it seems he's only helping those chances so far. The main question marks have been in regards to whether or not Williams is a worthy No. 4 or No. 5 receiver, as you'd like to have the guy be able to be more than just a returner if he's going to be a part of the 53-man roster. But, he's been impressing in that area so far in camp. (Matt Eurich; Sulia)

Chris Williams Could Be Devin Hester's Flair Apparent At Returner- More on Chris Williams. Also, nice headline. (Mark Potash; Chicago Sun-Times)

Long Cleared To Begin Conditioning- Bears second-year guard Kyle Long appears to be ready to go in camp after missing all of camp so far with a viral infection. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Eben Britton Sidelined By Hamstring Injury- Versatile Bears offensive lineman Eben Britton (primarily a tackle) was carted off Wednesday's practice with a left hamstring injury. However, he believes the injury isn't a big deal. Let's hope not because his versatility is key with the Bears' offensive line rotation, and it's possible he could even challenge Jordan Mills for the starting right tackle job before long. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Brandon Marshall: Jay Cutler Will Be MVP In 2014- The reactions to this one will be fun!

Also in this link is Michael Irvin getting together with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, and Martellus Bennett in camp, so check that out. (Marc Sessler; NFL.Com)

Durkin's Training Camp Notebook: Rookie Class Playing Meaningful Reps- Dan Durkin writes how Bears rookie defenders Kyle Fuller, Brock Vereen, Will Sutton, and Ego Ferguson are getting lots of reps in camp. (Dan Durkin; 670 The Score)

5 Players Turning Heads At Bears Camp- (Ross Read; Bleacher Report)

Bears Add WR Dale Moss To Roster- It sounds like Terrence Toliver may have a fracture in his foot, in which case bringing in another receiver to camp certainly makes sense. (Brad Biggs; Chicago Tribune)

Bears WR Wilson Grabbing Some Attention- This could definitely be a breakout year for Marquess Wilson, who figures to be the Bears' No. 3 wide receiver. (Bob LeGere; Daily Herald)

McCray Enters Mix In Bears' Safety Dance- Veteran safety Danny McCray got some work in with the Bears' first-team defense on Wednesday. This race is wide open. (Chris Emma; 670 The Score)

Ford, Carey Eager To Prove Themselves In Running Back Battle- Could Michael Ford have the edge over Ka'Deem Carey in the running back race so far? Both are capable backs and it will likely come down to which one the Bears feel is the better pass blocker. Look for this race to go deep into the preseason. (James Neveau; NBC Chicago)

Bostic Hopeful Versatility Translates To On-Field Success- (James Neveau; NBC Chicago)

Jay Cutler Building Rapport With Backups- Jay Cutler is taking some reps with the second-string guys more this camp, in an effort to familiarize himself more with guys like Marquess Wilson and Chris Williams. (Sam Householder; Windy City Gridiron)

Martellus Bennett Working On Yards After Catch- YAC! Martellus Bennett was very good for the Bears last year and he's looking to get more big plays in an offense that was already going to have a ton of them. Good stuff. (Patrick Finley; Chicago Sun-Times)

Audible At The Long Snapper?- Phil Emery and Marc Trestman may be trying to get Patrick Mannelly to come out of retirement soon. (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)

Punter O'Donnell Emerges As Fan Favorite- MEGAPUNT! (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Nate Collins Stars In Bears' Pass-Rush Drill- Nate Collins is kind of a forgotten guy when it comes to the Bears' defensive line in 2014. An underrated all-around contributor at defensive tackle and he was very missed when he tore his ACL last season. He's impressing so far in camp, and should be a key part of a rotation that could feature Jeremiah Ratliff, Stephen Paea, Will Sutton, Ego Ferguson, and Lamarr Houston (on passing downs). (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Offensive Continuity Critical For Marc Trestman & The Chicago Bears- Good read here from Ryan Wooden on how crucial year two is in Marc Trestman's offense. (Ryan Wooden; Chicago Bears Huddle)

New Top-Secret Bears Defense Is No Joke- (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Bears Look Like Monsters On Offense- (Jon Greenberg; ESPN Chicago)

Bears Wanting Cutler To Take More Control Of The Offense- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Bears Linebackers Coach Reggie Herring Receiving Rave Reviews- Great to hear. (Mark Potash; Chicago Sun-Times)

Chicago Bears' Projected Roster- Michael C. Wright with a very early projection on the Bears' 53-man roster. A few of his picks may surprise you. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

The Bears Should Bring Back Kyle Orton- Sam Householder at Windy City Gridiron writes how the Bears should bring back free-agent quarterback Kyle Orton to be the No. 2 quarterback in Chicago. And I 100% agree, as long as Orton would be in full-on football mode and have his heart in it. All of the speculation was that the 31-year-old Orton planned to retire, and that's why it was assumed that the Cowboys released him. But, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently said that Orton still plans to play and that they really liked Weeden as their No. 2 quarterback (choosing him over Orton would be a bit questionable in my opinion).

The bottom line, though, is if Orton wants to play, Phil Emery should be in contact with him. On the surface at least, Orton is a far better option than Jimmy Clausen, Jordan Palmer, and David Fales as the Bears' No. 2 quarterback. (Sam Householder; Windy City Gridiron)

Bettors Hammering Over On Bears' Season Win Total- 95% of bettors on Bovada are picking the Bears to win over 8.5 games. Given that the Bears went 8-8 with the worst defense in the league last year and return an offense that should only be improving, that seems like a good bet on the surface, right? (670 The Score)

Shutdown Corner: Bears Have Offense, Just Need Better D- Frank Schwab of Shutdown Corner (Yahoo Sports' NFL blog) has the Bears ranked seventh in his preseason power rankings. That's ahead of everyone else in the NFC North. Schwab concludes his article with the following:

The only reason I'd pick Green Bay over Chicago in the NFC North is Aaron Rodgers. While that's no minor reason, I think the Bears defense will improve a ton and the offensive talent is pretty ridiculous. I think Trestman will be even better in his second year, and while I'm a bit skeptical on Cutler, I do think this is his big season we've all been waiting for. They win the NFC North, although matchups will dictate how far they go in what will be an incredibly competitive NFC playoffs.

(Frank Schwab; Shutdown Corner)

Tweet Of The Day

Technically it's from three days ago, but whatever. ESPN Chicago's Michael C. Wright (who has been following the team daily for years) on the Bears' defense:

Video Of The Day

Alshon Jeffery returned to Bears practice on Wednesday, after missing Monday's camp activities on the field with a foot injury. And it looks like Alshon's foot is feeling just fine (via @Rich_Campbell):

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VIDEO: Brandon Marshall Signs 3-Year Contract Extension On 'The View'- Our post on Brandon Marshall's contract extension, including video of his announcement and signing of the contract live on 'The View'.

Around The Web

With New Deal, Marshall Intent On Retiring A Bear- Brandon Marshall will be around at least four more years in a Chicago Bears uniform, and maybe even more than that in his mind.

“They’re going to have to rip the jersey off of my back,” Marshall said. “Coming in, I always said I wanted to play 14 years. That was my goal. But maybe (I get to) 36 (years old). Who knows? ... Maybe with modern medicine and all this new technology, I can potentially play (for 20 years). But I’ve had three hip surgeries. I’m just asking for six more.” (Dan Wiederer; Chicago Tribune)

Bears Smart To Lock Up Brandon Marshall, But Move Is Not Without Risk- The Marshall contract was pretty much a no-brainer for Phil Emery to get done, but that doesn't mean there aren't risks with the signing as well. (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

Marshall Extension The Ultimate Risk-Reward For Emery And The Bears (Mike Burzawa; Bear Goggles On)

Bears Needed To Bring Back Rock On Offense- Michael C. Wright writes why the Bears had no choice but to lock up Marshall. (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Marshall Impressed With Bears' Offseason- Marshall, like most of us, has been very impressed with what the moves Phil Emery has made this offseason.

"Phil Emery and the guys upstairs have done an amazing job, not just this year, but also last year," Marshall said Tuesday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "What they've done on the offensive side and how they revamped the offensive line in one draft and one free agency [is impressive]. Now they are doing the same on the defensive side." (Michael C. Wright; ESPN Chicago)

Cutler, Marshall Deals Lock In Changing 'Face' Of Franchise- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Brandon Marshall Talks Career Goals- "I'm trying to pass Cris Carter in everything. I don't think I have it in me to go for Jerry [Rice]. That's 20 years I would have to play. Maybe with modern medicine and all this new technology, I could potentially play that long, but I've had three hip surgeries. I'm just asking for six more [years in the league]." (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Brandon Marshall Fine Continuing NFL's Disgraceful Treatment Of Mental Illness- Must-read piece here from Jeff Hughes. (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)

Alshon Jeffery Is On Deck For A Big Deal- Alshon Jeffery is eligible for a new contract after the 2014 season, and is set to be a free-agent after the 2015 season. It's hard to see any chance the Bears let their young star receiver get away, but they're likely going to have pay him a pretty hefty contract. (Mike Florio; Pro Football Talk)

Super Bowl Window Open Now For Bears (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Early Projections For The Bears' Final 53-Man Roster- Matt Eurich projects the Bears' 53-man roster. The only player (as he and I already talked about) that I think should be on these projections at the moment that isn't, is kick returner Chris Williams. Phil Emery spoke highly of Williams on the radio on Monday. (Matt Eurich; Bleacher Report)

Projected Chicago Bears 2014 Starters- (Gregg Rosenthal; NFL.Com)

What Offseason Moves Are Next For The Bears With The Draft Complete- (Ross Read; Bleacher Report)

'More Physical' Rookie Camp Leaves Bears Upbeat- (John Mullin; CSN Chicago)

Bears Sign Rookies Perry, Trice- The Bears signed Louisville running back Senorise Perry and North Texas safety Marcus Trice after the two players impressed on a tryout basis at rookie minicamp. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Emery: Greater Value At CB Over S- One of the many reasons the Bears liked cornerback Kyle Fuller over safeties such as Calvin Pryor and HaHa Clinton-Dix was the greater value cornerbacks have in the NFL over safeties.

“You can’t lose sight that as a league, the corner position is more valued,” Emery said. “There was a number of top safety contracts recently signed: Jairus Byrd, Earl Thomas, Donte Whitner and T.J. Ward. Look at those contracts versus the top cornerback contracts recently signed: Richard Sherman, Aqib Talib, Sam Shields and Joe Haden. On the average, those deals for cornerbacks are much higher, starting on average per year from $10 million to $14 million. The range for safeties is about $7 million to $10 million on the very top end. 

"Cornerbacks have always been more valued than safeties, so you always have to look at the value of the position. You also have to look at who you play and at the league as a whole. A good portion of the time your third cornerback is a starter. There were times last year the nickel cornerback played 70 to 80 percent of the snaps. We look at the nickel as a versatile player that can play inside, outside and cover tight ends, running backs and wideouts. We definitely knew we would get the rep value when we took Kyle Fuller. For us, that was the best player for the Bears.” (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Fales To Push For No. 2 Job, Eventually- (Larry Mayer; Chicago Bears.Com)

Jordan Palmer First In Line As Bears' Backup QB- Marc Trestman told Jordan Palmer that the quarterback will have the first shot up (ahead of rookie David Fales) at being Jay Cutler's backup(Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Jordan Lynch Embraces Change To Running Back. Will He Make Bears Roster?- Jordan Lynch is not an NFL quarterback, and he immediately accepted that, signing as a running back with the Bears as an undrafted free agent right after the draft ended on Saturday. You have to certainly respect that after players like Tim Tebow have been in denial about their (lack of) abilities as an NFL quarterback, and rejected opportunities to try to make NFL rosters at other positions.  (Jeff Hughes; Da Bears Blog)

Pass-Protection Next Thing On Jordan Lynch's To-Learn List- Pass-protection is one of the most important areas Jordan Lynch will have to impress at in order to make the Bears' 53-man roster.  (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Ka'Deem Carey Poised To Be Matt Forte's Understudy With Bears- (Patrick Finley; Chicago Sun-Times)

Rookie Punter Shows Strong Leg- Pat O'Donnell was booming punts at rookie minicamp. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

Christian Jones Fueled By Draft Snub- While Jordan Lynch gets most of the talk for the Bears' 2014 undrafted free agent class, Christian Jones is probably the top prospect of the group. The Florida State linebacker was projected to be a second or third-round pick before failing a drug test at the Combine. And he's ready to show teams that they made a mistake in not selecting him in the draft. (Larry Mayer; ChicagoBears.Com)

DeCamillis: Mannelly's Future Unknown- Patrick Mannelly, 39, has been a Chicago Bear more than any player in franchise history. But, following hip surgery (and of course with his age), the perennial long snapper and perennial Bears special teams captain isn't sure if he wants to play in 2014. (Jeff Dickerson; ESPN Chicago)

Aaron Kromer's Role Expanding In 2014 (Sam Householder; Windy City Gridiron)

Bears LB Coach Reggie Herring Tackles Problem At Position (Adam L. Jahns; Chicago Sun-Times)

Yes, Of Course Phil Emery Uses Lil Wayne To Inspire His Staff- Hahahahaha, Phil. (670 The Score)

Audio: Phil Emery On With 'Mully & Hanley' (670 The Score)

Audio: Phil Emery On With 'Carmen & Jurko (ESPN Radio 1000)

Video Of The Day

Highlights of the Bears' spectacular wide receiving duo that is together for at least two more years (and likely at least four, assuming No. 17 signs an extension eventually), Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery:

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