Chicago Bears: 2009-10 Regular Season

Bears preview: Make-or-break stretch

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
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The first half of this team's schedule fits that description, considering the Bears play five of their first seven outings on the road against the 49ers, Jets, Panthers, Falcons and Patriots. If the Bears go into their Nov. 2 bye relatively healthy with a record of at least .500, the rest of the schedule sets up nicely, with just three road games remaining and the rest set for the frigid winter conditions at Soldier Field, a definite home-field advantage during the latter portion of the season.

Complete Bears season preview.

Chicago Bears' projected roster

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
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Examining the Chicago Bears' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
If there's a change here, it would only involve the release of Fales because Clausen has earned the No. 2 spot over Jordan Palmer, who was released on Sunday. The team likes Fales as a developmental player.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Draughn appears to have a firm hold on the No. 2 job, and the Bears released Michael Ford, leaving Carey as the only potential candidate for the backup running back job. Draughn should open the regular season as Forte's backup.

RECEIVERS (5)

Nothing changes here as Morgan showed enough in the preseason to secure a spot. Holmes' superior talent warrants the Bears keeping him around as they continue to look for a temporary replacement for Wilson.

TIGHT ENDS (2)

Rosario remains the most well-rounded tight end among the candidates for the second spot, and none of his competitors have stood out.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)

Injuries to De La Puente, Mills and Britton give cause for concern considering none have put in any quality repetitions during preseason games.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

The Bears released Nate Collins on Sunday, which could leave an extra spot for either Cornelius Washington or David Bass. If the Bears go with 10 defensive linemen, Bass could make the cut.

LINEBACKERS (6)

This group has struggled throughout the preseason, but the team will likely take these players into the regular season. Jerry Franklin remains on the bubble.

CORNERBACKS (5)

The combination of youth and experience makes this position group one of the team's strongest.

SAFETIES (5)

The Bears released Adrian Wilson, as age and injuries appear to have caught up to him. The Bears probably won't keep five safeties, but if they do, it'll come down to Steltz and M.D. Jennings.

SPECIALISTS (4)

The Bears let go Chad Rempel, which means Hartson probably won the training camp competition. Williams missed the club's last game due to a sore hamstring, and needs to play in the preseason finale to secure a spot.

Five things learned in 1st half vs. Seattle

August, 23, 2014
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SEATTLE -- Here are five things we learned in the Chicago Bears lopsided first half against the Seattle Seahawks:

1. Seattle is on a different level: The season is not over. In fact, the real season is still two weeks away. No, the thrashing received at the hands of the Seahawks does not disqualify the Bears from a playoff berth in 2014. But did you honestly believe heading into Friday night the Bears were on par with the defending world champions? Not even close. The Seahawks are elite. The Bears are slightly above average. The No. 1 conclusion that can be reached after Friday: The Bears' year will end if they have to travel back to Seattle for a playoff game in January. But didn't you already kind of figure that was the case?

2. Slow night for veteran defenders: Veteran players have a tendency to coast through the preseason. Let's hope that's the case for repeat Pro Bowlers Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. All three appeared to be a step slow at certain points of the first half, especially when Briggs tried to chase down Russell Wilson on a 7-yard touchdown run. Tillman's endured rough nights in the preseason before, only to turn it on when the regular season rolled around. With several question marks on defense, the Bears cannot afford for their star players to have subpar seasons.

3. Pass rush was OK, actually: Wilson is ridiculously good when asked to move outside the pocket and make defenders miss. And the Bears did miss on several occasions in the first half. But Wilson did face fairly consistent pressure from the defensive line, notably Willie Young and Lamarr Houston. Young, who started in place of Jared Allen (bruised shoulder), recorded six tackles, one sack and had two quarterback hurries over the opening 30 minutes of play.

4. Chris Conte sees action: Conte made a couple mistakes. He failed to secure a tackle on the opening kickoff, and then whiffed on a tackle early in the third quarter. But he also prevented a touchdown when he separated a receiver from the ball in the endzone and later delivered a big hit near the Bears sideline that flipped a Seahawks ball carrier upside down. Overall, it wasn't a bad preseason debut for Conte. I can't imagine he hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster and competing for a starting job either now, or down the road, unless he suffered a concussion. Conte left the game in the third quarter.

5. Little change on special teams: The third phase continues to be a problem area. Maybe Chris Williams was wise to miss another preseason game due to a sore hamstring; because none of the return men did anything special. That remains an issue. A low punt by Pat O'Donnell allowed Seattle's Earl Thomas to rip off a 59-yard punt return. O'Donnell did make a touchdown saving tackle, but I'm sure he'd like that kick back.

Bears to ease in Santonio Holmes

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
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video 
Chicago Bears reporter Michael Wright says Santonio Holmes might not see much playing time against Seattle.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Santonio Holmes put in extra time after Monday's practice at Halas Hall after the rest of the Chicago Bears left the field to work with backup quarterback Jordan Palmer and receivers coach Mike Groh.

Holmes chalked it up as business as usual for a new player joining a new team, and hopes he exactly fits what the team is looking for in a No. 3 receiver.

Holmes
"I'm excited," Holmes said. "I'm really going to embrace this opportunity and take advantage of it. This is what new guys get treated to. They get treated to an opportunity to learn the reps and know the plays that you'll probably be sent in to run. I'm taking full advantage of it. My impression of the offense is it's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting this year. I look forward to what we have."

Holmes took part in his first practice with the team Monday after being signed on Saturday. Brandon Marshall said Holmes would bring "experience" and "big plays" to the offense, and believes the veteran quickly worked himself into the mix on his first day with the club.

Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who spent time with Holmes at Ohio State, said he remembers the receiver as "a playmaker" who was "able to make big catches. He was a guy who could give you a chunk on offense."

The Bears don't necessarily need that. The offense simply needs a consistent complement to top receivers Alshon Jeffery and Marshall, while Marquess Wilson -- who was expected to be the No. 3 receiver this season -- recuperates from a fractured clavicle suffered during training camp.

The MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, Holmes has caught 381 passes for 5,963 yards with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2006-09), and New York Jets (2010-13). Holmes can also contribute on special teams, as he's returned 66 punts for 636 yards and a touchdown in addition to 18 kickoffs for 436 yards.

Holmes said "if It will help the team, I'm all for" contributing in the return game. Still, there's a question as to whether Holmes' health will hold up over 16 games. Holmes caught 23 passes for 456 yards and a touchdown last season in 11 games. The year before, Holmes played in four games before suffering a lisfranc injury which put him on the shelf for the rest of the season.

Asked about his reputation for being difficult with teammates, Holmes said "nobody's talked about it. Nobody's brought it up. So it won't be an issue here."

One of Holmes' first orders of business is to build a rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler.

"It's gonna be big," Holmes said. "He knows who I am, and I know who he is. I know what he has to offer, and I have to prove to him what I have to offer to the team, which is showing up, being on time, being accountable, catching every pass from him and showing him how hard I want to work in this offense. I'm excited to be here with him. He's taken me under his wing, talked to me and kept me close."

Holmes spent part of Monday's workout fielding punts, and Bears coach Marc Trestman said the plan is to find as much value in the receiver as possible, while adding he's got to overcome a steep learning curve in absorbing Chicago's offense.

Trestman isn't concerned about Holmes' past.

"What's in the past is in the past," Trestman said. "I'm excited about it. I've watched him work the last couple of days. He's been out running and catching the ball a little bit with Jay and the guys. It's good to see him out here. We'll see how it goes. This will be a one-day-at-a-time [situation]. We'll just ease him on in and see where this thing goes on a day-to-day basis."
Kyle Fuller missed the majority of the Chicago Bears' win Thursday night over the Jacksonville Jaguars after suffering an ankle injury, but the club couldn’t provide an update on the first-round cornerback.

“I think we’ll see where he is as we get into Sunday and Monday,” said Bears coach Marc Trestman, speaking of both Fuller and recently waived/injured tight end Zach Miller.

Fuller hurt the ankle during the game’s opening kickoff, but was later seen walking along the sideline under his own power. Fuller didn’t appear to be in any pain, and after the game he walked through the locker room without crutches or any type of walking boot.

The injury isn’t believed to be serious, and Fuller told reporters after the game that X-rays on the ankle came back negative.

There’s a chance the Bears could be taking a cautious approach with Fuller, who played extensively last week during the team’s preseason opening win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The No. 14 overall pick of the NFL draft out of Virginia Tech, Fuller had been playing with the starters at cornerback opposite Charles Tillman.

Return of Bennett, Conte helps Bears

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
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ESPN.com Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright discusses the return of two key players for the Bears.

Chicago Bears' projected roster

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
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Examining the Chicago Bears' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Jimmy Clausen appears to have passed Jordan Palmer, but Bears coach Marc Trestman maintains the situation remains fluid. Fales' delivery looks a bit odd, but he knows where to go with the ball, makes quick decisions and anticipates well. The game wasn't too big for Fales in his NFL debut.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Local favorite Jordan Lynch probably won't make the 53-man roster, but he's shown he's capable of playing in the NFL. Lynch is probably a practice squad candidate, but other teams could become interested if the former quarterback plays well in the preseason. The team needs to give Ford more reps in its next preseason game.

RECEIVERS (5)

Wilson is expected to miss some time in the regular season, which means players such as Weems, Morgan, and Josh Bellamy have a legitimate shot to win the No. 3 job. Chris Williams suffered a hamstring injury scoring a touchdown in the preseason opener, and it could wind up costing him a job.

TIGHT ENDS (2)

Miller displayed the promise he showed as a rookie in Jacksonville back in 2009, catching six passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles. Miller will likely unseat Dante Rosario, but the Bears could still wind up keeping the latter if they decide to go with three tight ends.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)

The newcomers may not have a chance to crack the roster, because the offensive line is deep. Injuries to De La Puente, Mills and Britton have given some of the younger players a shot at more repetitions. But they still won't be able to beat out the proven players already on the roster.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

Scott and Lane have come on strongly enough that they could actually become regular contributors in the defensive line rotation.

LINEBACKERS (6)

McClellin continues to struggle, but the coaching staff remains optimistic he'll develop into a starting-caliber strongside linebacker. This entire group struggled in the preseason opener and needs to improve moving forward, because linebacker is a featured position in this revamped scheme.

CORNERBACKS (5)
Isaiah Frey started to make plays at camp, but a hamstring has left him sidelined for the past several practices. Frey was the club's starting nickel corner last season, but may have trouble making the roster if he can't get back out on the field to show what he can do.

SAFETIES (4)

Tough decisions loom at this position. For the past several practices and the preseason opener, Mundy and McCray have worked with the starters. Craig Steltz and Conte are back off the physically unable to perform list. Veteran Adrian Wilson is beginning to look like a long shot to make the roster.

SPECIALISTS (4)

Williams has been solid as a receiver thus far at camp, but a hamstring injury could sink his chances if he doesn't return soon. Besides that, Weems is a proven commodity as a special-teamer.

Five things learned vs. Eagles

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
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CHICAGO -- Here are five things we learned in the first half of the Chicago Bears preseason opener versus the Philadelphia Eagles:

1. Tight ends rose to the occasion: Martellus Bennett's still on-going suspension for conduct detrimental to the team paved the way for reserves Zach Miller and Dante Rosario to see extended action in the first half. Neither disappointed. One of the under radar stories of camp, Miller continued to make a strong push to earn a 53-man roster spot by catching six balls for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Jacksonville used to have high hopes for Miller, but he kept getting hurt. If Miller can stay healthy, he gives the Bears another pass-catching option at tight end after Bennett, who is expected to eventually rejoin the team. Rosario managed to hang on to a 23 yard reception despite absorbing a crushing blow from behind on the play. To sum it up: Bennett wasn't missed, at least on this night.

2. Surplus of talent exists at CB: Questions still linger at safety, but the Bears have protected themselves at cornerback. Tim Jennings' quad injury opened the door for rookie first-round pick Kyle Fuller to receive ample reps with the starters throughout camp in the base defense and nickel package, where ideally Fuller and Charles Tillman patrol the outside with Jennings in the slot. But the depth at cornerback goes beyond Fuller. Veterans Kelvin Hayden and Sherrick McManis have been solid ever since the club reported to Bourbonnais, Illinois and McManis showed up with a first quarter interception against the Eagles. The Bears look to be a legit five deep at cornerback. How many teams can say that?

3. Reserve DL make it interesting: Watching second-string defensive end Trevor Scott tie for the team lead with three first-half tackles hammered home the notion that the Bears will probably have to cut a pretty good defensive line when the organization sits down to shape the final roster. Imagine that. Last year the Bears couldn't find three good defensive linemen, much less 10. But after the projected starting five of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea, the Bears find themselves with at least seven players worthy of playing in the NFL: Scott, Willie Young (roster lock), Ego Ferguson (second round pick), Will Sutton (third round pick), Nate Collins, Austen Lane and David Bass. They all can't stay. From the Bears' perspective; this is a nice problem to have.

4. Bumpy debut for McClellin: Maybe the coaches' film will reveal something to the contrary, but from the press box, it looked as if Shea McClellin struggled on multiple occasions Friday night in his first taste of live NFL action from the linebacker spot. McClellin appeared to lose sight of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz on an 18 yard completion inside the red zone, falling down before Brock Vereen made the stop just short of the goal line. That play occurred immediately following another breakdown in coverage when Ertz seemed to run right past middle linebacker Jon Bostic for a 34-yard catch. On Philadelphia's next drive, McClellin was a complete non-factor trying to pursue Eagles running back Matthew Tucker on a 24-yard gain around left end. McClellin never even touched Tucker on his way down the field. Meantime, Khaseem Greene just keeps making plays when given the opportunity. We haven't seen that skill yet from McClellin.

5. Special teams stinker: Joe DeCamillis is charged with the difficult task of teaching his special teams scheme to a back-half of the roster that has endured substantial offseason turnover. Think about it. DeCamillis has a finite period of time to teach all these new guys his sometimes complicated system. And these aren't the star players, mind you, like Marc Trestman had the good fortune to work with last year when he installed his offense. But such is life in the NFL. The Bears committed multiple penalties on special teams, surrendered a 102 yard kickoff return and endured a poor night from their punters. To say the unit needs to tighten up is an understatement.

Bears owe Cook County millions in taxes

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
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CHICAGO -- An Illinois appeals court says the Chicago Bears owe $4.1 million to Cook County in amusement taxes, plus interest.

A three-judge panel at the 1st District Appellate Court posted its ruling Thursday on the dispute. Cook County has been seeking the tax payment from the Bears since 2007.

Bears lawyers argued the 3 percent amusement tax should only apply to admission-related fees and not to premium-seat extras, such as the cost of food, drinks and parking. In its 2-1 decision, the judicial panel disagreed. And it ruled the Bears should have paid taxes on the full, face-value of the tickets.

Wilson injury sparks WR search

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
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video
ESPN.com Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright discusses Marquess Wilson's injury situation.

Bears Camp Report: Day 6

July, 31, 2014
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Chicago Bears training camp:
  • Safety Adrian Wilson seems to be gaining a level of comfort in Chicago’s scheme, which in turn has resulted in the veteran playing somewhat faster. But don’t be fooled by Wilson’s seemingly average workout pace as some within the organization believe he’s “practicing like a veteran,” meaning he’s expending as little energy as possible just to make it through camp and into the preseason games. For Wilson, the exhibition games are where he’ll make his mark, and that’s when people within the organization expect the safety to go full bore. Considering he’s currently in a backup role, expect Wilson to receive significant snaps late into the games against mostly backups, and he’ll need to play well -- nearly dominate -- before the staff feels comfortable enough to put him into the mix for one of the starting jobs. The coaching staff hopes Wilson pans out because if he does, it gives the Bears an intimidating force on the back end they haven’t had in several years.
  • The Bears pumped in the music as usual for the individual portions of practice, but when the team simulated some live situations, staffers piped in crowd noise through the public address system. The extra noise didn’t seem to affect execution on either side of the ball.
  • Strangely, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Matt Forte seemed to drop more passes in one day Thursday than they had throughout all of training camp. Jeffery and Forte each dropped two passes with the former making up for it by hauling in a long ball late in practice between two defenders. Chris Williams, a candidate to become the club’s primary punt returner and a backup receiver, muffed a punt and also dropped a pass.
  • Despite Marshall's drop, he made perhaps the catch of the day in a goal-line drill. With Demontre Hurst draped all over him, Marshall made a spinning one-handed grab for a touchdown. Marshall receives points for difficulty on this one as he caught the touchdown with his left hand.
  • Just before the start of practice, the Bears announced they signed offensive lineman Graham Pocic to a one-year contract and waived receiver Terrence Tolliver with an injury settlement. Pocic signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Illinois.
  • Non-participants at practice Thursday included safeties Craig Steltz (groin) and Chris Conte (shoulder) along with guards Kyle Long and Eben Britton (hamstring). Long has been cleared to return to practice, but won’t be back in pads until the club’s night workout Saturday at Soldier Field. Britton wasn’t on the field with teammates as he spent all of the practice rehabilitating inside with athletic trainers.
  • Jermon Bushrod, Stephen Paea, Austen Lane, and Jordan Mills were the stars of one-on-one drills featuring offensive linemen against defensive linemen. Paea made the most impressive move of the day, using a swim move to blow past Roberto Garza in just one step.
  • The Bears practice again Friday at 9 a.m. CST.

Great expectations for Jared Allen

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
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video ESPN Chicago Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson says veteran Jared Allen is expected to infuse enthusiasm and leadership to a rebuilt defensive line.

Chicago Bears' projected roster

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
8:00
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Examining the Chicago Bears' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Jimmy Clausen continues to gain ground on Jordan Palmer, and appears poised to unseat the him for the No. 2 job behind Cutler. Fales' delivery looks a bit odd, but he knows where to go with the ball, makes quick decisions and anticipates well. Fales needs to throw it downfield more.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Local favorite Jordan Lynch probably won't make the 53-man roster, but he's certainly flashed early on at camp. Lynch appears to be a practice-squad candidate, but other teams could become interested if the former quarterback plays well in the preseason.

RECEIVERS (5)

Despite the team's high expectations, Wilson has been relatively quiet early on at camp, while Marshall and Jeffery have shown they might finish 2014 as the NFL's top duo at the position. Morgan has made a few plays at camp, as has Weems and Chris Williams, who are both in the mix for roles on special teams as well. The Bears could choose to go with six at this position, and if that's the case, Williams makes the cut if he hasn't already as a special-teamer.

TIGHT ENDS (2)

All the candidates possess different strengths. So it will come down to what the Bears want in a No. 2 tight end. If they want blocking, Matthew Mulligan is the guy. If they want consistency, it's Dante Rosario. If they want a young, all-around player, it's Miller, who still needs to improve as a blocker.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)

The team's newcomers at these position will find it difficult to crack the roster, because this group is deep. The starting five from 2013 returns for this season. Brown, Britton and De La Puente are capable of starting

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

Scott, Lane and Collins will likely push out some of the youngsters, such as Cornelius Washington, who hasn't turned heads during the first week of camp. Scott has been impressive early on at camp, as has Young.

LINEBACKERS (6)
Jordan Senn won't make this team based off special teams alone, and Greene just seems to have a knack for being around the ball and making plays. Besides that, the Bears won't be giving up on the 2013 fourth-rounder because he hasn't given them any reason to.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Now fully healed, Hayden made plays every day in the first week of camp, and is making the evaluation process difficult for the coaching staff, which wants to keep Jennings inside at nickel on sub packages so rookie first-rounder Fuller can get on the field.

SAFETIES (4)

Conte and Craig Steltz remain sidelined, which isn't helping their chances of making the team. But when healthy, Conte -- despite his subpar 2013 season -- is probably the most talented athlete of the position group. It appears the Bears are bringing along Wilson slowly with few reps. The veteran needs to make the most of the few snaps he's been given.

SPECIALISTS (4)

Williams has been solid as a receiver thus far at camp, which might push him ahead of Micheal Spurlock, Armanti Edwards and Josh Bellamy.

Wake-up call: Second day of practice

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
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Every day of training camp, we'll have a wake-up call that previews the day ahead.

9:00 a.m. CT -- Bears practice without pads (open to the public).

Approx. 11:30 a.m. CT -- Marc Trestman and select players will be available to the media walking off the practice field.

Saturday is the final practice of helmets and shorts before the Bears strap the pads on for the first time on Sunday. Fan attendance at ONU is expected to swell over the weekend after a large crowd turned out on the first day. If fans want to secure a spot next the fence where the players exit the field, the best bet is to arrive early because the line to enter the practice field facility stretched around the entire parking lot on Friday. Remember, locate the camera cranes to determine which field the team will conduct their full-team drills on that specific day.

Among the storylines we’ll be following:

1. Can the offense bounce back following a sloppy start to camp?
2. Will rookie Kyle Fuller continue to make strides after an impressive two-interception debut?

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