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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
BBAO: Loving this Bears team

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

We're going to get a lot of mileage out of the Bears Insider radio show that Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, general manager Jerry Angelo and team president Ted Phillips taped Monday night.

We've already discussed Angelo's announcement on the conclusion of the Matt Forte contract talks (for now) and Phillips' explanation for why the team didn't re-sod Soldier Field last weekend as planned. Now, let's get to a simple assessment from Smith on this year's Bears team.

Said Smith: "This is the best team I think we've had since I've been here."

I know Smith is notoriously optimistic and confident about his team's prospects, and maybe he's said the same thing every year and I've missed it. But with the Bears set to begin practicing in earnest for Sunday's season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, it's worth anchoring his sentiment in a Week 1 blog post and referring to it in our discussions moving forward.

Continuing around the NFC North: