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Steve von Horn has some good news for NFL fans. He also has a Chicago Bears Playbook video he wants to show you.
The Chicago Bears are a 9.5-point favorite when they host the Indianapolis Colts in their season opener on Sunday. The line opened with the Bears as nine-point favorites but has quickly moved up to 9.5 on most all sites. The line is not uniform across all sportsbooks as some still have the Bears favored by only nine and other sites have the Bears favored by as much as 11 according to OddsShark. The over/under for the game opened at 40.5, but now sits at either 43 or 43.5 depending on the sportsbook.
The betting public expects a tough weekend for No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck as he makes his NFL debut on the road against a strong Bears defense that hopes to have Brian Urlacher back in the lineup. The Colts finished with the NFL's worst record last year while the Bears finished 8-8.
For more on the Chicago Bears; check out Windy City Gridiron and SB Nation Chicago. Be sure to visit Oddshark.com to find betting lines for all Week 1 games and don't forget to play SB Nation's Pick 6 Football every week.
Podlesh injured his left hip flexor in the Bears' second preseason game against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 18. Wednesday marks the first time Podlesh has been seen punting the ball in practice since suffering that injury. If Podlesh is unable to go, the Bears will turn to rookie Ryan Quigley, who they kept on the 53-man roster because of the injury to Podlesh. In his first season with the Bears last year, Podlesh posted a career high net average of 40.4 yards per punt.
Bears running back Lorenzo Booker sat out Wednesday's practice with a head injury; free safety Chris Conte was limited with a shoulder injury. Brian Urlacher was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.
Chicago Bears tackle Gabe Carimi might not be fully recovered from his knee injury, offensive coordinator Mike Tice said on Wednesday. According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago, Tice doesn't feel that Carimi is back to full strength and his ability to play in full games at the moment is in doubt.
Per Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears believe that Chris Williams could spell Carimi from time to time if his endurance becomes a problem.
Carimi injured his right knee during a Week 2 game against the Saints last season, yet participated in most offseason practices and workouts after multiple surgeries to repair the knee. The tackle played in three preseason games and appeared healthy, with the Bears now concerned about his ability to play through a game while still working to get his knee back into shape.
Chris Wiliams has been with the Bears since 2008 when he was drafted No. 14 overall in the 2008 draft. He has played primarily at left and right tackle before moving to guard in 2010.
The 2012 NFL season is imminent and the Chicago Bears will be looking to bounce back from a 2011 season that was derailed by injuries. They'll start that campaign in Week 1 by hosting the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck in the No. 1 overall pick's first regular season game as a pro. The Colts are expected to be significantly better than they were last season, but the game is still a nice, soft opening for the Bears.
The Green Bay Packers, though, don't have it as easy. The Chicago rival will open the season with the San Francisco 49ers, who are expected to once again field one of the top defenses in the NFL. The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, are likely to dine on a cupcake as they open by hosting the St. Louis Rams. The same could be said for the Minnesota Vikings, who will welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that is relegating its best player, Maurice Jones-Drew, to third down duties after the back held out for the preseason.
For the week's full slate of games, check out SI.com's weekly schedule.
Jay Cutler is a free agent after the 2013 season, and according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago, Cutler and the Bears have not yet discussed a contract extension for the quarterback. Cutler will earn over $15 million in base salary over the next two seasons, and will almost certainly be looking for comparable money, if not a raise, with his next contract.
Whether new Bears GM Phil Emery wants to do that remains unknown, and likely will depend on how Cutler does this season. Wright theorizes that the team will begin negotiations in earnest at the end of this season so that the situation may be resolved heading into the final year of his contract. The Bears, according to Wright, will have over $50 million in cap room heading into the 2014 season.
Jay Cutler had some kind words for wife Kristin Cavallari's mothering instinct Tuesday. The Chicago Bears quarterback was asked on ESPN 1000's "Waddle & Silvy Show" about fatherhood, thus far, and he had this to say:
It's life changing. Having that responsibility definitely changes your priorities. I've been gone a lot, though, so I think a lot of it has been heavy on Kristin. She's done an unbelievable job. I don't think you know exactly what you're getting into until you get home from the hospital and it's bam, there's no instruction manual, there's no taking it back. They tell you you're tired, you don't sleep, he wakes up at all hours, and you're like 'OK, I've stayed up all night before, I got up in the middle of the night, I'll be fine.' But it's a different animal. It's still fun. Kristin has definitely done more than my share, and she's been great at it.
Cutler and Cavallari's son Camden Jack will be a month old on Saturday. Cutler's Bears open the season against the Colts on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Jay Cutler made an appearance on ESPN 1000's "The Waddle & Silvy Show" Tuesday. The Bears quarterback raved about rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery's skills and progress throughout camp:
Alshon Jeffery I think is better than we expected ... down the line we have guys who can flat out play football. We knew he had great hands. That was the thing on him, he catches everything, and he did. He's a natural catcher. Big net, you can put it anywhere and he's going to snag it. I think the way he's able to get out of routes, the way he's naturally able to beat press, I think his speed is probably a little bit underrated, he can go get the ball. His jumping ability, being able to time balls and go up and get balls, that's just a natural attribute. A lot of guys have trouble attacking that high point and he does it really well.
Cutler also said that Brandon Marshall's presence will allow Jeffrey to "naturally fit where he fits in." The offensive line has had a "good preseason," according to Cutler - though he hedged against saying J'Marcus Webb has earned the starting left tackle job - and that he thinks the running game is "going to come."
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs believes it's time for the Bears to win the Super Bowl. Talking to CSNChicago.com, Briggs said "We deserve to go to a Super Bowl. We all do. The city. People have worked hard for it. It’s time."
Briggs is entering his tenth season with the Bears and believes that the 2012 team is the most talented of the bunch, better than the 2006 team that won the NFC Championship and lost to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. Said Briggs, "This is the best overall team, athletically and all the rest, that I’ve been part of. Production-wise, you don’t know. To validate that, we have to go through the season and see."
Briggs may think it's the best Bears team he has been a part of, but they only come in at No. 10 in the Week 1 SB Nation NFL Power Rankings. The Bears open their season and their quest for a Super Bowl on Sept. 9 when they host the Indianapolis Colts.
Thorman clearly likes the Bears' trio of weapons on offense: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall. Marshall, the former Dolphin and Bronco, should be a nice addition to an offense that averaged just 188.2 passing yards per game last season. That made them the seventh-worst passing attack in the NFL.
But Bears fans should also be optimistic about the return of a trio on defense. On Monday, Brian Urlacher, Chris Conte, and Stephen Paea all returned to practice. All three figure to be starters, and are expected to play in Sunday's season opener against the Colts.
Conte, who figures to start at free safety, injured his right shoulder against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 18. The California native was a third-round selection by the Bears in 2011, and appeared in 14 games last year.
Paea has been out since Aug. 11, when he sprained his ankle during a practice. Paea, in his second year since being drafted out of Oregon State, will be in the starting rotation at defensive tackle. He managed two sacks and a safety in 11 games last season.
The Bears will be required to release an injury report on Wednesday.
The Chicago Bears brought linebacker Brian Urlacher back to practice on Monday after the captain missed a few weeks recovering from knee surgery, as Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune writes. On Aug. 14, Urlacher underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after initially suffering an injury at the end of last season.
According to McClure, the 34-year-old linebacker appeared to be fully active in drills on Monday, a sign of optimism for those hoping to see the veteran in Chicago's series opener on Sunday. The Bears begin their season against the Indianapolis Colts and 2012 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck.
Urlacher has missed time with a variety of injuries over the years, but he expects to be generally healthy going into this season. The Bears will be depending on him up the middle as they look to compete in the NFC North, so his presence in practice this week is huge.
Jay Cutler, Roberto Garza, Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Patrick Mannelly will captain the team this season, just as they did a year ago when the Bears finished third in the NFC North at 8-8. Of the group, only Urlacher was an All-Pro selection a year ago, although Cutler and Mannelly both missed six games due to injury.
Peppers's overall productivity dropped last season, as he went from 43 tackles in 2010 to 33 a year ago. However, he did record three more sacks in 2011 than in the year before. For his career, Peppers has exactly 100 sacks.
Garza and Mannelly are the less-celebrated guys of the bunch, but both players have been mainstays for the Bears for many years. Garza came over from Atlanta prior to the 2005 season, and has started all but 11 games during his tenure in Chicago. Meanwhile, Mannelly has played for the Bears for his entire career, which began in 1998. Mannelly has never started a game, but has only missed nine in his career.
Bears are releasing DT Brian Price today.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) September 3, 2012
Okoye claims that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried to trade him to the Bears for draft picks, but ultimately released him, allowing him to be signed by Chicago, according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Bears however previously traded a seventh round draft pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for Price, so the Buccaneers did, in effect, acquire a draft pick from the Bears' final defensive tackle spot.
Brian Price will leave Chicago without ever having suited up for a regular season game. Price, who starred at UCLA, was the third pick of the second round in the 2010 draft, but only amassed 23 tackles and three sacks in 20 games. He now finds himself looking for his third team in the span of three months.
Okoye signed with the Buccaneers in the offseason but battled injuries throughout camp and was unable to impress new head coach Greg Schiano. In 2011 with Chicago, Okoye picked up four sacks and 27 tackles in 16 games.
For more on the Chicago Bears, be sure to check out Windy City Gridiron and keep an eye on SB Nation Chicago. For more news, notes and analysis from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL news hub.
The Chicago Bears have announced that running back Harvey Unga, defensive back Isaiah Fey, and running back Armando Allen are now a part of the Bears' practice squad, per a tweet from Chicago Tribune beat writer Vaughn McClure.
Unga is perhaps the most noteworthy of these practice squad players, as he was drafted by Chicago in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL draft after becoming the all time leading rusher at Brigham Young University.
Isaiah Frey was drafted in the 6th round of this year's NFL draft by Chicago as a cornerback. Even though he signed a four-year deal with teh organization, he was waived yesterday.
Armando Allen, an all-purpose back, was a part of Chicago's active roster last winter, as he rushed for 40 yards on 11 carries against the Green Bay Packers in a reserve role in place of injured Matt Forte and Marion Barber.
Other players added to the practice squad, per McClure, are as follows:
Defensive tackle Brian Price, who the Chicago Bears acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a seventh-round pick earlier this offseason, made Chicago's roster today. But, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, he may not be on the team for long. McClure reported Friday afternoon that the Bears may release Price and bring back former Bear Amobi Okoye.
DT Brian Price still on roster, but that might change with Amobi Okoye expected to return on a 1-year contract worth more than vet minimum.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) September 1, 2012
Okoye, coincidentally enough, was released by the Buccaneers, who signed him to a one-year, $1.3 million contract this offseason. His preseason, though, was plagued by injury and he missed Tampa's last three preseason games. In 2011, Okoye tallied four sacks, which was the best total of his career. He also added 27 total tackles.
After cutting quarterback Josh McCown and running back Armando Allen, and trading Tyler Clutts to the Houston Texans this morning, the Chicago Bears made a slew of cuts and transactions late Friday to cut their roster to 53 players.
Clutts was traded to the Texans for cornerback Sherrick McManus.
Other cuts from Friday included: receivers Joe Anderson, Terrium Crump and Brittan Golden; tackles Cory Brandon, James Brown and A.J. Greene; cornerbacks Cornelius Brown, Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy; safety Mark LeGree; guard Ricky Hendry; tight end Brandon Venson; defensive tackle Jordan Miller; defensive end Aston Whiteside; and linebacker Jabara Williams.
Defensive tackle Nate Collins, who is suspended for the first game of the regular season, does not count against the team's 53-man roster.
The Chicago Bears have already made a wave cuts as the team works to trim down to 53 players before the 8 p.m. CT deadline on Friday, and now quarterback Josh McCown has been released according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell are the only two QBs on the roster after the move, but Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune says the team will try to sign Matt Blanchard to the practice squad on Saturday.
Other cuts from Friday include FB Tyler Clutts, WR Brittan Golden, S Mark LeGree, CB Greg McCoy, CB Cornelius Brown and RB Armando Allen. CB Isaiah Frey has also been cut, but he may be added to the practice squad on Saturday, while Xavier Adibi will likely be cut before the Friday deadline.
The Chicago Bears have until 8 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 31 to cut down their roster to 53 players, and they have wasted no time in trimming away the back end of their cut list. FB Tyler Clutts has been cut, WR Brittan Golden is also out, S Mark LeGree got bad news as well and CB Isaiah Frey has been cut but may be added to the practice squad.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune also notes that LB Xavier Adibi will likely be cut before the deadline on Friday night. In other waiver-wire news, DT Amobi Okoye has been cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he is close to re-signing with the Chicago Bears, according to a report from Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Chicago Bears veteran quarterback Josh McCown made the most his chance to mount a case for sticking on the roster as the No. 3 quarterback with his strong performance in the preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. McCown completed 20 of 29 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns - including a nice 30-yard TD toss to Dane Sanzenbacher on the team's second offensive possession -- and although he is not battling another quarterback for the emergency role, he may be in a numbers crunch with players on the fringe of the roster at other positions. Here is what McCown told reporters after the 28-20 win over the Browns on Thursday (via CSN-Chicago):
"With the third-quarterback situation, it sometimes goes beyond play, with injuries and other things, so we'll see what happens," McCown said. "But I've got a buddy back home and he hasn't played in 10 years. He's 35 and he'd give anything to be in my shoes tonight. Tomorrow isn't promised to me so I embraced it.
"It's all up to coaches. For me, just go out and play. Turn the lights on and compete. And there are 10 other guys out there with you and their futures are on the line with you as well. You want to give them a chance to make plays."
After the game, Bears head coach Lovie Smith noted that he felt the staff got a good chance to look at McCown at the end of last season, and he went on to call McCown a "capable" QB that can put the team in a position to win. That's all you really want from a No. 3 quarterback anyways, right?
The Bears have a difficult decision to make on who should be their No. 3 running back, Lorenzo Booker or Armando Allen. Both players have shown the Bears' coaching staff that they fit well on this team, but only one will get the opportunity. That's why it came as no surprise to see them competing on Thursday night on special teams and in the backfield.
Allen had an 49-yard run in the final minutes of the game, in which he finished with 83 yards on 16 carries. To add, Allen finished with a team high of five passes for 51 yards. Two of those receptions were for touchdowns. Allen said after the game he thought he had a decent performance but could have done some things better.
At least he didn't get hurt, though. That's what happened to Booker, who after 15 carries for 81 yards, suffered a head injury that forced him out of the game. NFL teams have to cut their rosters down to 53 men by the end of Friday.
With the team holding a 14-10 lead in the third quarter, Chicago's Greg McCoy intercepted a Thaddeus Lewis pass and returned it 15-yards for a touchdown. Then, one possession later, Brittan Golden returned a blocked punt 22 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 28-10.
Cleveland cut the lead to 28-20 on a touchdown run by Adonis Thomas and a field goal in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get closer. The Bears forced three Cleveland turnovers and had two sacks.
Chicago improved to 3-1 in the preseason with the win.
McCown, who started the game, has completed 16-for-20 passes for 137 yards. He found Dane Sanzenbacher for a 30-yard touchdown with 6:15 left in the first quarter, then gave the Bears a 14-0 lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Armando Allen with 4:19 to go in the second quarter.
The Browns got on the board when Seneca Wallace led Cleveland on an 80-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass to Rod Windsor with :41 seconds remaining in the first half. Wallace also had a 20-yard run on that drive.
Chicago's defense has one sack and an interception. The Browns have rushed for 95 yards in the first half.
The first-year defensive back was placed on injured reserve after a scary preseason neck injury earlier this month, and will need to be moved to the team's 53-man roster before Friday's deadline in order to retain this possibility. If he is indeed safe in the final round of cuts, Hardin can then finally be moved to the injured reserve again in a position where he could then be selected to return after the sixth week.
While it's unclear if Hardin can even rehab from his neck injury in time or if the team would actually use this one-time provision on him versus another player, this is definitely promising news for a franchise that can always use a late-season boost. Hardin possesses both the size and athletic ability to make a legitimate impact in the secondary right away when he gets back, so the Bears may have a tough decision to make if they think he can possibly make an impact later in the year.
The Bears and Browns wrap up their preseasons in Cleveland.
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