2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Trestman era kicks into gear for Bears

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-23 12:33

CHICAGO (AP) - Big changes hit the Bears with the force of a winter wind in Chicago. Now, it's time to see how all the moves play out.

The Marc Trestman era kicks into a higher gear with the start of training camp this week and the Bears looking for more after missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.

A second straight collapse cost former coach Lovie Smith his job. Now, the Bears are turning to Trestman, hoping he can connect with quarterback Jay Cutler and spark a stagnant offense.

The offensive line has a new look after getting a makeover, and there's at least one big change on defense even if the system essentially remains the same - no more No. 54. Brian Urlacher, the longtime heart and soul of the team, is gone after his contract expired and the team was unable to reach a new deal with him.

So yes, it was a busy offseason. With that in mind, five things to know heading into the first practice on Friday:

1. NEW LEADER: Trestman was a success as coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, with three Grey Cup appearances and two championships in five seasons. Now, can he command an NFL locker room, particularly one that was loyal to his predecessor and to Urlacher? Along with that, can he get the most out of Cutler? A longtime assistant before heading north, Trestman is no stranger to the NFL. But he's never been a head coach in the league. On the plus side, he's taking over a team that still managed to win 10 games a year ago and has some talent in all areas, with Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Forte leading the offense and Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman anchoring the defense. There are big questions, too, such as the age on defense and whether the offensive line will come together. All eyes are on the relationship between the coach and the quarterback, too. Trestman had success working with Bernie Kosar and Rich Gannon. The Bears are hoping for the same with Cutler.

2. DEPARTED STAR: It will be different seeing this team without Urlacher at middle linebacker. The Bears split with the eight-time Pro Bowl pick after negotiations on a new contract went nowhere. That happened after Urlacher was slowed by a knee problem and then missed the final four games last season because of a hamstring injury. D.J. Williams is now the man in the middle, and with James Anderson replacing Nick Roach on the strong side, Briggs might feel like he's surrounded by strangers.

3. QB AT CROSSROADS: With an offensive-minded coach and an overhauled line, Cutler appears to have the pieces he needs after years of taking a beating. Time, however, could be running out. Cutler has an expiring contract and could be on the way out if he doesn't get a new deal or mesh with Trestman. In the past, he had built-in excuses, whether it was the play-calling or poor protection. Cutler never clicked with Ron Turner. He got caught directing an obscenity toward Mike Martz and walking away after Mike Tice sat down next to him during a game. Now, he'll be on his fourth coordinator in Chicago, with Aaron Kromer holding the title and Trestman devising the system.

4. REVISED LINE: It's no secret the offensive line has been a mess. The Bears are hoping that changes with the makeover. They filled a big hole at left tackle, signing Jermon Bushrod to a deal that guarantees $17.7 million and could be worth about $36 million. They also added veteran guards Matt Slauson and Eben Britton and drafted guard Kyle Long in the first round, adding him to a mix that includes James Brown and Edwin Williams.

5. RETURN SPECIALIST AGAIN: So the receiver experiment is officially over. Now, Devin Hester can get back to being a game changer on returns, right? Maybe. No longer a part of the offense after six seasons as a receiver, the Bears are hoping Hester can regain his game-changing form on returns now that he's focusing exclusively on special teams. The league's record-holder with 17 kick return touchdowns, he did not run back a kickoff or punt last season. He emerged from a drought in the past, returning a combined six punts and kickoffs for TDs over the 2010 and 2011 seasons after going two seasons without one. But it's also conceivable that he doesn't make the team. The Bears have a solid option in Eric Weems. Hester, who threatened to retire after Smith was fired, also has an expiring contract.

---

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group