2014 DRAFT GUIDE
3-0 Bears trying to stay focused with Lions next

    2013-09-27 02:31

(Eds: Will stand. With AP Photos.)
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The record says the Chicago Bears lead the NFC North at 3-0. Coach Marc Trestman isn't buying it.

The way he sees it, Sunday's game at Detroit might as well be the season opener.

``We're not 3-0,'' Trestman said. ``We're 0-0, and this is Game 1 of 13. That's really the reality of it all. We've got to focus on getting better each day, and on Sunday we play Game 1 of the season. That's how it is. There's no light at the end of the tunnel here. There's no guarantees at the end of the tunnel, that 3-0 is getting us anywhere. It's giving us a chance. That's what it's doing.''

So far, the Bears are in a good spot.

They rallied to beat Cincinnati and Minnesota and hung on last week at Pittsburgh after a 21-point lead shrank to four. They're making clutch plays on offense. Their defense is as opportunistic as ever, even if the pass rush is looking like more of a rumor than a reality.

Yet, they also know how fleeting fast starts can be.

Two years ago, the Bears were closing out a win over San Diego to go to 7-3 when Jay Cutler threw an interception. Then, he tried to help make the tackle, and the result was a broken thumb that sent them careening toward an 8-8 record that cost then-general manager Jerry Angelo his job.

Last year, they started 7-1, only to drop five of the next six as injuries mounted. They wound up missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years despite a 10-6 record, and the result was an overhaul that started with coach Lovie Smith's firing.

``It's just three wins,'' linebacker Lance Briggs said. ``Three wins isn't going to get you into the playoffs, so for us we need to keep etching away. This is a divisional opponent and when you play a divisional opponent, it's a chance to separate yourself and get as big a jump on anybody in your division as you possibly can.''

There are some signs that this is more than just a mirage or a tease, particularly on offense.

There appears to be more discipline on that side with Trestman in charge instead of the defensive-minded Smith.

A rebuilt line with newcomers Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson on the left side and rookies Jordan Mills and Kyle Long on the right has mostly held its ground, and the result is fewer penalties and fewer hits on Cutler.

The Bears have not been called for a false start. Considering Chicago had nine in a game at Detroit in 2011 and got flagged 25 times for it a year ago, that's a huge improvement.

Then, there's the fact that Cutler, a human tackling dummy his first four years in Chicago, has been sacked just three times.

He's also been delivering down the stretch, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes while boasting a 108.2 rating in the fourth quarter.

Having big targets in Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and newcomer Martellus Bennett helps. It doesn't hurt, either, that the play-calling seems to fit the personnel, with Cutler getting the ball out of his hands quicker.

Yet, the Bears understand just how fragile a fast start is. They know better than to get too high.

``I think it all starts with Trestman and the rest of the coaches,'' Cutler said. ``Everyone has really been good, especially on game day. There's going to be some frustration from time to time. But when you look at those guys and see how calm they are and confident they are about moving on and going onto the next play and being confident with the next play call, it makes our job easier.''

NOTES: CB Charles Tillman missed his second straight practice on Thursday because of knee and groin problems and remains day to day. ``We're hopeful and I'll tell you exactly where he is (on Friday),'' Trestman said. ``Just not sure. We'll see where he is in the morning. He worked off the field all day. Optimistic but we'll know more in the morning.'' ... TE Martellus Bennett when asked if he thinks Detroit's Ndamukong Suh is dirty: ``No, hopefully he takes baths. I don't think he's dirty as a player.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Charles ClayNov 21 05:52p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and he is doubtful for Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. Clay suffered a setback in practice [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 21 05:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is questionable for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster would [ More ]

Jason AvantNov 21 04:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent WR Jason Avant (Panthers), according to a source. Avant worked out for the team Friday, Nov. 21.

Delanie WalkerNov 21 03:32p

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is listed as probable for Week 12.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 21 03:12p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is considered a game-time decision for Week 12, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Adrian PetersonNov 21 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's appeal hearing is scheduled to occur Dec. 2, and commissioner Roger Goodell will not be in charge of the hearing. Former NFL employee Harold [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 21 02:22p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) was not participating during the media-access portion of practice Friday, Nov. 21. Fitzgerald was working on the side during that part of practice.

Delanie WalkerNov 21 02:22p

Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (concussion) has passed his concussion test and is good to go in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Giovani BernardNov 21 02:12p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, clavicle) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 21, and is probable for Week 12.

Julius ThomasNov 21 02:12p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins after putting in a limited practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Emmanuel SandersNov 21 02:02p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) practiced in full Friday, Nov. 21, and is probable for Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins, according to head coach John Fox.

Julius ThomasNov 21 01:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle), who appeared limited during practice Friday, Nov. 21, figures to be a game-time decision against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. Thomas said [ More ]

Dwayne AllenNov 21 01:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jonas GrayNov 21 01:22p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray (undisclosed) was a no-show at practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Jordan ReedNov 21 01:12p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) missed his third straight day of practice Friday, Nov. 21, and head coach Jay Gruden said Reed has been ruled out for Week [ More ]

Emmanuel SandersNov 21 01:12p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) is participating in practice Friday, Nov. 21.

Adrian PetersonNov 21 11:02a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said he'll gladly return this season if he wins the appeal of his indefinite suspension. If he loses his appeal and has to sit [ More ]

Latavius MurrayNov 21 10:32a

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) has earned himself a larger role in the offense, according to interim head coach Tony Sparano. His concussion, obviously, will dictate when that [ More ]

LeGarrette BlountNov 21 10:32a

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was not signed by the team to replace RB Jonas Gray as the between-the-tackles runner. Blount's presence gives the team another tough inside [ More ]

Jeremy HillNov 21 10:02a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill will be the leader in a 65-35 split of the carries with RB Giovani Bernard in Week 12, in the opinion of beat writer Paul Dehner Jr.

Emmanuel SandersNov 20 07:42p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) has done conditioning work and will be evaluated again Friday, Nov. 21.

Eric KushNov 20 07:03p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared WR A.J. Jenkins, QB Aaron Murray, CB Christopher Owens, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, CB Jamell Fleming, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 12.

Matt McGloinNov 20 07:03p

The Oakland Raiders have declared CB Carlos Rogers, TE David Ausberry, OG Gabe Jackson, SS Jonathan Dowling, QB Matt McGloin, OG Tony Bergstrom, CB Travis Carrie inactive for Week 12.

Charles ClayNov 20 06:42p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee) did not practice Thursday, Nov. 20, after being limited Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Tauren PooleNov 20 06:42p

The New Orleans Saints released RB Tauren Poole Thursday, Nov. 20.

Jordan CameronNov 20 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

Arian FosterNov 20 05:52p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) did not practice Thursday, Nov. 20, after being limited the previous day.

Pierre ThomasNov 20 05:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 20. Thomas has missed the last four games, but he said there's a chance that [ More ]

Jerick McKinnonNov 20 05:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 20.

Jimmy SmithNov 20 04:32p

Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (foot) said Thursday, Nov. 20, that a Lisfranc injury is the reason he is out for the rest of the season.

Montee BallNov 20 04:22p

Denver Broncos RBs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) both did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

Ronnie HillmanNov 20 04:22p

Denver Broncos RBs Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) both did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Nov. 20.

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