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Cutler to play briefly in opener

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 7, 2013 – 9:33 pm

Jay Cutler will start Friday night’s preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, but the Bears quarterback likely will be pulled after a series or two.

“He’ll play very, very limited,” said coach Marc Trestman. “How limited, I don’t know. It could be three plays, it could be one play, it could be eight plays. I’m not trying to be smart. We’ll see how the flow of the game goes. If we go three-and-out, we’ll decide if he goes back in for another three. He may not. It’s really just a general feel on what we want to get accomplished that time.”

Some Bears starters won’t play at all. The ones who do join Cutler on the field likely will be removed from the game before the beginning of the second quarter.

“I would not expect our starters to play very long,” Trestman said. “We’ll start pulling them out some time in the first quarter. We’ll allow the guys competing for positions—certainly special teams positions, which is critically important—to get on the field and see how they work, see how they tackle, see how they play for the first time in a real game in a real football environment.”

One veteran who won’t play against the Panthers is receiver Earl Bennett. He was diagnosed with a concussion suffered last week in practice and has been ruled out of the game.

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Bears spreading ball around on offense

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 7, 2013 – 7:12 pm

Thrilled to be surrounded by playmakers such as Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte, Jay Cutler isn’t too worried about keeping all of them happy.

“Those guys are good,” Cutler said. “They understand why we run certain plays and they’re not going to get the ball at certain times but they’ve got to help out their buddy to get him open.

“I think we’ve done a really good job of spreading it around and making sure that Marty gets balls, B gets the ball, Alshon, Matt Forte, and I think we’ve tried to give certain guys days off so we can spread it around and keep everyone happy.”

In Marc Trestman’s first season as coach, the Bears are expected to spread the ball around more in the pass game than they did last year when Marshall’s franchise-record 118 receptions were 74 more than his closest teammate. That means taking advantage of favorable match-ups and throwing to open receivers rather than forcing the ball to a favorite target.

“With any quarterback, the toughest thing to do is get comfortable and go outside the system to try to please somebody or get the ball to a certain person,” Trestman said. “I really feel like [Cutler] sees what we’re trying to get done here and make everybody a part of it to make it easier for him to just read a defense and go to the guys who are open.

“That’ll be a process. We haven’t reached our potential certainly. We’re just trying to do it every day, and we see signs that we can get it done and we’re excited about it. But then we’ve just got to go back to work the next day and keep grinding away, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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Britton in mix for job on line

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 7, 2013 – 6:22 pm

Friday night’s preseason opener in Carolina will be critical for tackle Eben Britton, who has made the most of first-team reps he’s gotten as a result of injuries to Jermon Bushrod and Jonathan Scott.

“Eben is in the mix of finding where our offensive line will be,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He’s in the mix. He’s had a very productive start of camp. He’s versatile; he can play just about every position, both on the left and right side. At this point I can say that he’s definitely involved in being part of this roster on a week-to-week basis, the 46 [active players on game day].”

Britton signed with the Bears in April after appearing in 37 games with 30 starts the past five seasons with the Jaguars. The 6-6, 308-pounder was selected by Jacksonville in the second round of the 2009 draft and started 15 games at right tackle as a rookie. Hampered by injuries in 2010-11, Britton appeared in 11 games with five starts at left guard last season.

While Bushrod has returned to practice after recovering from a calf injury, Scott remains sidelined with a knee injury that has forced him to miss all but one workout since July 31.

“He’s day-to-day, and we’re hopeful,” Trestman said. “As the term [defensive coordinator] Mel [Tucker] uses, the next man up is really where we’re at. And it’s given an opportunity to guys like Eben, getting more with Jordan Mills, getting a better look at J’Marcus Webb, and working our way, and trying to build our offensive line.”

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Bears want to see poise from Blanchard

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 7, 2013 – 5:05 pm

Bears third-string quarterback Matt Blanchard figures to get a decent amount of playing time in the second half of Friday night’s preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.

“He’s going to be the guy who’s going to play for us in the last part of the third quarter and the fourth quarter,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He’s going to be heavily involved in managing the game, which is not easy to do in those times. It can get a little chaotic.

“We want to see him keep his poise, be efficient, and take his time with the football. And really, in those three, the first one’s the most important. The team will trust him, the coaches will trust him, if he can go out there and take care of the football during the time he’s in. And his productivity isn’t as important as his ability to play smart and again do the right thing with the ball.”

Blanchard originally signed with the Bears last year as an undrafted free agent from Wisconsin-Whitewater. In the preseason last summer he completed 9 of 16 passes for 94 yards with one interception and a 47.4 passer rating.

Blanchard spent the first 13 weeks of his rookie season on the Bears’ practice squad. After being released last Dec. 4, the Lake Zurich native re-signed with his hometown team Jan. 7.

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Bears players attend movie screening

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 7, 2013 – 4:40 pm

On their day off last Sunday, a group of Bears players attended a private screening of Sony Pictures’ “Elysium” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster at Cinemark Movies 10 in Bourbonnais.

The movie, which opens Friday, is set in the year 2154, when two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth.

The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium. But some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens’ luxurious lifestyle.

The only man with the chance bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission—one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces—but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.

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