Chicago Bears

After win over Panthers, Bears head to Lions den

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After win over Panthers, Bears head to Lions den

Monday, Oct. 3, 2011
Posted: 9:10 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
A win over Carolina staved off a threatening free-fall for the Bears, who now go into the Lions den, where Matthew Stafford waits. And Megatron. And Ndamukong.

Sept. 11, Atlanta Falcons (2-2) W 30-12
Jay Cutler puts up 107.8 passer rating to go with Matt Fortes 158 total yards. Defense holds Matt Ryan and Falcons O without a TD.

Sept. 18, @ New Orleans Saints (3-1) L 13-30
Forte puts up 166 total yards but Mike Martz eschews the run, Cutler is sacked 6 times, 5 in the fourth quarter.

Sept. 25, Green Bay Packers (4-0) L 17-27
More Martz mystery: 9 run calls for Forte net 2 yards, Aaron Rodgers controls the game and the ball for 37 minutes 29 seconds.

Oct. 2, Carolina Panthers (1-3) W 34-29
Matt Forte runs for 205 yards, Cam Newton passes for 374 yards and Panthers rush for 169. Hester punt return and D.J. Moore INT provide winning points.

Mon. Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. @ Detroit Lions (4-0) Next: BEARS (MNF)
The one-time doormats nearly beat the Bears twice in 10 and now have won 12 straight (last four in 10, four preseason, first four in 11). Comeback wins over Minnesota and Dallas finally a Lions team to believe?

Sun., Oct. 16, 7:20 p.m. Minnesota Vikings (0-4) Next: vs. Arizona

Sun., Oct. 23, noon @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) Next: vs. Indianapolis, tonight
Colts shouldnt present much of a challenge without Peyton Manning.

Oct. 30, Off week

Mon., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) Next: at Buffalo
Dream Team living a nightmare after losing to San Francisco to go 0-2 at home. Michael Vick throws for 416 yards but Philly D gives up 513.

Sun., Nov. 13, noon Detroit Lions (4-0)
Sun., Nov. 20, 3:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers (3-1) Next: at Denver
Not a lot of trouble getting past Miami as Philip Rivers completes 21 of 31 and Chargers rush for 118.

Sun., Nov. 27, 3:05 p.m. @ Oakland Raiders (2-2) Next: at Houston
Raiders pile up 504 yards on Patriots defense which holds Darren McFadden to 75 on the ground.

Sun., Dec., 4, noon Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) Next: at Indianapolis
Chiefs manage first win over Minnesota but being without RB Jamaal Charles, only so much damage possible from 010 NFC West champs.

Sun., Dec. 11, 3:05 p.m. @ Denver Broncos (1-3) Next: San Diego
Kyle Orton threw 3 INTs vs. Green Bay and Willis McGahee rushed for 103 but Broncos no match for Packers machine.

Sun., Dec. 18, noon Seattle Seahawks (1-3) Next: at N.Y. Giants
Seahawks miss 61-yard FG in final seconds after coming back from 27-7 hole to lose 30-28 after doing nothing running vs. Falcons defense.

Sun., Dec. 25, 7:20 p.m. @ Green Bay Packers (4-0)
Rodgers throws for 4 TDs and 408 yards and runs for 2 more scores against over-matched Broncos.

Sun., Jan. 1, noon @ Minnesota Vikings (0-4)

Game time subject to change

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

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USA TODAY

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

The Bears' best offensive player won't be suiting up in Saturday's preseason game. In fact, he won't even be on the sideline. 

Jordan Howard suffered an eye injury Friday, preventing him from flying with the team to Arizona. 

Although ESPN's Adam Schefter believes it's minor, that's not a good sign for an offense that relies heavily on the run game.

Joining Howard on the inactive list are more key offensive guys: 

- Kyle Long, OL

- Jeremy Langford, RB

- Joshua Bellamy, WR

- Markus Wheaton, WR

That means Mike Glennon, who is embroiled in a growing quarterback controversy, will have his work cut out for him. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will also be missing some notables: 

- Danny Trevathan, LB

- Mitch Unrein, DL

- Bryce Callahan, DB

- Alex Scearse, LB

- Jonathan Anderson, LB

- Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL

Hopefully Howard and the team can get healthy before the real deal begins because last year's injury-plagued season was certainly no fun. 

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

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USA Today Sports Images

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

One of John Fox’s favorite sayings is that the best ability is availability. No player exemplified that line more than left tackle Charles Leno Jr. in 2016. 

Leno played all 1,010 of the Bears’ offensive snaps last year. His effectiveness may not have matched his availability — Pro Football Focus, for what it’s worth, described Leno as being a “below average” starter. The Bears like Leno, though. But enough to give him another contract?

“He’s pretty reliable and dependable,” Fox said. “But we all have room for improvement so I think he’d tell you the same thing.”

For Leno, there’s no time like the present to make those strides. He’s due to hit free agency after this season, and, unless the Bears sign him to a contract extension, will enter a market that last spring saw five left tackles (Riley Reiff, Matt Kalil, Russell Okung, Andrew Whitworth and Kelvin Beachum) sign contracts each including eight-figure guaranteed money. But Leno, who will be 26 this spring, isn’t doing a lot of thinking about what his future could look like beyond this year. 

“It’s in the back of your mind, but at the end of the day I’m trying to go out there and just perfect my craft,” Leno said. “That’s really what I’m trying to do. I’ve been doing that the last two and a half years now. It’s the same routine every day. Just trying to go out there and perfect my craft, things will take care of itself. If I do what I need to do out there, everything will follow.”

For Leno, perfecting his craft means perfecting the basics of being a left tackle. What he rattled off: Placement of hands, base in pass set, staying square, not opening up too early. Being consistent in those areas is what Leno sees as that next step in his development. 

“I think Charles Leno does a really great job focusing attention to detail within his set,” left guard Kyle Long said. “Whether it’s a set angle, his hands or his strike, he always has a plan and he’s somebody that’s athletic enough to recover if he ever does get in a bad situation. It’s a really difficult position to play out there but I think Charles Leno is one of the most athletic guys that’s been around here.” 

Practice has provided an ideal opportunity for Leno to work on all those things, given the array of pass rushers he’s facing from his own defense. 

“I got a very fast guy (Leonard Floyd), I got a very tall, long guy (Willie Young), and I got a short, powerful guy (Lamarr Houston). I mean, what more do I need on a practice field? I got the best guys in the world to go against every day.”

But the point remains: Leno does have room for growth. A fully healthy Bears’ offensive line, with a more consistent Leno, can be one of the best units in the NFL on which the team’s level of production can be based. 

And if that’s the case, Leno can expect a significant payday next spring, either from the Bears or another team. 

“I never expected I would be in this situation, absolutely not,” Leno said. “I’m very blessed, I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve got into. But also, it’s a testament to the work I’ve been putting in for myself and I just don’t ever want that to stop. I don’t ever want the work ethic that I have to ever go down because I’ve got some money or because I’m in a contract year. I want to keep improving whether I have the money or not.”