Moon: Changing of the guard?

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Moon: Changing of the guard?

But whos counting?

The 4-0 start for the Detroit Lions is all that ultimately matters right now but what coach Jim Schwartz and the infusion of new talent to go with a core the likes of wideout Calvin Johnson and left tackle Jeff Backus has the Lions on a 12-game winning streak, which is the stuff of culture-changing.

Detroit won its last four in 2010, all four in the 2011 preseason and now the current run of four. If the Lions arent for real this year.

Of course, carriages do turn into pumpkins, as the 2009 Denver Broncos illustrated. Kyle Orton got them to 6-0 with wins over Cincinnati, Dallas, New England and San Diego, all eventual division champions and a far more impressive conquest card than the Lions that is a combined 6-10. The Denver Cinderella lost eight of the next 10 to finish out of the postseason.

The 2007 Lions with Mike Martz coordinating the offense went pumpkin after a 6-2 start to finish 7-9.

Still, even with the jaw-dropping second-half stupidities by the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys to blow 20-point leads to Detroit, the 2011 Lions believe theyre good. That makes them dangerous. And it doesnt altogether surprise the Bears.

Ive seen it coming over the past few years, said cornerback Charles Tillman. I never thought they were a terrible team. I just think that they never jelled together. Now theyre getting all the jelling, theyre believing and theyre winning games. Theyre doing a helluva a job.

But the Lions are skating around the edge of a hype volcano. Sports Illustrated is putting the Lions on this weeks cover, and Michael David Smith over at ProFootballTalk.com captures the growing mania that has even reached the point of declaring Ndamukong Suh a better draft choice than Barry Sanders (http:tinyurl.com42ydoo3).

This is a fork in the emotional road. Just one, but its a national stage for a team that hasnt been on it since 2001, and when the whole world is telling you how good you are, it only takes a few in a locker room to start believing it for some unraveling to start.

The Bears would like to help that get started.

Help wanted

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa will be working out for the Bears on Wednesday, according to various sources. The veteran started 10 of the first 11 games last season, was hampered by the knee injuries that have plagued his career and missed four games, then returned and started the NFC Championship game.

Another offseason knee surgery sent the Bears committing to Nick Roach as the starter on the strong side. But the linebacking group is seriously thin on experience and Tinoisamoa has been a favorite of Lovie Smiths since Tinoisamoas 2003 rookie season with the St. Louis Rams under Smith as defensive coordinator.

Worthy nominee

Not surprisingly, Matt Forte is among the nominees for the FedEx Ground NFL player of the week after 205 rushing yards and a touchdown. If he doesnt win this one, there shouldnt be a recount; there ought to be an investigation.

Arian Foster rushed for 155 yards and a TD in the Houston Texans win over Pittsburgh and Ryan Torain picked up 135 in Washingtons victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Forte has now had games of 158, 166 and 228 yards in the span of four weeks.

Fans are now part of the award process and can post ballots from now until 2 p.m. Friday on NFL.comFedEx.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule:

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

Quintin Demps set a career high in interceptions last year by not doing anything different. And that’s the message he’s sending a defense that generated only 11 takeaways in 2016, tied for the lowest single-season total in NFL history. 

Demps went from picking off four passes in both 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 2014 with the New York Giants to notching just one interception with the Houston Texans in 2015. In 2016, though, Demps intercepted six passes, broke up nine more and totaled 38 tackles. 

“Turnovers are like, it’s not something that you go get, it’s something you let come to you by doing your job first and then helping out,” Demps said. “And then you’d be surprised how they come to you by doing your job and being aware of when you can help somebody out. A lot of times when you get help is when you get picks and turnovers.”

The danger for a defense coming off a historically bad takeaway is sort of a whiplash effect, where there’s an over-emphasis on creating turnovers and not enough attention paid to, as Demps said, “doing your job.” There’s a fine line between being opportunistic and undisciplined.

“I tell my safeties all the time, we gotta tackle first,” Demps said. “Tackle first, don’t miss any tackles and then the picks are going to come. I promise you that.”

The Bears felt positively after signs of being more opportunistic as a defense during shorts-and-helmets practices in May and June, though if that was because of any real improvements or because the defense is usually ahead of the offense is hard to tell at this stage of the year. 

The offseason program was valuable for the Bears’ secondary in growing trust within a group that had — no pun intended — plenty of turnover after the 2016 season. The hope is that the offseason additions of Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Eddie Jackson will solidify the secondary and lead to something better than last year’s historically-low turnover total. 

“We’re still trying to build something, but the actual, real building happens in training camp because I think then you start to see the group start to get formed and yo know who’s going to go with the one’s, who’s going to go with the two’s, stuff like that,” Amukamara said. “So I think that starts to get formed. But I think with a lot of guys now, I think what that creates is competition and guys trying their hardest to make the team.”