Bears dealing with extremely talented Lions

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Bears dealing with extremely talented Lions

Draft status doesnt matter much once your rookie contract is done and you begin your NFL career. But there is something to be said for scoring with No. 1 picks. In the end, talent rules.

The Bears will have exactly one of their own No. 1 draft choices starting on offense Monday (guard Chris Williams). Just as the Green Bay Packers formidable core has come through their drafts, the Detroit Lions have the makings for a Packer-like foundation.

Their No. 1s on offense: quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Jahvid Best, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, tackles Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus.

They have really done a great job of acquiring talent, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. This is a talented offense. Their coordinator, coach Linehan offensive coordinator Scott is a tremendous play-caller and I think theyve got five or six No. 1s but theyre playing like No. 1s. Its taxing.

The Bears have experience with this sort of problem. Carolina had No. 1s (their own picks) at quarterback, running back (2), tackle (2) as well as imported tight ends (2).

Sick Bay

All five injured Bears (besides receiver Earl Bennett and tackle Gabe Carimi, both out) practiced Saturday and are listed as probable: safety Chris Harris (hamstring), tight end Matt Spaeth, guard Chris Spencer (hand), cornerback Charles Tillman (hip) and defensive end Corey Wootton.

The Lions will be without backups in linebacker Erik Coleman, tackle Jason Fox and former Bear wide receiver Rashied Davis, down with a foot injury.

But Detroit did get a positive Saturday in the form of defensive tackle Nick Fairley, their No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, being able to practice in full. Fairley has not practiced since suffering a preseason foot injury and is listed as questionable but is expected to make his NFL debut against the Bears.

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 looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.

Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

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Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

In the latest Bears Talk Podcast, Jim Miller joins Pat Boyle to discuss the friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio. And are there changes in store for the Bears coordinators?

Plus, Brian Urlacher and Mark Schanowski break down the play of rookie Leonard Floyd and find out which one of Urlacher’s former teammates Floyd reminds him of.

And don't miss a preview of Sunday’s NFC North clash with the Lions, who will be out for revenge.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here: