Oct 16, 2013, 5:29 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 16, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field.
Five things you need to know about the Chicago Bears:
1. The Bears decided not to bring back longtime star middle linebacker Brian Urlacher this spring and they made D. J. Williams the starter in his place. Now Williams is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in the Bears’ last game last Thursday night. Rookie Jon Bostic finished up that game and is now the starter. He’s a second-round pick out of Florida so he practiced against Redskins tight end Jordan Reed. Those two should cross paths at least a few times on Sunday.
2. Defensive end Julius Peppers carries a $14.83 million dollar salary cap hit this year, the highest on the team. The return on the Bears’ investment has been one sack and five tackles this year. To be fair, the Bears have been racked by injuries and Peppers is the only one of the four projected starters who playing in his original spot. Still, at age 33 you can’t help but think that time has caught up with the 33-year-old Peppers.
3. This week brings Round 2 of Jay Cutler against the coach who traded up in the 2006 draft in hopes of making him his team’s franchise quarterback. Of course, both Cutler and Mike Shanahan have since left the Broncos. The last meeting was in 2010 and Cutler threw four interceptions, all of them to DeAngelo Hall. The much-maligned 30-year-old signal caller is having a career year so far. He’s on pace to have his most passing yards ever, most touchdowns, and best passer rating and his interception percentage is near his career low for a season. Mark Trestman, his new head coach, appears to have done wonders for Cutler’s career, at least in the first six games.
4. Cutler has four prime pass-catching targets so the Redskins’ coverage will really have to be on point. The leading receiver is another former Shanahan draft picks, Brandon Marshall, who has 40 catches for 465 yards and five touchdowns. But the Redskins can’t focus on him and sleep on wide receiver Alshon Jeffry (29/456/2), tight end Martellus Bennett (31/349/3), or running back Matt Forte (33/244/0).
5. After giving up two long returns to Dwayne Harris last week the Redskins now have the task of trying to stop Devin Hester, one of the best kick returners ever. At age 31 he’s not having a stellar year, with no touchdowns scored. But he is averaging 30.3 years per kickoff return with a long of 80. The Redskins will have to hope that Kai Forbath is able to pound the ball high in the air and deep in the end zone on Sunday.
Stat of the day
—The Bears are tied for second in the NFL with 17 takeaways (9 interceptions, 8 fumble recoveries). The Redskins have eight takeaways (3 INT, 5 fumbles) 23rd in the league.
—Days until: Bears @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Broncos 11; Chargers @ Redskins 18
—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 (open to media for first 30 minutes); Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00), available streaming on CSNwashington.com.
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- Shanahan praises the defense
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