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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

When the Bears shift location of their preseason practices and scrimmages, you truly know that autumn is near. On Thursday, the Bears broke Training Camp in Bourbonnais, and packed their bags for heading north to Halas Hall. It’s there, in the posh suburb of Lake Forest where the Bears will finish up the second half of their 2009 NFL preseason. The immediate focus will be on prepping for the preseason home opener versus the New York Giants on Saturday night.

This practice game will feature three Bears stars: Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, and Greg Olsen, who did not play in the preseason opener. “We want them to have a good series before they come out. Our history has been, for the most part, that in the second game the guys will play into the second quarter,” Lovie Smith told the media following the final practice session at Camp Bourbonnais.

The final session downstate featured a cutesy switcharoo. Many players switched jerseys with each other. Watching quarterback Jay Cutler dropping back and throwing passes while wearing Brian Urlacher’s number was a unique, if not bizarre experience. Usually #6 Cutler wearing Urlacher’s #54 was a great show of solidarity, and should make people forget what ex-teammate and current Minnesota Vikings receiver Bobby Wade claims Urlacher allegedly said about Cutler.

Lovie spoke about Cutler and Urlacher bonding through jersey sharing. “They kind of look alike, big stature, but that’s a tradition with our players right now, a lot of energy in camp. There’s nothing like the last day of training camp…I can still tell who Devin Hester is, some of the little skill guys even in a lineman number, you can still feel good about who he is,” Lovie said of the chicanery and tomfoolery.

So far this preseason has been industry standard. You’ve seen…

1. The multitude of really dumb fans reading too much into preseason gamesbears-logo.jpg (i.e. idiots who now think the Cutler deal was a waste just because he looked terrible during the glorified practice in Buffalo last week).
2. Desperate sportswriters hyping up anything at all in order to manufacture something to talk about out of a non-story (Cutler’s Saturday night comments about Devin Hester were still being discussed on sports talk radio today.)

3. Position battles that might not sort themselves out until when games actually have significance. (Other than Hester, who’s going to play Wide Receiver?)

Expect more of all three between now and when the season kicks off in northern Wisconsin September 13th.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

White Sox centerfielders are like Bulls post-players or Bears QBs prior to the Jay Cutler signing — there’s nothing close to a blue chip stock in the portfolio, so all you can do is take the collection of junk bonds you have, and try to maximize your return.

Thirty-one-year-old DeWayne Wise was a career minor leaguer for a reason, and there’s no reason to expect his game will significantly improve when he returns in 6-8 weeks from injury. He earned the job coming out of spring training simply because, as the Dave Matthews Band once put it, “we’ll make the best of what’s around.” Of course, the criticism Wise received from White Sox Nation this April was grossly unfair, because he never possessed the talent and potential of the guy who’s now stepped into his place.

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com.

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