Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange
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Fullback Tyler Clutts was signed off the Browns' practice squad to fill out the 53-man roster.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Fresno State product has played in the UFL (United Football League), AFL (Arena Football League) and CFL (Canadian Football League). He had 1 catch for 9 yards against the Bears in the preseason finale.

"We had a chance to see Tyler up close in our Cleveland game," coach Lovie Smith said. "He did a good job as a fullback and also as a special teams player."

Prior to Clutts' signing, the Bears had no true fullback on the roster after Will Ta'ufo'ou was waived on Tuesday. However, Purdue rookie tight end Kyle Adams has played some snaps there in the preseason. Adams had been listed on the Week One depth chart as the only fullback and also as the No. 3 tight end.

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Marion Barber (calf) did not practice Thursday and has yet to be ruled out, but he will not play Sunday.

--DE Corey Wootton (knee) was limited at Thursday's practice and will not play Sunday.

--NT Anthony Adams (calf) was full participant in Thursday's practice and said he will play Sunday.

--WR Sam Hurd (ankle) made it through a full practice on Thursday and is expected to play Sunday.

--S Brandon Meriweather, whose one-year contract with the Bears came with a $1 million signing bonus and has a base salary of $2.25 million, is expected to replace FS Major Wright in the next few weeks.

GAME PLAN
The Bears learned their lesson last season when they tried to force the passing game and struggled offensively until they put more emphasis on the ground game. They have vowed not to make the same mistake again this season, and they added Marion Barber as a complement to starter Matt Forte and a more effective short-yardage option than Chester Taylor was in 2010. But the Bears also beefed up the passing game with the addition of veteran WR Roy Williams, and the passing game will be more focused on the wideouts and running backs at the exclusion of the tight ends, whose main function will be as additional blockers and safety valve passing targets.

Defensively the Bears must put pressure on Falcons QB Matt Ryan because they lack the cover ability in the secondary to handle Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez for any length of time. To do that, they must get even more pressure from DE's Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije, who tied for the team lead with eight sacks last season.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Bears rookie ORT Gabe Carimi vs. Falcons DLE Ray Edwards. Carimi is already an above average run blocker according to the Bears, but he needs to improve as a pass blocker, which could be a problem against Edwards, who had eight sacks last season, including one against the Bears, when he was a member of the Vikings.

Bears OLT J'Marcus Webb, a second-year player who is in his first season protecting Jay Cutler's blind side, against Falcons DRE John Abraham, who had 12 sacks last season.

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