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Jay Cutler, new-look Bears can't afford slow start

"NFL Total Access" continues with its "32 teams in 32 days" series. We decided to score some brownie points by writing an accompanying post each night. We'll focus on what each team needs to accomplish before Week 1.

Bears must pass chemistry before NFC North scrum begins

The Chicago Bears had themselves an excellent offseason.

The team united Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, a move that can take their passing game to unseen heights in franchise history. Moves to add running back Michael Bush and quarterback Jason Campbell were equally wise, providing talent and depth at two positions undone by injury late last season.

The Bears used the No. 19 overall pick in the draft to select defensive end Shea McClellin, a player they hope will join Julius Peppers' eternal quest to get to the quarterback. In a division that houses Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, adding pass rushers isn't a bad idea. Along those same lines, the team addressed its secondary concerns by acquiring Jonathan Wilhite and Kelvin Hayden.

The Bears' biggest challenge -- and much of this falls on Lovie Smith and his coaches -- will be finding a way to assimilate all this new talent by Week 1. The Bears play in arguably football's most competitive division, and they cannot afford a slow start.

And then there's the Matt Forte situation, bubbling beneath the surface. We assume he'll be at training camp, but will that chip on his shoulder drive him, or create a schism in the locker room?

We're guessing the former, but the alliance between Forte and Bush could be uneasy at the start.

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