Bears offensive starters could go longer vs. ex-coordinator

As the Chicago Bears try to fast track the learning process when it comes to Mike Martz’s new offense, coach Lovie Smith is considering playing his starters longer than usual in Saturday’s preseason opener at San Diego.

Typically, Smith has played his starters about 15 snaps or one quarter. He said he might go longer than that against the Chargers, depending on the game situation. He’s big on removing his players after something positive, so if the offense puts together a long touchdown drive on its opening possession, well, that might do it. There is a fine line, balancing the need for work with the need to remain healthy, especially in a must-win season for Smith.

“We've got to get in and out of the huddle, set a good tempo, we don't want any missed assignments," quarterback Jay Cutler said of his goals. “There are probably going to be some things we haven't seen before; it's a 3-4 defense. We're not really preparing for this. We just want to go out there and take care of ourselves.”

Interestingly, the Bears will be going against former defensive coordinator Ron Rivera for the first time since he has been in charge of San Diego’s defense. Smith effectively fired Rivera following the team’s loss in Super Bowl XLI. Rivera was hired as the inside linebackers coach by Norv Turner and then was promoted to defensive coordinator during the 2008 season.

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