The one constant, steadying influence all season on the offensive line has been Roberto Garza.
During training camp, he made the transition from guard to center without a hitch and took on the duties of line leader that former center Olin Kreutz had handled for more than a decade.
Garza, who started at guard for the previous six seasons, was rewarded on Tuesday with a two-year contract extension worth $6.55 million.
"He's done just a great job moving into a different role for us," coach Lovie Smith said.
"We've gotten that type of play from Roberto since he's been here, just a steady performer. He's led our offensive line (and) we've seen them make a lot of improvements. A lot of it has to do with Roberto's leadership."
There were a lot of doubters when the Bears moved the 6-2, 310-pound Garza into the pivot, but he quickly allayed any concerns.
"I think a lot of people were a little hesitant when we threw him in there to see exactly what he could do," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "But he's responded brilliantly, and I'm happy for him. We're happy he's going to be here for another couple years."
--In the latest installment of the ongoing Matt Forte contract extension soap opera, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo weighed in on the team's web site.
"As I said on our radio pregame show Monday night, Matt was the only player we targeted, and we made him what I feel is a very lucrative offer on a contract extension," Angelo said. "The deal did not get done, but we definitely want Matt to play many more years with the Bears. Any suggestion otherwise simply is not true. We buy into Matt as both a player and a person."
--Wide receiver Earl Bennett busted out with five catches for 95 yards Monday night against the Eagles in his first game action since suffering a chest injury in Week 2.
Then the NFL busted him with a $5,000 fine for wearing orange cleats that didn't conform to the No Fun League's sense of style.
"I pretty much knew I was going to get a fine," Bennett said. "It's cool. I've been out for a long time. I wanted to come out with the orange. I'm not really worried about the fine."
But don't expect to see Bennett wearing unapproved orange again this week against the Lions.
"They say they'll double the fine," Bennett said. "It would be 10 grand, and I don't think my wife would like that."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Tight end Kyle Adams was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and tight end Andre Smith was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Tight end Draylon Ross was signed to the practice squad.
Adams appeared in all eight games, primarily on special teams. Smith is an undrafted rookie out of Virginia Tech. Ross is an undrafted rookie from North Texas State who spent part of training camp with the Bears.
Adams was almost exclusively a special teams player, and none of the Bears' tight ends are going to catch many passes this season in Mike Martz's offense. However, of starter Kellen Davis' nine receptions, two have been for touchdowns. Backup Matt Spaeth, who is frequently used in two-tight end sets, has caught just five passes, but he also has two touchdown receptions.
--QB Jay Cutler has a career passer rating of 109.2 against the Lions, including a 99.6 mark in Week 5, with 10 touchdown passes and just one interception.
--RB Matt Forte has rushed for 614 yards in seven games against the Lions and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
--RB Marion Barber, who has scored four rushing touchdowns on just 32 carries in his last five games, has five career rushing touchdowns against the Lions on just 43 attempts.
--DE Julius Peppers has nine sacks and four forced fumbles in just seven games against the Lions. Peppers (knee) would not have practiced on Wednesday, but he is expected to play Sunday.
--WR Earl Bennett had five receptions for 95 yards last week after catching just three passes for 20 yards before his chest injury early in the season's second game kept him sidelined for five games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- Marion Barber's team-best touchdown total, which he has achieved on just 32 carries. All four scores have come in the past five games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "According to one person. But I think she's biased." - A laughing QB Jay Cutler when asked if, as alleged in a tweet by his girlfriend Kristin Cavallari, he had the nicest (butt) in the NFL.
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