There's no doubt that Stewart brings a new dimension to the Bears offense. Although the team didn't redesign the offense specifically for Stewart, they have highlighted plays that will utilize his rushing skills.
" We haven't added a great deal to our offense. Kordell just happens to have different strengths and one of them is maneuverability," said head coach Dick Jauron. "It does stress a defense when you can get him out of the pocket. The play-action pass takes on a whole new dimension with a quarterback that can hurt you on the rollout."
The receiving core is excited about the possibilities that Stewart presents.
"I'm going to love him throwing the ball to me," David Terrell said. "When guys make mistakes, when guys drop balls, he comes back, looks you in the eye and tells you, 'Look, I'm going to throw the ball to you again.'"
Stewart leads all active quarterbacks with 35 rushing touchdowns, but the team didn't sign him solely for his quick feet.
"I think that his strengths as a quarterback have been overlooked," Jauron said. "Going through a progression and delivering the ball, I think he's been undervalued in that regard. I have a high opinion of him there. And when it's not there, then he's got the athletic ability to make things happen."
Pick up the pace
The front four has struggled to put pressure on the quarterback over the past few seasons. The subject has come to the forefront with the free agent departure of Rosevelt Colvin and his 21 sacks over the past two seasons.
"The pass rush I thought was really spirited," said head coach Dick Jauron following the first day of players practicing in pads.
Something the Bears will need consistently for the defense to be successful.
"I think that Phillip (Daniels) is poised to have an outstanding year," Jauron said. "He's worked awfully hard at it. We'll have to get push inside to give the edge players a chance. It's got to come from a lot of different areas."
One player the Bears think will only get better is Alex Brown, who had 2.5 sacks in nine starts as a rookie. The starting right end job is his to lose and he doesn't plan on relinquishing it anytime soon.
"I'll do a lot more than people expect me to do this year," Brown said.
What does that mean to Brown?
"Number 96 being all over the place. I'm going to contribute wherever I can and if sacks are the thing, then that's fine. I'll do that. I play defensive end and our job is get to the quarterback."
Coming out of Florida, Brown established he could rush the passer in college, setting a school record with 33 sacks during his four-year career, but that remains to be seen on the pro level.
"We're hoping that Alex Brown as an athlete takes another step forward," Jauron said. "Certainly in the offseason he has, but we'll have to see it on game day. That was his forte in college. There's no reason to think he can't do that in the National Football League.
The Bears added two players to their roster on Monday, claiming wide receiver Andre Forde off waivers from Indianapolis and defensive back Brian Mance from Washington. To make room for Forde and Mance, the Bears waived wide receiver Billy Wingfield on Saturday and linebacker Marq Cerqua on Monday.
Forde and Mance are both in their rookie season and were signed as college free agents following the 2003 NFL Draft. Forde played college ball at SUNY-Buffalo and will wear No. 15 for the Bears while Mance played at Clemson and will wear No. 37.