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Draft winds signal defense for Bears

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Editor’s note: First in a series of draft-related pieces as the calendar moves slowly toward early May.

With less than a month remaining before the NFL’s annual talent grab bag, the NFL Draft May 8-10, the Chicago Bears are busy conducting their due diligence and bringing in prospects for final visits.

Signs point to the Bears using most of their modest six selections to help a beleagured defense that aged quickly under first-year defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. While Tucker took the bulk of the blame for the unit’s downfall, he wasn’t on the field. Every position showed cracks…the pass rush was non-existent, the tackling was poor, and there were multiple breakdowns in coverage.

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Bears announce preseason schedule

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In anticipation of the 2014 NFL regular season schedule which should be unveiled before the end of the month, the Chicago Bears announced their preseason slate today, which features a nationally televised matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The team’s official release is below:

The Bears open the 2014 preseason at home versus the Philadelphia Eagles (Aug. 7-10).

The Bears will close out the 2014 preseason with road contests at Seattle (Aug. 21-24) and Cleveland (Aug. 28-29).

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Vet center de la Puente latest Bears addition

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The Chicago Bears checked off another need via free agency with the signing of former New Orleans Saints center Brian de la Puente to a one-year deal Sunday.

The signing of de la Puente gives the Bears flexibility up front and possibly a future starter in 2015 should the club move away from veteran Roberta Garza.

The team’s official release is below:

The 6-3, 306-pound de la Puente has started 44-of-48 games played over the last three seasons (2011-13) for the New Orleans Saints, with all 44 starts coming at center. He also started all four postseason contests at center during his time in New Orleans.

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