Some angry words, flying fists, and a broken nose later and the Bears will be sitting pretty September 14 against the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina has suspended star receiver Steve Smith for the first two games of the regular season due to an altercation with teammate Ken Lucas in which Lucas ended up with a broken nose. The Panthers play the Bears the second of those two weeks.
While playing the Panthers is never an easy chore, it will be a bit more convenient covering the likes of Muhsin Muhammad, whom the Bears know all too well, and D.J. Hackett. Smith has torched the Bears in recent seasons and his absence will likely allow the Bears to focus more on defending the run and should allow the front four to put more pressure on Jake Delhomme in passing situations.