CHICAGO | The name tags and photo IDs have been tossed in the garbage. New Bears coach Marc Trestman finally has his 53-member "family" in place.
They are strangers no more.
It's been a long, tedious restructuring process that began Jan. 16 when Trestman was introduced as Lovie Smith's successor. Changes were swift and widespread throughout the organization.
When today's season opener with the Cincinnati Bengals kicks off at noon, 31 of the 53 Bears will have come from other NFL teams.
"I'm very curious to see how (Trestman) reacts when the pressure gets going and the bullets start flying," said Bears cornerback Tim Jennings. "I'm real curious to see how he can manage the offense and manage the whole team as well.
"We all bought into the system. We believe in him, so we're excited to get this thing going."
Trestman is a well-known offensive guru who gets the most from his quarterbacks. Some say the reason he landed the job was to whip Jay Cutler into shape.
Cutler becomes a free agent in 2014 and will be seeking big bucks and a long-term contract.
In 56 regular-season games with the Bears, he has 82 touchdowns, 63 interceptions and has been sacked 148 times -- stats hardly worth breaking the bank over.
Trestman has tossed Cutler a life jacket with four new starters on the offensive line, albeit two rookies in right guard Kyle Long and right tackle Jordan Mills, and newcomer Jermon Bushrod at left tackle.
"Jay's got the needed skill set and everyone knows that," Trestman said. "But he's got to play consistent, at a highly-efficient level, and he's got to take care of the football on a regular basis.
"I feel good about where he is right now. It's not a one-man band out there. He's going to have help and that's part of the deal."
Cutler knows the Bengals hope to take him down often and hard.
"It's my job to deliver the ball and take care of it. That's what I'm trying to focus on," he said. "We're going to get rid of the ball quick. You really don't want to give any of those guys time to work into the second moves because they get to the quarterback a lot."
The Bengals' D-line was responsible for 43 of a team-record 51 sacks last season.
Hear that, Kyle Long?
"This first game is like taking a hit in a boxing match," Long said. "Once you take your first hit, then you can get your feet under you and get going."
The Bears' sputtering offense cost them games last season when they failed again the make the playoffs.
In 23 red zone possessions, they scored only 12 touchdowns.
But getting Matt Forte more involved, having a healthy Alshon Jeffery, a fresher Brandon Marshall, and newly-acquired tight end Martellus Bennett should open things up considerably.
"There's not a lot of leftover words in the huddle when Martellus is around," Cutler said. "It's a good mix. 'B' (Brandon) doesn't say much out there. I'm not loud. Kyle and Martellus are talking a mile a minute.
"It's a good mix of young guys, old guys, and guys who don't say much. They just go out and do their jobs."