Missing preseason can help or hinder

Records on those were not kept before 1979, and they were kept poorly through the '80s. Forced fumbles statistics for purpose of this study were taken from Bears media guides.

Here are the Bears' top 10 in interceptions plus forced fumbles.

1. Tillman: 31-30-61.

2. Fencik: 38-7-45.

3. Richard Dent: 8-34-42.

4. Richie Petitbon: 37-*0-37.

5. Donnell Woolford: 32-3-35.

6. (tie) Mark Carrier: 20-10-30.

Brian Urlacher: 21-9-30.

8. Lance Briggs: 14-15-29.

9. Shaun Gayle: 14-12-26.

10. Walt Harris: 15-10-25.

* not available

Front office chessWhat might have been

As the Jaguars' left end, Jeremy Mincey will be trying to beat the Bears on Sunday in Jacksonville. But he could have been trying to beat the Jaguars.

The Bears tried to sign the free agent in the offseason, and at one point his agent told the Jaguars he was accepting the Bears' offer. But then the Jaguars came back in the eleventh hour with more guaranteed money, and Mincey chose to stay put.

How would the Bears have been different if Mincey had come to them?

His signing probably would not have affected their draft plan.

General manager Phil Emery has stated publicly he wanted a player from the first round who could affect the team in 2012. There was no player more suited to do that than a pass rusher. That's why Shea McClellin is a Bear.

The Bears could have chosen offensive tackle Riley Reiff. He still isn't starting in Detroit.

They could have chosen linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who went to the Patriots. But he probably would have been playing about 30 percent of the snaps at most as a strong side linebacker until Urlacher moved on.

If the Bears had known more about Urlacher's knee situation in April, perhaps they would have taken a different approach.

But they didn't, so it's likely Mincey would have given the Bears even more depth and power on their defensive line.

They might have become the Giants of the Midwest.