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Why didn't Long play versus Packers?

Posted Nov 14, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses why guard Kyle Long was active but didn't start against the Packers, if Mitchell Trubisky is taking too many sacks and why receiver Markus Wheaton didn't get more playing time versus Green Bay.



Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

If Kyle Long was healthy enough to be active Sunday, why didn’t he start against the Packers?

Ryan S.
Midlothian, Illinois

Bears guard Kyle Long was limited in practice all week due to a finger injury and he would have been limited in Sunday’s game against Green Bay as well and therefore unable to shoulder a full load of offensive plays. Long probably wouldn’t have even been active if backup Tom Compton was healthy, but Compton was inactive with an ankle injury. Here’s what coach John Fox had to say about why Long dressed but did not play on offense (he subbed in for one play on the field-goal team after Josh Sitton was shaken up): “Last week I didn’t feel like he was quite able to practice full speed to be prepared. He was physically capable of being active. But I’m not sure he was going to be healthy enough to take 70 snaps in a game.”

Would you agree that rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is holding onto the ball too long and taking too many sacks?

Steven B.
Waukegan, Illinois

I think Mitchell Trubisky would be the first person to tell you that he held onto the ball too long on a couple of his sacks against the Packers. But the rookie quarterback is focused on not turning the ball over and I’m sure will learn to throw it away to avoid both an interception and a sack. Here’s what Trubisky said about taking five sacks in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay: “It was just me being careful with the ball and holding it. They did a great job confusing us. Some of them were coverage sacks, but I thought our offensive line did a great job up front today. Just me holding onto the ball, I have to get it out quicker. I have to identify the coverages and we just need to execute as a whole and get better.” Coach John Fox weighed in as well, saying: “There were a couple times that maybe the next-best-thing might have been a check down or getting rid of the ball a little bit earlier, but all-in-all he’s not turning the ball over. I think he’s growing and getting better in all those situations the more he gets exposed to it. I thought [Sunday] was by far his best game to date as far as passing the ball. Hopefully he’ll watch this, learn from it and get better for it and I have all the confidence in the world he will.”

Markus Wheaton wasn’t on the injury report all week, yet he hardly played against the Packers. With the lack of talent and depth at receiver, why wasn’t he on the field more?

Arthur P.
Rolling Meadows, Illinois

The Bears clearly felt they had better options than Markus Wheaton in receivers Dontrelle Inman (6 receptions for 88 yards), Kendall Wright (5-46) and Joshua Bellamy (2-57, including a 46-yard touchdown). Wheaton hasn’t been able to stay healthy in his first season with the Bears. He missed most of training camp due to an appendectomy and finger injury that required surgery and then missed three games with a groin injury before returning Sunday against the Packers. Asked what Wheaton needs to do to get back on the field, coach John Fox said: “He’s got to practice full speed for a period of time, no different than Dontrelle Inman, who has been here for a couple weeks and had some time to practice and prepare, and the more he’s out there and can show coaches what he can do the better for him.”

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