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Chalk Talk: How important is three-technique position?

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

A key component in the Bears' new 4-3 scheme will be the three-technique defensive tackle, a position that Tommie Harris played. Do you think that position becomes more important than other needs and any speculation if the Bears target this in the draft or free agency?
Wayne L.
North Bend, Washington

I can't say for sure whether new Bears general manager Ryan Poles feels that his starting three-technique defensive tackle is currently on the roster or how he'll look to acquire that player. But what I do know for sure is that new defensive coordinator Alan Williams described the three-technique defensive tackle as "one of the staples of the defense," so I'm sure that solidifying that position will be one of the top priorities this offseason. Williams also listed a few of the characteristics the Bears will be seeking in that position, saying: "We want that guy to be athletic. We want that guy to be instinctive. We want that guy to be able to stay on his feet. When he gets a one-on-one, we want that guy to be able to beat his one-on-ones … That guy is one of the staples of the defense because one of the things that I do believe is a good defense is built through the middle, and that's the middle part of our defense. That guy's going to be a tremendous part of success of Chicago Bears football and, specifically, Chicago Bears defensive football."

During his introductory press conference, new Bears GM Ryan Poles talked about the importance of building the team through the draft. While we all know the 2022 draft capital situation, have the Bears traded away any other future draft picks that will hinder this vision?
Kevin T.
Dyer, Indiana

I believe the only move involving a 2023 draft pick was the Bears sending their sixth-round selection to the Dolphins in exchange for receiver/return specialist Jakeem Grant Sr.. Other than that, the Bears have their full complement of 2023 picks in Rounds 1-5 and 7. And for those who may not be certain about this year's situation that you referred to, the Bears have five picks: Their own selections in Rounds 2, 3, 5 and 6 and an additional fifth-rounder they obtained in a trade that sent receiver Anthony Miller to the Texans. The Bears dealt their first- and fourth-round picks to the Giants last April to move up nine spots in the first round to choose quarterback Justin Fields at No. 11. They also sent their seventh-round selection to the Texans in the Miller trade.

Can you explain how an official knows where to spot the ball after a punt goes out of bounds without hitting the ground first? It appears that the official picks up the ball outside the lines and walks forward to spot the ball.
George W.
Palatine, Illinois

The referee, who stands behind the punter, is responsible for judging where the ball crossed the sideline (if it remains airborne). The official you referred to who marks the spot continues to walk up the sideline until he is signaled to stop by the referee.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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