Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
I'm taking my kids to Bears training camp this year for the first time. Any tips in terms of how to get autographs and the best spot to watch practice? Any info would be much appreciated.
Training camp certainly provides the best opportunity to see Bears players up close and also get autographs. It's also nice that admission and parking are both free. I would suggest giving yourself plenty of time to get to Bourbonnais and try to arrive early. The traffic gets pretty bad and the line to get into practice usually is very long. If possible, avoid weekends because they're much more crowded. Once inside the gates, look to see where the large cranes are situated because that's where most of the action in practice will take place. There's a kids-only autograph area that leads from the field to the locker room, so I would get your kids situated there near the end of practice. Hope that helps.
What will be the biggest difference we see on the field this season with John Fox as head coach compared to last year?
Oak Lawn, Illinois
Well, the obvious answer is the new 3-4 defense. It's the first time the Bears have employed that type of scheme and it will be very interesting to watch it on a daily basis in practice to see how players such as Jared Allen and Pernell McPhee are utilized. I think it will enable the Bears to generate a better pass rush and create favorable match-ups more so than in the past few seasons. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is one of the most highly respected assistant coaches in the NFL and I have full confidence that he will put players in the best positions to succeed.
What are your expectations for Kyle Long in Adam Gase's offense?
It's no secret that the Bears will run the ball more than they did under previous head coach Marc Trestman and I expect Matt Forte will play an integral role on offense—just as he has every season since he joined the team as a second-round pick in 2008. New coordinator Adam Gase knows that Forte is an excellent three-down back who's capable of running, receiving and blocking. To me, it will be interesting to see how much Forte stays on the field versus sharing the workload with a backup.