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Chalk Talk


Chalk Talk: Did Graham earn starting job?

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

Thomas Graham Jr. played great at cornerback Monday night against the Vikings. Will he be the Bears' starter the rest of the season?
Brad R.

After Thomas Graham Jr.'s impressive NFL debut versus Minnesota, the Bears on Tuesday signed the rookie cornerback from the practice squad and coach Matt Nagy indicated that the rookie's performance Monday night would earn him additional playing time. Said Nagy: "He did a great job of stepping up to the moment." We'll have to wait and see whether Graham starts opposite Jaylon Johnson (when Johnson is removed from the COVID list), but it certainly wouldn't surprise me, especially because the Bears have lacked consistent quality play at that position this season.

I don't think Teez Tabor deserved a penalty for a low block on the Vikings lineman Monday night. He dove to tackle Dalvin Cook and it was a great play. Did the officials provide an explanation for that penalty after the game?
Robert G.
Evanston, Illinois

Yes, referee Scott Novak spoke to a pool reporter about the penalty on Teez Tabor following Monday night's game. Tabor violated a new rule that was instituted this year that prohibits players from delivering low blocks outside of the tight end box anywhere on the field. Tabor dove and made contact with a Vikings offensive linemen below the waist before tackling Dalvin Cook. Here's how Novak explained the call after the game: "The defender cannot go through a blocker low to try to tackle the runner. They are always okay, on their own, without going through somebody to try and tackle low. But since he initiates contact with the offensive player first, even though he's trying to make a play to tackle the runner, he cannot initiate a low block like he did, going through a blocker to get to the runner."

Why don't the Bears play Jesper Horsted more?
Kay C.

I've received a lot of questions since Monday night about Jesper Horsted, who caught his second touchdown pass of the season against the Vikings on just his third target of the year. I think coaches would say that the reason Horsted hasn't had as many opportunities as other players at his position is because Bears tight ends are heavily involved as blockers in the running game, and Horsted—a converted college wide receiver—is more of a pure receiving tight end and not as much as a dual threat as Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham and Jesse James, all of whom have excelled as blockers this season.

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

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