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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Does Coward have chance to start?

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.

Do you think it's a foregone conclusion that Germain Ifedi will win the starting right guard competition because of his experience, or do you think that Rashaad Coward has a legitimate chance to win the job?
Fred S.
Hobart, Indiana

No, I don't think it's a foregone conclusion at this point, before the Bears have even conducted a padded practice this year. Rashaad Coward certainly has the opportunity to win the starting right guard position if he outperforms free-agent addition Germain Ifedi in training camp practices. Even though there are no preseason games this year, Coward and Ifedi will both be facing a very strong front seven on the Bears' No. 1 defense in practice. Coward was raw when he entered last season, having started his NFL career as a defensive lineman before being switched to offensive tackle. When Kyle Long was injured in a Week 5 loss to the Raiders, Coward stepped in at right guard and gained valuable experience, starting 10 straight games. Last week, first-year offensive line coach Juan Castillo told reporters that Coward had a great spring, developing more consistent footwork by constantly working on fundamentals. Castillo added that Coward and Ifedi are both athletic and physical and "I think it's going to be a great competition. I'm excited what that right guard position's going to be like."

It seems to me that preparing for the NFL regular season without any preseason games is similar to what college teams do every year. I'm pretty sure Matt Nagy never coached in college, but have his assistants who have worked at the level drawn upon their experiences to help them this year?
William P.
Wadsworth, Illinois

You are correct that Bears coach Matt Nagy has never worked at the college level. But some of his assistants have, and a couple of them spoke to reporters last week about how they're applying what they learned in preparing for college seasons to this unprecedented NFL campaign. Here's what safeties coach Sean Desai—an assistant at Temple and Boston College before joining the Bears in 2013—had to say: "They've been doing it forever in college without [preseason games]. So the biggest takeaways are the way you prepare, the way you practice, and I think coach [Nagy] is really emphasizing when we get a chance to get out there and actually practice, having a tough, physical camp, keeping the urgency on these guys, making them learn and making them apply it to the field quickly." Other assistants talked about the importance of players treating every practice like a game because obviously there are no opportunities to be evaluated in preseason contests.

Have the Bears ever had a left-handed quarterback? I don't recall seeing one, at least in recent years.
Dave W.
West Virginia

The Bears have had three left-handed quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era: Bobby Douglass (1969-75), Will Furrer (1992) and Cade McNown (1999-2000). Furrer is the answer to a pretty good trivia question; his only NFL start came in Mike Ditka's final game as Bears coach in the 1992 season finale. The last left-handed quarterback to appear in an NFL regular-season game was Kellen Moore with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. But there's a pretty good chance that another lefty quarterback will play this season with the Miami Dolphins having selected southpaw Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth pick in the first round of this year's draft.

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

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