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Chalk Talk


Chalk Talk: How has Elijah Hicks fared in practice?

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

I haven't heard much about rookie safety Elijah Hicks. I know that he didn't practice during the offseason because he was recovering from an injury. But has he returned, and if so, how has he looked on the field?
Kevin L.

Elijah Hicks has been practicing and he's made some nice plays on the ball. I thought Monday was his best outing of training camp to date; he made a couple of nice pass breakups, one in individual drills and another against fellow rookie Velus Jones Jr. in 11-on-11. Coach Matt Eberflus has been impressed with Hicks, saying Monday: "I really like his movement skills. Elijah's really doing a good job. You're focused on that in the open field and also in man-to-man coverage. Can he mirror and stay with guys and then also be stout? Because it's a physical game when you're playing man-to-man, and he can do that. Can he anchor and stay attached to the tight ends or backs or whoever he's covering? But yeah, I've been impressed."

Which Bears player who has performed well in non-contact practices are you most interested to see work out in pads?
Thomas P.
Evergreen Park, Illinois

The first player that comes to my mind is rookie defensive end Dominique Robinson. The fifth-round pick from Miami (Ohio) has impressed coaches with his athleticism and pass rush ability during non-contact practices and I think a lot of people inside and outside Halas Hall are interested in seeing whether he can transfer those skills over to padded practices, which of course better simulate actual game conditions. Here's what coach Matt Eberflus said about Robinson on Monday: "He's intriguing to me and to the defensive coaches. We're excited for the pads to see the pass rush, if that stays with the pads on. And also the ability to play the run, because you've got to play head-up on the tight end, outside the tight end, you'll play your five-technique. You've got to do all of those things and then be able to function when we do call certain movements, he's got to be able to function there." Asked what has impressed him about Robinson in the non-contact practices, Eberflus said: "He's just shown that he can slip the corner. He's got a really good knack for that, to bend and to keep everything pointed toward the quarterback."

Did I hear coach Matt Eberflus say he was going to go for it on every fourth down? He was joking, right?
Robert W.

Yes, you heard him say that, and yes he was joking. When asked by a reporter about his philosophy on fourth down, he joked that he was planning on "going for every fourth down" and "we're never going to punt." He was clearly joking, immediately adding that any fourth-down decision he makes "depends on where you are on the field, it depends on who you're playing, it depends on how confident you feel with your group, getting those yards, whatever those yards are: 1, 2, inches, whatever it is, and you go with your gut. You use your analytics to tell you what you think is right, and then I think you go with your gut." Eberflus did add that he's a risk-taker by nature, though.

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

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