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Chalk Talk: How has Patterson impacted field 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

I know that Cordarrelle Patterson is a threat to score, but I don't think it's always a good idea to take every kickoff out of the end zone. Can you please break down the results of when he's taken kickoffs out of the end zone this year in terms of how it has affected field position?
Jimmy C.
Brookfield, Illinois

In the first seven games this season, Cordarrelle Patterson has taken 17 kickoffs out of the end zone and he's reached at least the 25-yard line on eight of those returns (47.1 percent). The Bears have started their drives after those eight returns at their own 41, 28, 29, 38, 25, 25, 31 and 38. The possessions following the nine other kickoff returns have opened at the Bears' 23, 24, 18, 24, 17, 18, 20, 19 and 18. I think all of the aforementioned data indicates that it's well worth the risk of Patterson taking kickoffs out of the end zone, especially with an offense that's struggling. Here's what special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor said this week about Patterson bringing kickoffs out of the end zone: "We're going to push the envelope. I will always say this: if you don't bring the ball out, you have a zero percent chance of scoring. If you do bring it out, you have at least a little bit of a chance to score."

What do you think is the main reason that David Montgomery's rushing yardage has declined over the last month or so?
Aaron K.
Milford, Michigan

I really don't think the Bears' lack of success running the ball is a reflection on David Montgomery. It seems to me that he's still consistently running hard and breaking tackles. I feel the biggest issue has been the inability to open holes and create running room. There have been a couple runs where Montgomery may have hesitated hitting the hole, but I think that's just him trying to do too much. It's something the Iowa State product acknowledged when speaking to reporters Thursday, saying that he has to "trust his path" and "trust that it's going to open up because it's going to open up eventually." Montgomery added that "I've got to just be sure that I see what I see when I see it and just hit it. A lot of times I find myself kind of, like, going outside of the play, trying to make stuff happen when sometimes it's best not to. I've just got to be sure that I have a complete trust on the play and my line is going to be there and it's going to happen." I know that Montgomery's coaches have continued to rave about him, with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor telling the media this week that "there isn't anything you could ask him to do that he wouldn't be ready to do. He doesn't say much and he gets it done. I would say it's an unbelievable amount of trust that we have in him."

What is the latest news on running back Lamar Miller? Is he getting close to be activated?
Leo K.
Bettendorf, Iowa

Coach Matt Nagy told reporters this week that Lamar Miller is making consistent progress while practicing on the scout team and is getting close to being ready to join the active roster. The Bears signed the veteran running back, who tore his ACL in a 2019 preseason game while playing for the Texans, to their practice squad Oct. 5. Said Nagy: "I think that Lamar is looking better and better each day, really each week. It's going to be a communication and trust process, [with] Andre Tucker, our head trainer, just being able to see where he's at and us getting a feel where he's at with his leg. But I do think he's getting close. He's done everything really well as far as in meetings, in practice. Obviously, he's a heck of a running back."

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

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