Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Is Daniels lining up at center?

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.

I know the Bears said they were thinking about moving James Daniels to center and Cody Whitehair to left guard. Have they done that?
Raymond H.
Kankakee, Illinois

Coach Matt Nagy confirmed after Wednesday’s OTA practice that James Daniels has been getting reps at center and Cody Whitehair has been working at left guard. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent a permanent move, but it’s something the Bears are taking a look at during their offseason program and likely will continue evaluating into training camp. Said Nagy: “Yeah, that’s what we are looking at. We’re giving them a chance to look at it and see where it’s at. We feel comfortable with it. This is the time to test it out and see. It’s hard right now because we don’t have pads. We’ll get into training camp and see how that goes. But I feel pretty good about it.” Daniels started the final 10 games at left guard last season as a Bears rookie, but he opened 23 games at center his final two seasons at Iowa. Whitehair has started all 16 games in each of his three NFL seasons with the Bears at center, a position he never played at Kansas State. In college, Whitehair lined up at left guard early in his career before starting at left tackle as a junior and senior.

With the Bears moving Bradley Sowell to tight end, who do you think will be their third tackle behind starters Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie?
Ryan G.
Elmwood Park, Illinois

That most likely won’t be determined until the pads come on in training camp and the preseason. But when coach Matt Nagy was asked that question recently, he mentioned Rashaad Coward as a possibility, saying: “Right now we’re playing through that. We’ve got some guys like Rashaad Coward that can do some things interior and tackle-wise, and then we’ve got some other guys that are new that we’ll test out too.” Coward signed with the Bears in 2017 as an undrafted defensive end from Old Dominion. The 6-6, 320-pounder spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad before playing in one game late in the season. Coward was then switched to offensive tackle in 2018, but he did not appear in a game last season.

What type of role do you expect Cordarrelle Patterson to fill for the Bears this season?
Don S.
Indiana

As you probably know, coach Matt Nagy loves versatile playmakers with intriguing traits and Cordarrelle Patterson fits that description perfectly. In six NFL seasons he’s proven to be an excellent kickoff returner who can also excel as a receiver and a running back. The Patriots used him as their starting running back in a couple games last year when they had injuries at the position. So I expect the Bears to utilize his skills in a variety of different ways this season. Here’s what coach Matt Nagy recently had to say about the 6-2, 228-pounder: “He’s a weapon, and for us to be able to use him, you saw what New England did with him. We’ll have our own stuff that we do. You’ll see some of that and you won’t see some things. He’s a big player. You look at him, he’s huge. When you’re huge and you’re fast, those combinations usually work.”

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