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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Is Skrine in mix to start at corner?

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.

With Artie Burns injuring his knee, it appears that the Bears don't have any experienced cornerbacks on their roster to start opposite Kyle Fuller. I know that Buster Skrine has mostly played nickel back, but do you think he could be an option to start outside and maybe move inside in passing situations?
Rob H.
Wheaton, Illinois

Judging by what defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend had to say during a video call with the media Wednesday, it seems that Buster Skrine very well could be in the mix to start at cornerback opposite Kyle Fuller. Skrine played both cornerback and nickel back with the Browns (2011-14) and Jets (2015-18) before lining up predominantly at nickel back in his first season with the Bears last year. Said Townsend: "He reminds me, 'Hey I was a corner when I came in, and I've just been really good at nickel.' A lot of times in this thing, you play 60-70 percent of sub, so he's always slid inside. But he's capable of playing outside. He's a fantastic player. He plays the game the right way. He's going to give you his all every day; that's all you can ask for. But Buster is a true defensive back that sometimes gets type-cast as a nickel."

I know training camp just started, but do you think that either Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles has an early edge in the quarterback competition?
Phillip K.
Shreveport, Louisiana

The Bears have acknowledged that Foles is at a bit of a disadvantage because after all offseason practices were cancelled due to COVID-19, he's just beginning to work with the team's receivers for the first time. That'll be something to monitor over the next few weeks given the importance of developing timing with receivers and cohesiveness with the offensive line. In terms of on-field performance, I don't think that either Foles or Mitchell Trubisky has an edge after the first two training camp practices Monday and Tuesday. The good news is that neither quarterback threw an interception in the first two workouts and both showed improvement from Monday to Tuesday.

After watching the Bears practice for the first time in 2020, what would you say is the biggest difference between the current team and last year's version?
Paul F.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

It's only been two practices, but I've seen three tight ends in Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet and Demetrius Harris making plays in the passing game that I didn't see from that position last season in training camp or in games. All three tight ends were acquired by the Bears during the offseason. Hopefully, the trio can build on its early success and turn a weak position last year into one of strength. If that happens, it will give the offense a huge boost. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky praised the revamped position after Tuesday's practice, saying: "We've got a rejuvenated tight end room, so we've got a lot of size and athleticism down there and it's cool to see those guys go up and get the football and make plays down in the red zone. We're going to need them to do that a lot this year."

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

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