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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Thoughts on not playing starters?

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.

What did you think about Matt Nagy's decision not to play most of the Bears starters in Saturday night's preseason game against the Chiefs?

Alan C.

Wisconsin

I give Bears coach Matt Nagy a ton of credit for doing something he felt strongly was in the best interest of his team even though it was unconventional and bold and something he knew would draw criticism. Here's what he had to say about his decision to hold out most of his starters Saturday night against the Chiefs: "This was just for me knowing the pulse of our team. I know where we're at. I know this team better than anybody right now, and I feel strong about that. I know our players. I have individual meetings with our players. I don't sit here and try to guess where they're at. I talk to our guys." His reasoning had a lot to do with the fact that the Bears started training camp earlier than any other team because they played in the Hall of Fame Game, they had two physical joint practices with the Broncos and they had a great week of practice heading into last Saturday night's game against the Chiefs. I have a feeling that Nagy is ahead of the curve here and a lot of teams will begin to do exactly what he did, especially when you look around the league this past weekend and see that Jaguars receiver Marquis Lee suffered a serious knee injury and Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen exited his game with a head injury. In the Bears' third preseason game last year, they lost top receiver Cameron Meredith for the season with a torn ACL. And remember back in 2004 and 2005 when Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman suffered serious leg injuries in meaningless preseason games as well. So, again, I think that Nagy will be part of starting a trend here that very well may lead to the NFL perhaps shortening its preseason slate, which many people believe is too long.

I understand Matt Nagy's decision to hold most of the Bears starters out of their last preseason game, but does he really think that Mitchell Trubisky is prepared to enter the regular season with so little experience operating the team's new offense in game situations?

Roy J.

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

When he spoke to the media following last Saturday night's game, coach Matt Nagy said that he's "comfortable with where [Mitchell Trubisky] is at" after taking almost 2,000 snaps in the offense in offseason practices and training camp. Nagy conceded that the offense is "going to take a little bit of time," but he likes what he's seen from Trubisky in terms of the quarterback's ability to read the defense, call protections, get the ball out quickly and make correct decisions.

Did the Chiefs know that the Bears weren't going to play their starters Saturday night?

Phil D.

Topeka, Kansas

Yes, they did. Coach Matt Nagy said that he called his mentor, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, shortly after informing Bears players of his plan at a team meeting Friday morning. Said Nagy: "He's the very first person that I called to tell. I felt a lot better when I did that. I know how he is, and he respected that and appreciated that. Too much respect to not do that. The last thing I wanted was for him to see all of a sudden we show up out on the field and we've got our 'twos' out there. That's not going to happen. I'm not going to do that. I let him know, just out of pure respect."

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