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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: What changes with move back to Halas Hall?

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.

Other than the practices being closed to fans, what if anything changes with the Bears shifting their training camp from Bourbonnais back to Halas Hall?
Fred S.
Schaumburg, Illinois

I think the biggest thing is that coach Matt Nagy and his staff will hone in on the plays that work best and they’re most likely to use and stop experimenting with such a large volume of plays like they did during the offseason and in Bourbonnais. It’s the same thing the Bears did a year ago at this time. Here’s how Nagy described it to reporters: “Let’s pull back a little bit. We’re at a point where we’re searching for plays to install at night and that’s usually not good. That means that you’re not running plays that you’ve been running, that are in your core concept. So let’s get back to just playing fast and that sort of thing and we’ll figure out what we like and what we don’t like. But we’ve hit that limit of testing them, where they’re at, and it’s time to pull back now and start gearing up so that these young guys and the vets can start getting more and more confidence.”

I know the Bears have a great culture in their locker room. But is there any concern about a fight like the one between Javon Wims and Prince Amukamara this week in practice dividing the offense and defense?
Ben D.
Boise, Idaho

I have zero concern about that; the Bears remain one big happy family, and to me the main reason for that is how coach Matt Nagy handles every situation. In terms of the fight between Javon Wims and Prince Amukamara, it was a fairly innocent altercation that has had no lingering issues. The two shook hands and moved on. Here’s what Nagy had to say about the fight: “We talk about how we’re going to handle those things internally when things do happen. To me there are different levels of it, and there’s some levels that can get out of control. It can ruin you. There’s other ones where guys, it’s competitive. They’re chirping. The guys want to do well. The beauty of our sport, and sports in general, is that you care. These guys care. They’re trying to make teams and trying to make plays. Sometimes the juices get going. That’s my job to make sure I come in there and clear the dust, settle the dust.” (Like I said earlier, consider the dust settled.)

Who’s a player who has been with the Bears for a few years who had his best training camp this summer?
Will P.
Darien, Illinois

The first player who comes to my mind is tight end Ben Braunecker. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he had his best training camp since he joined the Bears in 2016 as an undrafted free agent from Harvard. With tight ends Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen missing chunks of camp, Braunecker took advantage of expanded playing time, making several catches in virtually every practice. Said coach Matt Nagy: “Ben’s done a great job and he’s been great on special teams as well. We’re lucky to have him.”

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