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.
It looks like the Bears are a much better team on paper than the Cardinals. But you obviously never know what's going to take place on the field. What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the Bears this week in Arizona?
I'd say the biggest challenge facing the Bears this week is how young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the offense handles a Cardinals defense that likes to blitz a ton. Said coach Matt Nagy: "They do a really good job in moving guys around and disguising when they're coming and where they're coming from." The Bears spent much of the week preparing for the blitzes they expect to see Sunday. Said Trubisky: "They get after the quarterback for sure. They're not afraid to pressure on first and second down and even get after it on third down. We've got to have great communication between me, the o-line, the receivers, and have some good checks in place so when they bring the blitz that hopefully we can make them pay." The Bears are counting on every member of their offense to help combat Arizona's blitzes. Said offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich: "It's an all-hands-on-deck-type of deal. You have to protect. You have to play in rhythm. You have to throw in time. The routes have to be crisp and urgent."
I've been impressed with how improved Jordan Howard seems to be as a receiver. Have you seen the same thing as I have?
Homer Glen, Illinois
Yes, I completely agree that Jordan Howard has shown improved receiving skills. Howard has worked very hard on that aspect of his game, catching extra passes before, during and after practice on a regular basis, and that dedication is paying off. He made a real nice juggling catch on a pass that was nearly intercepted against the Seahawks and has eight receptions for 58 yards in the Bears' first two games. Here's what quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had to say about Howard's improvement as a receiver: "He really put a big emphasis on working on his pass-catching ability in the offseason, and you can definitely see the payoff. He looks a lot more comfortable just running routes, getting open and he's making great catches with his hands. I trust him because we've put a lot of work in together just developing that chemistry, knowing where he's going to be on his routes. He's been working on it and just catching a lot of balls. And you love to see it from a guy who is just trying to evolve his game more and more. We know how he can run the ball out of the backfield, under center and now he's doing even more out of the gun, catching passes out of the backfield. So he's adding more and more to his game that will hopefully keep defenses off balance and just give us more options as an offense."
Did the Bears really celebrate their win over the Seahawks by dancing with a disco ball? And what do you think George Halas would think about that?
Terre Haute, Indiana
Yes, they did. Coach Matt Nagy spoke to Cubs manager Joe Maddon about the Cubs celebrating wins with a disco ball and then incorporated the idea with the Bears. Here's what Nagy had to say about it: "I've got to give credit to coach Maddon with the Cubs; we've had some good discussions over the summer. We just thought for us, we have 16 games and these wins are so hard to get. I want everybody to understand on that team it's OK to enjoy them and you're allowed to have fun. For us, we go right into Arizona five hours later after [the win]. So, let's celebrate a little bit and let's have a little fun. And that was one of the coolest moments of being able to see those guys in there, dancing and having a good time. No one else around, just them. That's what this is ultimately all about."