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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: What is Bears' plan to decrease penalties?

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 was very happy to hear new Bears coach Matt Eberflus talk about eliminating penalties. Over the past few years the Bears have consistently drawn costly penalties before the snap and after the whistle that I feel reflected a lack of discipline. Did Eberflus detail his plan to fix that?
Leonard K.
Virginia

Yes, new coach Matt Eberflus spoke about wanting the Bears to rank among the top five NFL teams in fewest penalties and provided a blueprint to accomplish that goal. By the way, Eberflus coordinated a Colts defense that committed the fewest penalties in the league in 2019 and 2021. As a team, Indianapolis tied for third in the NFL with the fewest penalties (76); the Bears tied for the 12th most with 106 and led the league with 11 unnecessary roughness penalties. During his recent introductory press conference, here's how Eberflus detailed his plan to eliminate penalties with the Bears: "I think it's through education. We're teachers. Coaches are really just teachers. It's all about teaching football. So you educate. You educate through film, you educate by having officials out there, you educate how important it is to winning and what that penalty did to us in terms of a negative sense, and what clean football does for us for a winning sense. That's important. That's just the education process. You always just touch on it. We'll have situations taped where we talk about being smart players, every single week, where we go through it with the players teaching the rules, what's allowed and what isn't allowed, so you can decrease the penalties."

Seeing the success NFL teams have had pairing young quarterbacks with receivers they played with in college—LSU's Joe Burrow and J'Marr Chase with the Bengals and Alabama's Tua Tagovailia and Jaylen Waddle are two examples—is there any chance the Bears could draft a receiver who caught passes from Justin Fields at Ohio State?
Don S.
Momence, Illinois

The top two receivers that Justin Fields teamed with at Ohio State, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, are both consensus first-round picks in this year's draft. With the Bears having packaged their 2022 first-round selection in last year's trade with the Giants to move up nine spots in the first round to choose Fields, it seems unlikely the Bears would be able to land Wilson or Olave. At least one NFL analyst, though, in ESPN's Jordan Reid, predicts in his two-round mock draft released Monday that the Bears will pick a receiver in Purdue's David Bell with their first selection in the second round at No. 39 overall.

How many games will the Bears play in 2022 against teams with first-year coaches?
Steve C.
Hampshire, Illinois

Five of the Bears' 17 games in 2022 will be against teams with first-year coaches. They include home and road contests against the Vikings (Kevin O'Connell), home games versus the Dolphins (Mike McDaniel) and Texans (Lovie Smith) and a road meeting with the Giants (Brian Daboll). Of that group, only Smith has previously been an NFL head coach, with the Bears from 2004-12 and the Buccaneers in 2014-15.

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