Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: What’s greatest challenge in London?

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 do you anticipate being the greatest challenge for the Bears in traveling all the way to London to play Sunday’s game?
George F.
Elgin, Illinois

Based on what I remember from the Bears’ trip to London in 2011 and what I’ve heard this week, I think the biggest hurdle to overcome is adjusting to the six-hour time change. You leave Chicago around 7:30 p.m. and arrive in London the next morning at about 9:30 a.m. local time. But that’s also 3:30 a.m. Chicago time and that’s exactly how it will feel to everyone on the flight. The advice I heard is not to go to sleep when you get to the hotel but to power through the day and then go to sleep Friday not. I felt kind of numb that first day on the Bears’ last trip to London. But coach Matt Nagy is well aware that his players could be a little sluggish during Friday’s practice. Here’s what he had to say this week: “Preparing them for what they’re about to go through is important, which we’ve done. The next part is spicing up the practice a little bit so you give them a little bit of energy. How do you do that? Well, there’s ways to manipulate that. That’s my job to do, which we’ll do, and then once practice is done, go back to the hotel and fall asleep because you’re tired.”

I know the Bears have a lot of players who are injured. Did any of them stay behind in Chicago and not make the trip to London?
Paul K.
Iowa

Receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and offensive lineman Ted Larsen (knee) both did not travel with the Bears to London and have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Everyone else on the roster made the trip, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is not expected to play due to a left-shoulder injury he suffered in last Sunday’s win over the Vikings. Three players who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday made the trip: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (knee), defensive end Bilal Nichols (hand) and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring). Coach Matt Nagy has said that Hicks, who sat out last Sunday’s win over the Vikings, will be a game-time decision.

I read that Chase Daniel said the coach-to-quarterback headsets didn’t work when he played for the Saints in London a few years ago. Do the Bears have a plan in place in case that happens again Sunday against the Raiders?
Steve C.
Provo, Utah

If you know Bears coach Matt Nagy, you won’t be surprised to learn that he has a contingency plan. Here’s what he had to say this week about the headsets possibly not working on the Bears sideline Sunday: “We have backup plans for communication issues every week. Whether it’s a wristband or signals, there are different things we change up. We’re always prepared for that. I don't remember that happening a few years ago when we went there (Nagy was an assistant coach with the Chiefs when they beat the Lions in London in 2015.) But we always try to stay prepared for that.”

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