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 think will be the key for the Bears to pull off an upset and beat the 49ers in the season opener?
Palos Heights, Illinois
Aside from the important factors that apply in every game, such as winning the turnover battle, converting in the red zone, etc., I'd say that whichever defense is able to generate a consistent pass rush and keep the promising young mobile quarterback from extending and making plays with his legs has a great chance to win Sunday's game. Both the Bears' Justin Fields and the 49ers' Trey Lance are second-year pros who are very gifted, but don't have a whole lot of NFL experience. Whichever defense pressures them into mistakes should give their team an edge. Here's hoping, of course, that it's the Bears defense that gets after Lance.
I see the weather report calls for steady rain Sunday in Chicago. What type of impact do you think that will have on the game?
I don't think even steady rain will have much of an impact, unless it's windy as well. The temperature is supposed to be around 70 degrees, so that won't be a factor. I asked coach Matt Eberflus your question Friday and here's what he said: "It depends; does it come with wind? The wet is the wet. But if it comes with a lot of wind, that's different. That changes things strategically. You've always got to look at it. You play this game long enough, and these guys have played it long enough, they've all played in wet conditions or snowy conditions, cold, windy. So you just deal with what you've got. Guys will be ready to go."
What's the difference between a player being waived versus being released?
Players who have fewer than four accrued NFL seasons are subject to the waiver process. After being waived, other teams can claim them the next day. Players with four or more seasons are considered vested veterans. Upon being released, they immediately become free agents and can sign with any team of their choice.