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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: What’s No. 1 concern vs. Bills?

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 should be the Bears' biggest concern heading into Buffalo to play the Bills?
Victor G.
Altoona, Pennsylvania

I'd definitely say that the Bills defense is the biggest concern, especially when it comes to forcing turnovers and giving the Buffalo offense a short field. The Bills have struggled as a team of late, but the issues have mainly been on offense. The defense is aggressive and generates a lot of pressure on the quarterback. The Patriots offense didn't score a touchdown against the Bills last Monday night until the fourth quarter. Plus playing in Buffalo is no treat. The Bills fans are loud and very invested in the game, which makes it difficult on visiting teams. Coach Matt Nagy said this week that there are some things you can't do in loud road stadiums, mostly involving motions and shifts. Said Nagy: "There's some things that you're at a disadvantage because you're on the road and it's loud. The communication is not as strong when you play at particular stadiums, and Buffalo, they fall under that category where it's loud. Offensively, we need to make sure that we're doing everything the right way that way. That's important on the road to do that."

Do you think that Charles Leno Jr. is the long-term answer at left tackle? I think he's a good pass blocker, but I'm not sold on him as a run blocker.
Pete D.
Plano, Texas

The Bears definitely feel that Charles Leno Jr. is the long-term answer at left tackle. They proved that in August 2017 when they signed him to a four-year contract extension. I think he has had a very good season, both pass-blocking and run-blocking. Here's what coach Matt Nagy had to say about Leno this week: "He's very consistent, great pass blocker. He's well-rounded. He's really good at pass blocking, pass protection. He's great in the run game. The way he is in practice leading that huddle, he's what you ask for. He's everything you want in a tackle, and so I appreciate that. He puts in a lot of hard work, he respects this game, he respects his coaches, his teammates, he does it the right way and we're lucky to have him."

Why didn't Tarik Cohen call a fair catch at the end of the first half against the Jets, so the Bears could have then attempted a free kick?
Stan R.
Mundelein, Illinois

Tarik Cohen caught the punt at his own 45-yard line, which means a free kick would have been 65 yards. For those who don't know, teams can attempt a free kick (with no rush from the defense) at the spot of a fair catch. The Bears no doubt felt that the chances of making a 65-yard kick in strong winds was minute, plus the Jets would probably have an opportunity to return the ball out of the end zone. There was probably a better chance of Tarik Cohen returning the punt for a touchdown, so that's likely the rationale for not calling a fair catch in that situation.

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