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 haven't heard or seen much about Barkevious Mingo and what role he will fill for the Bears this season. What do you expect from him this year?
Lake Villa, Illinois
I anticipate that outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, a veteran free agent the Bears signed this offseason, will serve as a valuable backup and part-time contributor on defense as well as a key member of the special teams. Mingo is an experienced pro, having played in 110 games in seven seasons with the Browns (2013-15), Patriots (2016), Colts (2017), Seahawks (2018) and Texans (2019). Even before stepping on the practice field with the Bears, he already has the trust of his coaches. When he played for the Browns, Bears special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor served in the same role with Cleveland. And when Mingo was with the Colts, Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano was Indianapolis' head coach and Bears outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino was the team's defensive coordinator. Said Monachino: "Barkevious is that calm, steady voice of reason that every defense needs … Football makes a great deal of sense to him, so it doesn't take a ton of time to get things installed with him and for him to understand, which is a testament to him and his work ethic and his ability to study and to pick up on things quickly."
Tabor described Mingo as "very personable, very team-oriented and just a great guy." Said Tabor: "He's a guy who can play a lot of different roles for us. The guy can run. He made a lot of plays for me. I'm excited that he's here because he's going to fit great in the room and into our culture. And he's a player who's going to add value to the Chicago Bears."
I know the Bears retooled their offensive coaching staff and have several assistants working with their quarterbacks. But is there any concern about having "too many cooks in the kitchen"?
Rolling Meadows, Illinois
The Bears added another coach when they moved Dave Ragone from quarterbacks coach to the newly-created position of passing game coordinator and then hired John DeFilippo as quarterbacks coach. Ragone and DeFilippo are working closely with head coach Matt Nagy and new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. To those involved, having one more voice is a benefit to both the coaching staff and the players, especially because everyone's role is well-defined.
DeFilippo explained it well when he spoke to reporters via a Zoom video call last month. Here's what he said: "I think the first thing is there is no agenda there with all of us. We all know our roles. I was in a very similar situation in Philadelphia with Frank Reich and Doug Pederson, so I know how to kind of operate in this atmosphere and it's a good atmosphere to have. It's a very positive atmosphere in terms of there's a lot of ideas being thrown out there. If I throw an idea out there and coach Lazor or coach Nagy doesn't like it, no one's sticking their tail between their legs and taking their ball and going home. There's not a lot of sensitivity there. I think when everyone knows their role, whether you're in the locker room or the coaches' offices and your roles are defined, it's really a lot easier to operate in any atmosphere. Coach Nagy's done a fantastic job of defining what everybody's roles are going to be for not only the offseason but the season and everyone's really buying in."
I liked Leonard Floyd, but Robert Quinn looks like a significant upgrade despite where he is in his career. His performance last year has to create some optimism. How do you see this playing out with him and Mack on the outside edges?
Fort Worth, Texas
The Bears are extremely excited about pairing free-agent acquisition Robert Quinn with perennial Pro Bowler Khalil Mack at outside linebacker. The sack numbers they've posted speak for themselves; Quinn has recorded 80.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons with the Rams (2011-17), Dolphins (2018) and Cowboys (2019), including a team-high 11.5 sacks in 14 games last year with Dallas. Mack has averaged double-digit sacks in his career with 61.5 in six seasons, including 21.0 in his first two seasons with the Bears. Add a healthy defensive tackle Akiem Hicks to the mix and the Bears should have a fierce pass rush this season. Opposing offenses won't be able to double-team all three of those players and likely will have their quarterbacks get rid of the ball quickly, which should enable Bears defensive backs to play tight coverage and have more opportunities to intercept or break up passes.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.