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Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Who will replace Akiem Hicks?

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.

Who will the Bears rely on most to replace the injured Akiem Hicks?
Ross A.
Rome, Georgia

It’s going to have to be a group effort to replace Akiem Hicks, given his ability to both stop the run and rush the passer. It appears that defensive end Bilal Nichols is ready to return after missing the last three games with a broken hand. In addition, I liked what I’ve seen so far this season from unheralded linemen Roy Robertson-Harris and Nick Williams and they will need to continue to step up to help make up for the loss of Hicks.

It seems like the Bears have been in every game since Matt Nagy was hired. What’s been the most lopsided loss they’ve suffered with Nagy as coach?
Gary T.
Grayslake, Illinois

The Bears’ seven losses in coach Matt Nagy’s two seasons have come by 1, 3, 7, 3, 1, 7 and 3 points. Before last year, the last time the Bears went an entire season without losing by at least eight points was in 1963 when they went 11-1-2 and won the NFL Championship. Even the 1985 Bears lost by more than a touchdown; their only defeat was by a 38-24 score to the Dolphins.

How concerned are you that the Raiders discovered a formula to beat the Bears defense and other teams will copy it moving forward?
Ron G.
South Holland, Illinois

I’m not worried about that. Yes, the Raiders beat the Bears with a power running game and by throwing short quick passes to neutralize the pass rush. But other teams have already tried the same thing—the Vikings for instance one week earlier—without having the same success. I think it was just a perfect storm in terms of the Raiders relying on a mammoth offensive line and executing at a very high level against a Bears team that’s not used to getting punched in the mouth. The NFL is such a week-to-week league where things change rapidly that I’m not concerned that there’s now a blueprint out there on how to beat the Bears defense.

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