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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: Why are Bears limiting Quinn's reps?

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.

Why are the Bears only playing Robert Quinn on about 50 percent of their defensive snaps? I thought he would fill a much bigger role this season.
Eric P.
Evanston, Illinois

The Bears are doing what they believe will enable Robert Quinn to play as effectively and efficiently as possible. The veteran pass rusher is in his 10th NFL season and was still in the process of overcoming an ankle injury when the season started. After sitting out the opener, his playing time has increased from 25 snaps in Week 2 against the Giants to 32 both in Week 3 versus the Falcons and Week 4 against the Colts to 41 last Thursday night versus the Buccaneers. Quinn was on the field for 58 percent of the defensive plays in that game, which is comparable to his last three seasons when he played 59 percent of the snaps with the Rams in 2017, 58 percent with the Dolphins in 2018 and 60 percent with the Cowboys last year when he recorded 11.5 sacks.

As I watched the Sunday night game between the Vikings and Seahawks, the Vikings defense made an interception after the defender went out of bounds. Cris Collinsworth stated that a defender doesn't have to re-establish himself back in bounds like an offensive player. Wasn't Roquan Smith's interception against the Colts deemed incomplete because he stepped out and didn't re-establish himself in bounds before catching the ball?
Brian N.

I was watching the Sunday night game and heard that as well, Brian. But I did some research and can report that both offensive and defensive players must re-establish themselves with two feet in-bounds before being eligible to touch the ball. While both must re-establish themselves in-bounds, the defensive player can be the first to touch the ball, but the offensive player cannot and would draw an illegal touching penalty. I think that's where the confusion came with Cris Collinsworth's explanation. In terms of the two plays you referenced, Vikings linebacker Eric Wilson was, in fact, able to re-establish himself inbounds before intercepting Russell Wilson's pass, whereas Roquan Smith unfortunately was not able to do so against the Colts.

Should we call Bobby Massie "the closer?" He has two saves in five games!
Rich L.
Laguna Niguel, California

Yes, Bobby Massie has made two crucial plays to help the Bears win a pair of games so far this season. The first one came in a Week 2 victory over the Giants when he made a diving 4-yard reception of a deflected pass that sustained a fourth-quarter drive. The second didn't garner as much attention but was equally important last Thursday night when he scrambled to recover a Nick Foles fumble early in the fourth quarter. Four plays later, Cairo Santos' 47-yard field goal gave the Bears a 17-16 lead in an eventual 20-19 win.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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