Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Why did Bears keep six ILBs?

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 did the Bears keep six inside linebackers on their roster? That seems like too many when they had tough decisions to make at other positions.
Roger P.
Schaumburg, Illinois

The Bears don’t get caught up in keeping a certain number of players at various positions. For instance, they don’t go into training camp planning to put five receivers or five safeties on their 53-man roster. They instead give jobs to who they deem are the best players, and that’s how six inside linebackers landed on the 53-man roster. Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith are the starters, Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Nick Kwiatkoski are the second-stringers and Josh Woods and Kevin Pierre-Louis are listed as third-teamers. Woods and Pierre-Louis specifically bring a lot of value to special teams. Here’s what general manager Ryan Pace said Monday about having six inside linebackers on the 53-man roster: That position is the perfect position when you talk about, ‘Let’s keep the best players. Let’s don’t get caught up in so much, oh, you’ve got to have so many at this position.’ There are certain parameters you have to pay attention to, but that was a prime example of keeping the best players. And we like all six of those guys.”

I know that Anthony Miller missed a lot of practice time in training camp with an ankle injury. What’s the key to getting him up to speed?
Rick L.
Germantown, Tennessee

In terms of making up for the time that Anthony Miller missed, Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Monday that he feels the biggest issue is developing chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. “The more reps they get, even in practice, the better that is,” Pace said. Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich added that Miller has missed out on timing, rhythm and building confidence. It will be interesting to see how the Bears work Miller back into the lineup beginning Thursday night when they open the season by hosting the Packers.

The Bears moved James Daniels from guard to center, which is obviously a very important position on offense. Is there a concern about his inexperience?
Steve F.
Hammond, Indiana

James Daniels’ lack of NFL experience at center doesn’t seem to be something anyone at Halas Hall is worried about. He played the position his final two years at Iowa before lining up as a guard as a Bears rookie last season . Daniels is only 21, but he’s mature and wise beyond his years. On top of that, he’s a very talented and promising player. Here’s what coach Matt Nagy said about Daniels on Monday: “He’s in a good place. Just kind of every day is the same day for him. As far as his mentality, zero issues with him communication-wise. He has a great rapport going right now with Mitch [Trubisky] and the rest of the offensive line. For a second-year guy going into what’s going to be his first year at center, I’ll be interested to see how he handles everything. But I have to give credit to coach [Harry] Hiestand. He has those guys ready to go, and he’s hard on them—but it’s a tough love.”

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