Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Will Bears stage another ‘mock game?’

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.

Do you think the Bears will hold another one of those “mock game” practices to help their starters get ready for the regular season? I thought it was a pretty interesting idea given that they’re not really playing in the preseason.
Phil D.
Minooka, Illinois

Coach Matt Nagy basically said Tuesday that it’s possible the Bears could conduct another practice like that, but he doesn’t anticipate it happening. A big reason is that beginning this week the Bears are holding practices on three straight days just as they will during the regular season. For those who don’t know, the Bears held a first-of-its-kind “mock game” practice under the lights last Wednesday night at Halas Hall. They replicated a game, from having players run out of a tunnel to working on different situations, not only like red-zone and short-yardage but sudden-change and backed up near the goal line. Here’s more of what Nagy said Tuesday: “That was kind of an ‘on-the-whim’ type deal for that. We have a plan for our whole team as we’re moving forward here, but I don’t foresee [another mock-game practice]. That was kind of a training-camp mode deal. We were still in training camp and now we’re trying to get this schedule set so that whoever wasn’t here last year gets a feel for how we do things on a daily basis.”

How much did the plays that bubble players like linebacker James Vaughters and cornerback Clifton Duck make against the Giants last week help their chances of earning a roster spot?
Ray T.
Omaha, Nebraska

Producing a flash play in a preseason game is exactly what coaches love to see, but the key for unheralded players who are fighting for roster spots is to build on that success. Do it again. Prove it wasn’t a fluke. Make it part of a trend. Here’s what coach Matt Nagy had to say about that: “The consistency’s important. Just like we tell them don’t make the same mistake twice, let’s see if they’re the ballhawks this next game. Or are they getting blocked the whole time now and they’re not around the quarterback? Or are you being around the football like Duck was on that interception [against the Giants]? So it just allows us to kind of see, ‘Are they able to follow that up?’”

I’m a little concerned with the Bears’ depth at tackle behind starters Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie. Who are some of the candidates for the swing tackle spot behind them?
Charlie L.
Eagan, Minnesota

Rashaad Coward was one of the main candidates, but he exited last Friday night’s game against the Giants with an elbow injury. So we’ll have to wait and see when he’s ready to return. Two other possibilities are veterans T.J. Clemmings and Cornelius Lucas. I’m sure both of them will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves in the final two preseason games. Clemmings started 30 games for the Vikings in 2015-16, while Lucas appeared in 30 contests with six starts for the Lions in 2014-15.

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