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Chalk Talk


What's likelihood of Ola returning?


Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on

Do you see Michael Ola sticking around next year? I know his production tailed off at the end of the year, but I thought his versatility along the offensive line was impressive. His story is really a great story in perseverance and I'd hate to see the story continue elsewhere.

Greg G.

It's difficult to gauge Michael Ola's chances of earning a roster spot in 2015 before the Bears have even hired a head coach. But generally speaking I would believe that he has a good chance of remaining with the team at least as a backup on the offensive line. Because teams usually only dress seven linemen for games, the two reserves must possess the versatility to play multiple positions—and that's definitely something that Ola showed in 2014 when he made starts at four of the five spots on the line. Ola, by the way, is signed through 2016.

How many NFL teams have gone from "worst-to-first" in their division (like the Bears hope to do in 2015) the past five years or so?

Frank D.
Aurora, Illinois

In the last five years, three NFL teams have won division championships the year after finishing in last place in their division: the Broncos in 2011, Redskins in 2012 and Eagles in 2013. Five others rebounded from last-place finishes to make the playoffs as a wildcard: the Lions in 2011, Bengals in 2011, Vikings in 2012, Colts in 2012 and Chiefs in 2013.

I haven't seen or heard anything about it, but I was just wondering how big a proponent new Bears general manager Ryan Pace is of using analytics in his evaluation of players.

David R.
Streamwood, Illinois

During his introductory press conference last Friday, new Bears general manager Ryan Pace said that he feels that analytics play an important role but is only one part of the evaluation process. Pace told reporters: "I look at analytics as a tool in our toolbox to better evaluate players. It's just another tool. I don't want you guys thinking that I'm some Moneyball GM; that's not me. But analytics are important. So it definitely will be blended into our scouting process."

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