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 ChicagoBears.com.
Being a long-time Bears fan from Los Angeles, I'm very excited that I won't have to take a long trip to see a Bears game. I know they just played in St. Louis. Please tell me I'm not going to have to wait eight years for the next away game against the Rams.
Los Angeles, California
Sorry to break the news to you, John. But it looks like you're going to have to wait several years to see the Bears play in Los Angeles. Based on the NFL's rotating schedule system, the Bears play a different NFC division every year with two additional games against teams that finished in the same place in the standings in the other two NFC divisions. In 2016, the Bears will play all four NFC East teams as well as the fourth-place finishers in the NFC South on the road (Tampa Bay) and NFC West at home (49ers). In 2017, the Bears will face the entire NFC South as well as the teams that finish in the same place in the standings in the NFC West at Soldier Field and the NFC East on the road. The Bears are slated to play the NFC West in 2018, but I believe their game against the Rams will be in Chicago because the 2015 match-up was in St. Louis and those games typically alternate cities. So it doesn't look like the Bears will play in Los Angeles against the Rams until 2019 at the earliest. The Chargers or Raiders may also move to L.A., but the Bears aren't scheduled to play either of those teams until 2019.
Why didn't the Bears move Jermon Bushrod to guard when he was healthy?
Jermon Bushrod has been a tackle since he entered the NFL with the New Orleans Saints in 2007. It isn't easy to ask a nine-year veteran to learn a new position. It was a difficult adjustment for Kyle Long to make the move and he played tackle three years ago at Oregon. It's a lot different. You're facing athletic, speed rushers outside and mammoth, strong defensive linemen inside. The Bears felt that Bushrod could provide a boost to the running game and would be best utilized as an eligible sixth lineman, so that's the role he filled.
I remember back in the 1970s when punters used to aim their punts to go out of bounds as close to the end zone as possible along the sideline. This was called the "coffin corner." Why don't teams try to do that anymore?
I think it's because there's a much smaller margin for error with a "coffin corner" punt and a much greater chance of the punter hitting the ball off the side of his foot. With punters now kicking the ball high into the air end-over-end rugby style, it's much easier to control where it goes and it gives the punting team a better chance to down the ball inside the 10. The only negative would be the opportunity for a return, but the returner normally calls for a fair catch or lets the ball bounce on those types of punts. Plus when you punt it like that as opposed to out of bounds there's always a chance that it won't be fielded cleanly and could result in a turnover.