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Chalk Talk


When will Bears settle on starting offensive line?

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

I imagine the Bears would like to settle on a starting five on their offensive line as soon as possible. When will that decision to be finalized?

Matt R.
Rolling Meadows, Illinois

Coach Marc Trestman declined to provide a timetable when asked about anointing his five starting offensive linemen, saying at the beginning of training camp: "It's a process. On Wednesday when we go to practice before we play Cincinnati [in the season opener], we should have our starting lineup and everybody should know who those five guys are going to be. We're going to start with five [in training camp] and then we're going to let competition and training camp take its course. These decisions are usually made on the field by the players, and in time, we'll know." The main competition, of course, is at right guard where rookie Kyle Long and second-year pro James Brown have been splitting reps in practice. The other four positions have been manned by Jermon Bushrod (left tackle), Matt Slauson (left guard), Roberto Garza (center) and J'Marcus Webb (right tackle).

Do you think the Bears will try to make a deal for a backup quarterback or will that job belong to Josh McCown this season?

Phil K.
Glenview, Illinois

It appears that the Bears will stick with Josh McCown as their No. 2 quarterback behind Jay Cutler. General manager Phil Emery addressed the issue at training camp, saying: "We're always consistently and constantly looking to improve our roster. But I will say that I like Josh. Josh adds a lot to our team. Josh has a lot of starting experience; 33 starts in this league. He's our No. 2 quarterback and he will be moving forward."

I remember in the past the Bears used to practice in the late afternoon and sometimes even at night in training camp. Why are they working out in the morning this year?

Don F.

Coach Marc Trestman made the decision in part because 12 of the Bears' 16 games this season are scheduled to begin at noon. Here's how he explained practicing at 9 a.m. on most days at training camp: "I have experience over the years with all kinds of practices and all different times and places, and I just felt that with our 12 o'clock starting time, we want to build a habit. We know that players like an itinerary. They like to know where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to do and on Sunday in September we've got a 12 o'clock game. We've got to get up early and get ourselves and our body's functions moving in the right direction so we can be ready to come out of the gate at 12 o'clock and be ready to play, and this allows them to do that. There's also the residual effect of having more time off their feet. But we want to get up and get our work done and this is how we're going to operate during the season."

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