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Chalk Talk

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Which new players have stood out?

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.

Which defensive newcomers are making the biggest impression in training camp?

From Marv G. on Twitter

I'd say that defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston have stood out the most among the new players on defense so far in training camp. It's clear that both of them have provided a major upgrade over last season when the defensive line struggled. Allen is a huge presence in terms of his talent and leadership, while Houston is a strong and tough ascending lineman who plays with an edge. While it's easy to see their impact on defense, they're also making the Bears offense better via their daily battles in individual and team drills. Allen regularly faces off against left tackle Jermon Bushrod, while Houston goes up against right tackle Jordan Mills. The match-up between Houston and Mills has been the most entertaining so far in training camp with each individual leaving nothing on the field. Games are going to seem easy for those two compared to their one-on-one confrontations in camp—one of which resulted in a scuffle.

Compared to last season, what is different with the Bears besides their new players?

From Paul S. on Twitter

The biggest difference I see on the practice field is the attitude of the defense, especially the line. They're competing with a take-no-prisoners mentality that features a toughness and physicality that were missing last season. A lot of that has to do with the new players the Bears brought in, such as Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Much of it also starts with two first-year assistant coaches in Paul Pasqualoni (defensive line) and Reggie Herring (linebackers). Both are old school no-nonsense coaches who see themselves as teachers and expect a lot from their players.

Which quarterback has the best chance to earn the No. 2 spot?

From Carlos on Twitter

It's difficult to say at this juncture before the Bears have played a preseason game. Jordan Palmer is getting the first chance to earn the No. 2 job behind Jay Cutler, but Jimmy Clausen is also competing for the position and rotating in with the second-team offense. The job probably will be determined primarily by how the two perform in the first two preseason games against the Eagles and Jaguars. If I had to guess, I'd say that Clausen will earn the position. But that's just a prediction and not based on any inside information or consultations with a crystal ball.

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