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.
Hello from afar! I've gone to numerous games throughout my lifetime and was just down in Chicago and went to the Lions game. I've been excited before about Bears teams, but having a "franchise quarterback" has really gotten the fans excited. Can you think of another time or player that had the fan base this excited?
I know I've never experienced the type of excitement from fans that Justin Fields has generated, especially over his last five games or so. We all know the history of Bears quarterbacks, so this is really a fun and unique time. It's probably not a fair comparison given that Devin Hester was the best kick returner in NFL history and will likely be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the near future, but watching Fields produce some highlight-reel plays has reminded me of the anticipation and excitement that Hester generated when he was returning punts and kickoffs. They've been the two players who most left me shaking my head in disbelief after seeing what they've been able to accomplish against the best of the best in the NFL.
I know the Bears are in rebuilding mode and needed to get younger, especially on defense. But I was just wondering how the veterans they traded away or didn't re-sign are faring with their new teams this season.
Of the four main veteran defenders the Bears either traded or didn't re-sign, Khalil Mack has been the most productive. Starting all 11 games he's played with the Chargers, he has recorded 34 tackles, 7.0 sacks, 10 tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. In three games with the Ravens, Roquan Smith has registered 20 tackles, 1.0 sack and 1.0 tackle-for-loss. In five contests with the Eagles, Robert Quinn has just two tackles and no sacks or tackles-for-loss. Limited by injuries to five games with the Buccaneers, Akiem Hicks has compiled 12 tackles and no sacks or tackles-for-loss. Smith, Quinn and Hicks all also have not produced an interception, forced fumble or fumble recovery.
It looked to me like the Bears did a poor job of tackling against the Jets. Is that something that was addressed in practice?
Good observation, Steven, and yes, it was something that was emphasized this week on and off the practice field. Coach Matt Eberflus told reporters that he felt the Bears missed some tackles last Sunday against the Jets because they were tackling too high. Asked how he was addressing the issue, Eberflus said: "Just keep drilling it. You show it in the meetings. You walk through it. You show them where we need to be in terms of our pad level. You get in that position when you're approaching the tackle in practice. Obviously, we can't take guys down in practice, but we can do simulated drills during that time, during individual, and keep hammering it home."