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Chalk Talk

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Who will start at linebacker Sunday?

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.

Who do you think will start at linebacker for the Bears Sunday night against the Packers?Russ K.
Santa Rosa, California

With all their linebackers healthy again, I assume the Bears will employ the same lineup they did earlier in the season when they started Lance Briggs (weakside), D.J. Williams (middle) and Shea McClellin (strongside) and used Briggs and Jonathan Bostic in nickel situations. Asked about Briggs and Bostic returning to face the Packers, coach Marc Trestman said: "It will be good to have them back on the field. This is a game that's going to be played against three wideouts a lot of the time and to have our nickel 'backers back will help."

The offense is taking a lot of the blame for the Bears' disappointing season, but I think the defense is even more responsible. Statistically, how does the offense compare to last year when it set several team records?

Phillip S.
Algonquin, Illinois

Comparing the numbers, I'd characterize the drop-off in the main statistical categories as moderate across the board. Looking at the first eight games this season compared to the first eight contests last year, the offense's production dropped in touchdowns from 23 to 21, field goals from 14 to 8, total yards from 377.0 per game to 353.6, rushing yards from 120.1 to 102.5 and passing yards from 256.9 to 251.1. The biggest difference is probably ball security; the Bears committed 11 turnovers in their first eight games last season and have 15 at the same point this year.

If I'm not mistaken, Robbie Gould scored only one point against the Patriots. I don't recall the Bears being shut out in recent years, so is that the lowest output of his career?

Rob A.
Des Plaines, Illinois

Yes, the one point that Robbie Gould scored in the Bears' 51-23 loss to the Patriots matched his all-time low. It was the sixth time in 146 career games that he has scored only one point. The most recent game before that was Nov. 19, 2012 in a 32-7 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. Of course, it wasn't Gould's fault. He has only attempted and obviously missed one field goal in the six games in which he has scored one point. The Bears have not been shut out since a 15-0 loss to the Buccaneers in the 2002 season finale in Tampa.

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