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
Could Brock Vereen or M.D. Jennings beat out Chris Conte for the starting free safety position?
From Jonathan D. on Twitter
I'd say there's definitely a chance of that happening, more so with Brock Vereen in my humble opinion, assuming that the fourth-round draft pick makes a smooth transition as a rookie. I know the Bears are impressed with his toughness and athleticism as well as his versatility and knowledge of the game, which is especially important at the free safety position in terms of lining up the secondary. And I'm not saying that M.D. Jennings doesn't have a chance to win a starting job; he started all 16 games last season for a team that shall remain nameless that won the NFC North. Both safety positions are wide open and should be interesting to watch during training camp and the preseason. I know that Chris Conte is determined to retain his starting job, but he must first overcome a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. He is not going to be able to participate in OTA practices or minicamp, but is expected to be able to return for training camp.
How do you think the Bears defense as a whole will improve this season?
From Simon on Twitter
It all starts up front, and I feel that the Bears defensive line will perform much better this season, which will greatly benefit the linebackers and the secondary. It was clear that general manager Phil Emery's No. 1 offseason goal was to bolster the line, and he did a tremendous job by signing ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Israel Idonije in free agency and selecting tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton in the second and third rounds of the draft, respectively. So I think a vastly improved line will enable the defense to thrive in 2014.
Do you feel that linebacker Jon Bostic will take the next step or is someone else the long-term answer?
From Dan on Twitter
I'm predicting that Jon Bostic will be the most improved player on the Bears roster this season. He possesses all of the traits to excel as an NFL starting linebacker and I believe that working with new position coach Reggie Herring will help him immensely. I feel that he'll learn from some of the struggles he experienced as a rookie and will thrive after spending a full offseason with the team.