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.
Will the Bears continue to blitz the quarterback against the Patriots Monday night?
Three Rivers, Michigan
I was curious whether the decision to blitz more on third down last Thursday night against the Commanders was part of a new strategy or just opponent specific. So I asked defensive coordinator Alan Williams Friday and he said that the increase in blitzing was due to what the Bears had seen in studying Washington on film. Said Williams: "Really it was just what we saw on tape and what the tape presented for us. And we would always say whatever the tape says to do and what our guys do well because it's still about us and about what we can execute, what we can do well, we'll use it. So it was just that particular ballgame." The Bears allowed the Commanders to convert just 2-of-11 third-down opportunities, twice forcing punts via sacks on blitzes by safety Jaquan Brisker and linebacker Roquan Smith.
How often have the Bears reached the red zone this season, and how does it compare to other NFL teams?
The Bears have made 15 trips inside-the-20, which is tied for the sixth fewest in the NFL behind the Texans (10), Titans (13), Panthers (13), Cowboys (14) and Commanders (14). Those 15 possessions have resulted in seven touchdowns and four field goals, ranking the Bears 28th in TD percentage (46.7) and 30th in scoring percentage (73.3). The Bears produced touchdowns on five of their first six red-zone possessions this season but have mustered just two TDs on their last nine trips inside-the-20.
Does not knowing whether the Patriots will start Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe affect how the Bears are preparing for Monday night's game?
It doesn't affect it that much. I asked defensive coordinator Alan Williams if the defense practices for certain looks versus one quarterback and others against another and he said that's really only the case when you have two quarterbacks who have very different playing styles. Here's how he replied: "If you have a running quarterback and you have a quarterback that's a conventional passer, I would say yes (you do have to prepare separately for both). But the [Patriots] offense hasn't changed a whole bunch with both quarterbacks, so in this case I would say no. One's maybe a little bit older, a little bit more experienced, a little bit more time on task (Mac Jones). But the offense is not going to change. They do the same type of things."