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How did Bears fix penalty issues? | Chalk Talk

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

How did the Bears fix the issue with poorly timed penalties?
Don L.
Carpentersville, Illinois

To me, the biggest difference in the reduction of penalties—especially the pre-snap ones—in the preseason from previous seasons is that coach Matt Eberflus and his staff have set a high standard, and players are expected to perform to that level or be held accountable if they don't. One example came in a practice I was watching a couple weeks ago when a veteran offensive lineman committed a false start in the red zone and was immediately replaced. The message was and is that mistakes like that are not going to be tolerated. It's not a coincidence that the Colts defense that Eberflus coordinated was the least penalized defense in the NFL in 2019 and 2021. Needless to say, this is a very positive development that I think fans should be fired up about moving forward.

It seems the Bears defense registered a lot of three-and-outs in the preseason. I remember Lovie Smith's defense doing the same. Do you think it will translate to the regular season?
Rhett C.
Shreveport, Louisiana

You are correct in that the Bears defense forced 17 three-and-outs in three preseason games, all wins over the Chiefs, Seahawks and Browns. Whether it translates to the regular season remains to be seen, but I think the defense may surprise some people this year. The Colts made a big leap in coach Matt Eberflus' first season as defensive coordinator in 2018, improving from 30th in the NFL in both scoring and total yards in 2017 to 10th in scoring and 11th in yards. Hopefully, the Bears can do the same. I really like the mentality that has been infused in terms of every defender running to the ball and trying to rip it loose to generate a takeaway.

Have the Bears ever had an undefeated preseason prior to 2022?
Ed B.
Country Club Hills, Illinois

With a 3-0 record, this year marked the second time in the Super Bowl era that the Bears have had an undefeated preseason. The previous instance was in 1994 when they went 4-0. It was a much more difficult feat back in the day given that NFL teams typically played five or six preseason games from 1948 through 1977. In 1978, the league expanded its regular season schedule from 14 to 16 games and reduced the preseason to four contests.

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