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Chalk Talk

What position will Long play next year?

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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.

Will the Bears move Kyle Long to another position next season, maybe back to right guard or even to left tackle? He doesn't seem to be playing that well at right tackle.

Lee T.
Akron, Ohio

With Kyle Long allowing strip/sacks in each of the last two games, I've heard a lot of speculation about what position he'll play next season. As most Bears fans know, he was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two years with the Bears while playing right guard before moving to right tackle this season. I think a lot depends on whether the Bears feel that Charles Leno Jr. Jr. can be the long-term answer at left tackle. Asked last week about where Long will play in the future, offensive coordinator Adam Gase said that he will remain at right tackle the rest of the season "and once we finish this year out we'll go back and re-evaluate and see what happens after that."  Personally, I would be surprised if the Bears moved him back to guard.

Veteran left guard Matt Slauson recently told reporters that he believes Long is best suited to play tackle. Said Slauson: "I've told Kyle this—I believe the organization drafted him to play tackle. Maybe they felt like he wasn't ready for that spot yet; they wanted him to have some football knowledge first so a good spot to plug him in would be guard. But the logical transition would be to go to tackle for a guy like him. He's such a freak [athletically]. The guys out on the edge—the outside 'backers and d-ends—a lot of times are the most gifted athletes in the world and Kyle I view as one in the same. So I personally believe that he should be out there. I know it hasn't always been easy for him. I told him to just embrace the process here because it is a different deal and it would take a little bit of getting used to."

Will the Bears have an easier schedule next season if they finish in fourth place below the Lions as opposed to third place where they've been most of the season?

Robert A.
Evanston, Illinois

Only two of the 16 games on a team's schedule are based on where they finish in the standings the previous year. For example, next season the Bears will play the teams that finish in the same place in the NFC West at home and the NFC South on the road. The Bears (5-9) are currently in fourth place in the NFC North because they're tied with the Lions (5-9) and Detroit won the first meeting between the teams. The Rams (6-8) are in third place in the NFC West ahead of the 49ers (4-10), while the Buccaneers (6-8) are in third place in the NFC South ahead of the Saints (5-9).

Will it be worth watching the last two games of the season or have all Bears players given up?

Brad
Rockford, Illinois

Trust me, nobody has given up. And if I'm wrong and someone has, he's not going to be asked to return next season, that's for sure. Even though the playoffs are out of reach, the last two games certainly will be interesting for the Bears. As Jay Cutler said after last Sunday's loss to the Vikings, "we'll find out who in the locker room has some character and wants to finish and who doesn't." Right tackle Kyle Long described the final two games as job interviews heading into next season.

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