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Which newcomer will excel on defense?

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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.

Outside of Pernell McPhee, which new Bears player do you think will make the biggest impact on defense?

Matthew O.

That's a great question. If you asked five people you might get five different answers. I'm going to go with safety Antrel Rolle, not only for what he will bring on the field but his intangibles in terms of leadership and durability. He has started 80 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak among NFL safeties and has missed just one game over the last nine seasons after a knee injury forced him to miss 11 contests as a rookie in 2005. The Bears have needed a stabilizing force at safety for several years and I think Rolle is capable of making that type of impact in the secondary.

The Bears were ranked dead last at No. 32 in the USA Today power rankings, saying they were a wreck. I don't feel that is deserved. Where do you and others think the Bears should be ranked?

John K.

Unlike college football, rankings don't matter in the NFL. It's all about what happens on the field and I believe that the Bears have a great opportunity to rebound from a very disappointing season. I'm not sure where the Bears should be listed in power rankings, but I certainly agree with you that there's absolutely no way they should be last (or even close to it). There were six teams that won fewer games than the Bears did last year when they had their worst season in recent memory. Plus they've made what I feel are huge improvements, most notably with the additions of general manager Ryan Pace, head coach John Fox and a staff of veteran assistants, many of whom have joined the Bears after having great success with the Broncos and 49ers. I remember I did a story on the Bears being ranked 32nd in the NFL entering the 2005 season and they ended up winning the NFC North title. So here's hoping that history repeats itself a decade later.

With defenses now able to return failed extra point attempt and two-point conversions for two points, can offenses take a knee to prevent that from happening?

Dan H.
Fort Worth, Texas

I don't see why not. I imagine that's something that teams will consider doing with no time or a limited amount of time left on the clock after they've taken a one- or two-point lead. Can you imagine taking a 20-19 lead on a late touchdown only to give up two points and the game on your extra point? I know it's been a rule in college for a while, but it's something that NFL teams will have to get used to.

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