July 30, 2021

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How much will Chicago Bears starters play in the…

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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 questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Has Bears coach Matt Nagy discussed how much he plans on playing his starters during the preseason?
Jim P.
Oswego, Illinois

Matt Nagy told reporters Wednesday that he intends to approach the preseason the same way he was planning to last year before the entire slate was cancelled due to COVID-19—and that’s by playing his starters more than he did in his first two seasons as coach. He described it as being “on more of the aggressive side with the starters.” As I’m sure you know, the NFL reduced the preseason from four to three games while expanding the regular season from 16 to 17 contests.

Nagy said that he envisions “probably not a lot of the starters playing a whole lot the first game, I’d say more the second game and very little the third game.” He added: “I know a lot of the head coaches are kind of talking through the best way to do that, but that’s kind of where we’re at big picture right now. We’ll talk through the reps and who we have. To me, not having preseason last year when you’re trying to evaluate who these rookies are and then other players too, where guys are, man that was hard. So, now I’m so excited to be able to see some of these guys that we want to be able to see play some real live snaps. I’m excited for that this year.”

When does training camp start and are fans going to be allowed to attend practices?
Ryan M.
Meridian, Idaho

Training camp begins July 27, and yes, a limited number of fans will be permitted to attend some practices. In a letter sent Wednesday to season ticket holders informing them that they’ll be allowed to fill Soldier Field to full capacity for home games this year, team president and CEO Ted Phillips revealed that information about obtaining a “very limited number of free training camp tickets will be shared later this month.” I assure you that we’ll provide that information on ChicagoBears.com as soon as it becomes available.

How has rookie Teven Jenkins performed so far this offseason at left tackle?
Phil M.
Michigan

It’s difficult to gauge how Teven Jenkins or any of the other offensive linemen are faring in offseason practices because players are not wearing pads and no contact is permitted. The true test won’t begin until the pads come on in training camp. Coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday that Jenkins has done well “being able to line up now with the ones and see what that’s like being on the left side and getting to go up against some of these experienced vets and getting some communication with [guard] Cody [Whitehair].”

But Nagy also conceded that “it’s hard because there are no pads … there is no bull-rushing; you can’t lower your head. So it’s not really real, but we can at least get the burst and they can work their feet. Teven is doing a really good job of trying to get down the fundamentals of what [offensive line] coach Juan [Castillo] teaches and put it together. When we get to training camp, the pads come on, they start doing one-on-ones, you can really truly see where these guys are at. He’s not the only one. It’s all the guys.”

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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