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Bears Twitter mailbag: On RB roles, DEs & Alshon Jeffery’s future

BOURBONNAIS — The Sun-Times’ experts can answer your questions all week long on Twitter.

Here’s a sampling of Tuesday’s queries sent to @patrickfinley, who responds with more than 140 characters on the last day of the Bears’ stay at Olivet Nazarene University:

Jeremy Langford figures to start, both Thursday and in the season-opener. Jacquizz Rodgers will have a more active role in the offense than people think. Rookie Jordan Howard is below Ka’Deem Carey on the depth chart, but I think he’s one of the most intriguing players in camp. Howard is much quicker than even the Bears thought he’d be. Pay attention Thursday: Running back is one of two positions — safety being the other — that can only be judged in live action, not drills.

Better than we thought a year ago. Bears coach John Fox praised Ego Ferguson’s offseason work after last year was stunted by a knee injury and, while he was out, a PED suspension. Will Sutton has looked good in camp. If the Bears keep six linemen, they could both make the team.

Depends what he does this season. If Alshon Jeffery shines, then the Bears’ front office likely sees the logic in meeting his asking price. If he doesn’t — or if he’s hurt — they might prefer a different team take that risk.

Brian Hoyer didn’t set training camp on fire, but he offers something David Fales doesn’t: experience. Fales hasn’t thrown a regular season pass, ever.

The Bears will put Leonard Floyd in position to succeed, particularly early on, so I expect to see him in sub-packages more than base sets. The Bears don’t pick their outside linebackers based on who can cover well —Young and Houston certainly don’t — but it’s been fun to watch Floyd’s athleticism the few times he’s been tasked with chasing a receiver. If Pernell McPhee isn’t healthy enough to start he season, though, the math could change.

The question is, how bad is the line going to be if someone else gets hurt? The Bears have five good players; I’m not sure they have six. History shows they’ll need backups — 2013, when the team had the same five men start every game, was an anomaly.

When each team employs 90 players, there aren’t many (any?) difference makers on the street. Two recent Bears centers, Will Montgomery and Brian de la Puente, are still unattached. Reunions, however, seem unlikely. The Bears have praised backup Cornelius Edison, but they’ll be watching who teams cut for the next month.