Ask the Bears writer: Brad Biggs' mailbag The Bears beat writer answers your questions about who will be this year's Kyle Long, the nickel position and how often will Willie Young be rotated in 12:27 p.m. CDT, May 29, 2014 Who will be this year’s Kyle Long, the surprise guy that really stands out in OTAs and training camp? Doesn’t have to be a rookie. -- @riczaj01 from Twitter I don’t think a first-round pick should be viewed as a “surprise” player. I’m not selling Long short for his accomplishments, and he certainly had a fine season capped by a Pro Bowl selection as an alternate. Long quickly moved into the starting lineup in training camp despite missing nearly the entire offseason program because of the class schedule at Oregon. It’s early to try to select a “surprise” guy and media has been allowed to view only one OTA. But I would keep an eye on rookie defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton. Defensive tackle is one of the easier positions for rookies to step in and make an immediate impact and the Bears are high on both of them. At least one could figure in a big way in the rotation. With Kyle Fuller doing well against players like Eric Ebron in college were you surprised to see him on the outside in nickel package? -- @rayllis from Twitter No. The nickel position is one of the most challenging positions to play on defense. Usually the most successful cornerbacks in the slot are veterans and introducing Fuller to the NFL on the outside probably makes sense. The nickel is a hybrid player as he replaces the strong-side linebacker, so you need someone capable of fitting in the run game. Fuller is considered a physical corner but Tim Jennings has been successful as a run defender. He’s got the short-area quickness and savvy to be productive on the inside. The move makes a lot of sense to me. Let’s also keep in mind this was the first day of OTAs and a lot can change. Remember, general manager Phil Emery talked about Fuller’s ability to be a matchup cornerback, so I think as this season unfolds we could potentially see him do a lot of different things. Letting him get his feet wet on the outside right now where the sideline will be his friend is wise. If things go well, we could probably see Fuller do a wide variety of things in coverage. Who has the upper edge so far to compete for the starting three technique spot? -- @jonesfam26 from Twitter Way too early to start making calls like that. We’re not going to get a true indication of the line play until the pads go on in late July. I can tell you Stephen Paea ran with the first team as the nose tackle on Tuesday and Jeremiah Ratliff was the under tackle. Most of the tackles can play both spots. The Bears like Ratliff and he’s got a previous relationship with defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni but the depth chart is going to take some time to unfold here. Do you think maybe the new punter might handle kickoffs? -- @jshehab from Twitter That’s an interesting question. Pat O’Donnell, the sixth-round pick from Miami, had success on kickoffs in college. He hit 37 touchbacks on 79 kickoffs last fall with an average kickoff of 63.1 yards. He had 36 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs in 2012. But Robbie Gould made real improvements with his kickoffs earlier in his career. While his average kickoff distance dipped from 65.6 to 59.1 last season, my hunch is some onside kicks and intentionally shorter kicks probably played a role in that. Gould has 119 touchbacks over the last three seasons and special teams coordinators tend to roll with veterans when given a choice. O’Donnell certainly presents another option to consider but first he’s got to win the punting job and that is where his focus has to be. I think the Bears probably want him to concentrate on that chore right now. How much work did Lamarr Houston get inside during OTAs and how much do you expect he'll play defensive tackle during the season? -- @agandia from Twitter Houston played exclusively at left end when media was allowed to watch Tuesday’s workout but let’s keep in mind that was the first OTA. The Bears are preaching fundamentals and they’re starting with their basic stuff. I fully expect him to be moved around a little bit by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker but Houston will be the left end primarily, especially in the base package. In the sub package, he could definitely log time inside at tackle. How often will Willie Young be rotated in? -- @ryneteem from Twitter That’s a good question. I think most people view Young as the third end right now and he should get pretty good playing time. When Allen signed with the Bears in late March, some folks I spoke with around the league thought the Bears would do best to reduce Jared Allen’s playing time. The 32-year-old almost never wants to come off the field. Previously, the Bears rarely took Julius Peppers off the field. Allen was on the field for 91 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps last season, 92 percent in 2012 and 94 percent in 2011. I think he can be a more effective player with a reduced workload, particularly if the Bears can spell him some on first and second down so he’s fresh for the money down. Similarly, Lamarr Houston rarely came off the field with the Raiders. So the Bears have some thinking to do about how they want to attack things. I would think 40 percent playing time is a reasonable target for Young and something he could attain if Allen and Houston were playing about 80 percent of the time each. Why is M.D. Jennings listed at cornerback? -- @whocowman from Twitter I have not seen him listed as a cornerback. He’s a safety and was running with the starters alongside Ryan Mundy this week.