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.
What is the status of Corey Wootton? Is he still injured? I thought the Bears had high hopes for him, but I haven’t seen him on the field at all.
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Unfortunately, injuries have stunted defensive end Corey Wootton’s development in his second NFL season. He hurt his knee on the opening kickoff of the first preseason game and underwent arthroscopic surgery. When he finally returned from that after missing more than a month, he hurt his hand in practice after appearing in just one game. Wootton is not on the injury report this week and is practicing without restrictions. But for now he has been supplanted by veteran Nick Reed as the third defensive end. Here’s what coach Lovie Smith said about Wootton Thursday: “He’s back in the mix right now, and we’ll just keep looking at him and see when it’s time. He’ll have to earn a uniform because we dress seven defensive linemen normally, so it’s tough competition in practice to get to game day.”
How consistently have the Bears been able to make the playoffs after a 4-3 start?
Based on past history, it appears that there’s a 50/50 chance of the Bears making the playoffs. Since the NFL/AFL merger, the Bears have earned a postseason berth four of the eight times they opened a season with a 4-3 record. Two of those instances came under Lovie Smith: in 2005 when they won eight straight games after a 1-3 start and again last season when they won five in a row and seven of eight after entering their bye week with a 4-3 mark. The Bears opened 4-3 just four times in 34 seasons from 1970-2003, but have had that record in four of Smith’s seven seasons, including each of the last three.
Are the Bears the first team in NFL history that will have played four straight night games?
Yes, the Bears are believed to be the first NFL team to play four consecutive night games. (Though their contest against the Buccaneers in England kicked off at noon Chicago time, it was 6 p.m. in the United Kingdom.) The American Football League regularly played night games, and the New York Jets and Boston Patriots both appeared in five straight in 1964.
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