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.
Do you know if the Bears are going to name season-long team captains this year or have different captains from week to week?
Bears coach Matt Eberflus said Tuesday that he has yet to decide how the captains will be determined this year. In answering that question from a reporter, he discussed the importance of leadership and how he's been evaluating that characteristic with players since the start of the offseason program. Said Eberflus: "I've been watching that since Day 1 because the leadership on a football team is the No. 1 priority you have to establish. It starts with the coaches, but what's more important is the leadership in the locker room." Eberflus added that he loves to observe people and that being a good leader is about action, saying: "It's about doing the things that you need to do and execution on the football field first. A lot of those guys are rising to the top. I let it happen organically, just by observing it. But the cream will rise to the top. It always does. My 30th year as a coach and I've seen it every single year. You hold guys to the standard. What will happen is, 'Oh, there's one, there's one, there's one and there's one.' You want one at every position group, you really do. Or two. We're working to get that and we'll see where it goes. But again, it's an ongoing day-to-day evaluation."
As a follow-up to your top 10 undrafted Bears, Richard Dent was drafted in the eighth round, which means he would have been undrafted if he came out today. So, how about listing the top Bears players taken after Round 7?
Interesting question, Steve. That list would have to begin with the aforementioned Richard Dent, a Hall of Fame defensive end who, as you mentioned, was selected by the Bears in the eighth round of the 1983 draft out of Tennessee State. The only other Hall of Famer drafted by the Bears after the seventh round (who spent most of his career in Chicago is guard Danny Fortmann, who was chosen in the ninth round in the inaugural NFL Draft in 1936. Other top late-round picks by the Bears have included receivers Harlan Hill (15th round in 1954) and Johnny Morris (12th round in 1958), guard Mark Bortz (taken in the same eighth round as Dent in 1983), safety Doug Plank (12th round in 1975), fullback Roland Harper (17th round in 1975) and safety Shaun Gayle (10th round in 1984).
I was surprised to see that the Bears will have their bye in Week 14, which seems awfully late. Is it the latest bye week the Bears have ever had?
Yes, Week 14 is the latest the Bears have ever had their bye. However, it should be noted that last year—when the NFL expanded its regular season from 16 to 17 games—was the first time that teams had byes as late as Week 14. Previously, the latest was Week 13 in 2016. From 2010 through 2021, the Bears' bye came in Weeks 7, 9, 8, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9, 5, 6, 11 and 10.