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.
With the number of preseason games decreasing to three with the new 17-game season, what changes do you anticipate strategy-wise for the Bears on how they approach those games?
That's an interesting question that we won't know the answer to until Bears coach Matt Nagy addresses the topic sometime in training camp—most likely during the week leading up to the first preseason game. If I had to speculate at this point, I would expect Nagy to play the starters more in the preseason than he did in his first two seasons as coach. He was planning to do so last year before the pandemic wiped out the entire preseason slate. Nagy explained last spring that he wanted to play starters more in the preseason to help develop a physical and mental toughness he felt the Bears lacked in 2019. It seems logical to me that the starters would get more reps with each successive game, playing the most in the third and final contest. In reducing the preseason from four to three games, the traditional final Thursday night games have been cancelled, wisely giving every team the weekend off before the start of the regular season.
With the NFL expanding the season from 16 to 17 games, which Bears record do you think is in the greatest jeopardy of being broken?
Let me start off by saying I don't think the Bears record book will be rewritten because the NFL added one extra game to the season. For instance, I don't think Walter Payton's single-season team rushing record of 1,852 yards is likely to be broken. Interestingly, Sweetness set that mark in 1977, the last year before the NFL expanded from 14 to 16 games. The one franchise record I feel could be in jeopardy, however, is Robbie Gould's mark of 33 field goals, which he accomplished in 2015. Cairo Santos made 30 of 32 attempts last year—31 of 33 if you include the wild-card playoff game—so he was pretty close. With another excellent year and an extra game, I could see Santos eclipsing Gould's mark.
Last year the Bears added a veteran running back to their practice squad midway through the season. I do not remember his name and do not see him on the roster. I recall he was recovering from an injury. Who was it and what happened to him?
You're thinking of Lamar Miller. The veteran running back was signed to the Bears practice squad last Oct. 5, appeared in a Week 10 loss to the Vikings—catching two passes for six yards—and was returned to the practice squad. Miller was later signed off the Bears practice squad by the Washington Football Team last Dec. 17 but did not appear in a game. He was re-signed by Washington March 29.