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.
I followed receiver Riley Ridley's career at Georgia very closely and was surprised that he didn't make more of an impact last year as a rookie. Do you know if he's in the Bears' plans for this season?
I'd say that Riley Ridley is definitely in the Bears' plans this season—especially after listening to receivers coach Mike Furrey rave about the 2019 fourth-round draft pick on a video call with the media Wednesday. Furrey predicted that "the biggest growth we're going to see from anybody in our room is going to be Riley Ridley." Last season Ridley played only in the final five games, catching six passes for 69 yards, including three receptions for 54 yards in the season finale against the Vikings. Furrey acknowledged Wednesday that there were several factors that prevented Ridley from maximizing his ability as a rookie, including his transition into the NFL and to the playbook and the speed of the game, in addition to a lack of opportunities last preseason. But Furrey lauded Ridley's attitude, desire and passion for the game, saying: "I know this kid is working as hard as he possibly can right now in preparation for training camp. I'm very, very excited to get Riley Ridley into camp, and I believe he is going to make some noise on our roster."
Which position group do you think is hurt the most by not having a live offseason training program?
That's an interesting question, Eric. While every player on the roster obviously would benefit from participating in live offseason practices, I'd probably say that the missing all of those reps would be most detrimental to quarterbacks and receivers, especially in terms of those two position groups developing timing and building a rapport while working against the defense. On the flipside, the group that probably suffers the least without the non-contact OTA and minicamp practices is the offensive line, because their real work doesn't begin until the pads come in training camp anyway. Forgetting about positions for a second, the group I feel that is hurt most by the cancellation of offseason practices is the rookies. It's one thing to learn the playbook and participate in video Zoom meetings, but there's no substitute for the work that is done in practice in terms of transferring what's taught in the classroom to the field and getting acclimated to the speed of the NFL game.
I'm sure Mike Ditka is the Bears' all-time leading receiver among tight ends, but who is second on that list?
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Yes, Hall of Famer Mike Ditka leads Bears tight ends in all career receiving categories with 316 receptions, 4,503 yards and 34 touchdowns. Desmond Clark is second in receptions (242), Emery Moorehead is second in yards (2,730) and Greg Olsen is second in touchdowns (20).
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.