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.
Thanks for another great year, Larry. How did Jimbo Covert make the Hall of Fame before Jay Hilgenberg? Didn't Hilgenberg go to seven straight Pro Bowls? Are there any centers from that era better than him? I've been scratching my head for a decade or so on this one.
I personally believe that former Bears offensive linemen Jimbo Covert and Jay Hilgenberg both possess the credentials to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I'm very happy that Covert recently earned that honor; he was the only member of the first-team NFL All-Decade Team from the 1980s who had not been elected. I agree with you that Hilgenberg deserves the honor as well. He not only was voted to seven straight Pro Bowls but he started seven in a row. That's a pretty incredible feat and evidence that he dominated at his position for nearly a decade. And while Hilgenberg was not named to the All-Decade Team for the 1980s—Mike Webster and Dwight Stephenson were selected and are both in the Hall of Fame—he was a five-time All-Pro who I believe should be enshrined in Canton.
Does the compensatory draft pick formula take into account retirements? And if so, could Kyle Long's retirement result in a compensatory pick?
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
No, retirements are not factored into the compensatory draft pick formula. The formula is not released by the NFL, but what is known is that the league awards 32 compensatory draft picks in Rounds 3-7 to teams that suffer a net loss of unrestricted free agents in a given year. It's also public knowledge that the factors involved in the formula include a player's average yearly salary, the number of snaps he plays and postseason awards. Originally, the compensatory picks could not be traded, but that changed in 2017. I've seen several NFL experts speculate that the Bears will receive a compensatory pick possibly as high as the fourth round this year. But we'll have to wait to see. The compensatory picks are usually awarded in late March, about a month or so before the draft.
Hey Larry! There hasn't been a lot of discussion about new Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, What do you know about him?
The first thing that comes to mind about Bill Lazor is that he has gotten the most out of the quarterbacks he's worked with at his previous NFL stops. When Lazor was Eagles quarterbacks coach in 2013, Nick Foles passed for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions and led the NFL in yards per pass attempt (9.1) and touchdown percentage (8.5). When Lazor was Dolphins offensive coordinator in 2014, Ryan Tannehill passed for 4,045 yards and 27 touchdowns, the most by a Miami quarterback since Hall of Famer Dan Marino threw for 30 in 1994. And then when Lazor was Bengals quarterbacks coach in 2016, Andy Dalton passed for 4,206 yards, the second most in franchise history. A couple other interesting factoids about Lazor: he has served as an assistant coach under three head coaches in Dan Reeves, Joe Gibbs and Mike Holmgren who have combined to win six Super Bowls. And lastly, Lazor is a native of Scranton, Pa., the fictional home of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company featured in the TV show "The Office."