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.
It seems like the Bears' acquisition of receiver Ted Ginn Jr. has been a bit under the radar. I know he's been in the league for a while, but I think he's still capable of making plays. What are your expectations for him this year?
Listening to receivers coach Mike Furrey on a video call with the media last month, it certainly seems he agrees with you in believing that Ted Ginn Jr. can be an impact player for the Bears this season. Even at 35, he still possesses blazing speed. Last year Ginn had 30 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 16 games with nine starts for the Saints. Said Furrey: "I wouldn't stand on the table for Ted Ginn to come here if I didn't think he had anything left in his tank. You go back to last year and New Orleans and watch his film and watch this young man run. He can still run. He's still a 4.2 [in the 40], the high 4.2s, low 4.3s. When he lines up, DBs are going to be scared to death that he's going to take the top off on them … He's still got it, and so that's that fear factor that he still has and we're glad to have it."
With Matt Nagy entering his third year as Bears coach, I was wondering how some of his predecessors fared in their third seasons with the team.
Since George Halas retired as Bears coach in the late 1960s, the team has had 11 coaches, including Matt Nagy. Five have had winning records in their third seasons, with four of those qualifying for the playoffs and three winning division titles. The three division champions were Mike Ditka in 1984 (10-6), Dick Jauron in 2001 (13-3) and Lovie Smith in 2006 (13-3). Smith's team won the NFC championship, advancing to the Super Bowl. Ditka's club defeated the Redskins in the divisional playoffs before losing the NFC title game to the 49ers. And Jauron's squad lost in the divisional playoffs to the Eagles. Jack Pardee led the Bears to a 9-5 record and a wild-card berth in 1977 before losing to the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs. Dave Wannstedt's 1995 team went 9-7, but did not make the playoffs. Bears coaches with losing records in their third seasons since Halas retired include Jim Dooley (6-8 in 1971), Abe Gibron (4-12 in 1974), Neill Armstrong (6-10 in 1981) and John Fox (5-11 in 2017). The only coach who has not reached a third season since the late 1960s has been Marc Trestman, who was relieved of his duties after two years.
I recently discovered that the only interception current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick recorded during his NFL career was in a playoff game. Are there any Bears players who have their only interception in the playoffs?
Since World War II, there have been two Bears players whose only career interception came in the postseason: Defensive end Ed O'Bradovich in the 1963 NFL Championship Game and linebacker Mickey Pruitt in a 1988 divisional playoff contest that's known as the "Fog Bowl." O'Bradovich's interception of Y.A. Tittle helped set up the winning touchdown in the Bears' 14-10 title victory over the Giants, while Pruitt's pick of Randall Cunningham helped the Bears defeat the Eagles 20-12. What the two picks have in common is that neither was easy for Bears fans to see. The 1963 title game was blacked out in the Chicago area due to NFL television rules at the time, while Pruitt's interception came in a game that was played in a dense fog at Soldier Field.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.