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.
What do you anticipate will be the best position battle in training camp?
Well, the one that no doubt will garner the most attention will be the competition between kickers Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Finding a solution for the position was a major storyline throughout the offseason and that won’t change when the Bears arrive in Bourbonnais. That’s primarily the case because the Bears are considered a Super Bowl contender with only one gaping hole on their roster. So you can expect the media to continue to focus on the kicking competition. Other position battles I’m looking forward to in training camp are at nickel back between veteran free-agent acquisition Buster Skrine and rookie sixth-round draft pick Duke Shelley. Both players impressed during offseason workouts with their quickness and ball skills. Another spot to monitor in Bourbonnais will be the third swing tackle spot behind veterans Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie. Fifth-year pro T.J. Clemmings, who signed with the Bears May 31, will compete with Rashaad Coward and others for the spot. Last year the job was filled by Bradley Sowell, who has since been moved from tackle to tight end.
What are your expectations for receiver Allen Robinson II this year?
Allen Robinson had a very solid first year with the Bears, performing like a true No. 1 receiver in catching … But this year I think he could be even better. A year ago he was coming off a torn ACL and learning a new offense. This year he was able to practice throughout the entire offseason and build a rapport with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the rest of the offense in their second year together in the system. During minicamp Robinson said that he felt “light years ahead of any point in time last season” in terms of building strength and muscle memory in familiarizing himself with certain cuts and coming out of his breaks.
Who was the highest-ranked non-Hall of Famer on the list of the best 100 players in Bears history?
In the rankings that you’re referring to by Dan Pompei and Don Pierson in the Chicago Bears Centennial Scrapbook, the highest-ranked non-Hall of Famer is Jimbo Covert at No 13. The only other non-Hall of Famers in the top 20 are Jay Hilgenberg (18), Steve McMichael (19) and Devin Hester (20). You could make a strong case that all four of those players deserve a spot in Canton.