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.
Who's likely to start at the receiver spot opposite Allen Robinson? I figured that veteran Ted Ginn Jr. would be at the top of that list and fifth-round pick Darnell Mooney would look to take that spot over during the season. Others have said that position might be taken by Anthony Miller, Riley Ridley or Javon Wims. What's your guess?
That's an excellent question. But with the Bears conducting their offseason program entirely on a virtual basis due to the coronavirus, I can't really provide you any insight or even an educated guess. At this point, it would just be like throwing a dart at the wall. I can tell you that the battle for the second receiver job will be among the primary position competitions to monitor in training camp. That's when we'll get our first glimpse of which receivers are getting the most reps with the starting unit, how they're faring and who is making the most of their opportunities. I will tell you that with no offseason program, the receivers who have played for the Bears in past seasons no doubt will have an advantage. It figures to make it more difficult than usual for a rookie such as Darnell Mooney to make an impact, especially early in the season, regardless of his ability or potential. Like I said, it will be a fun competition to watch in camp, especially with the Bears adding a pair of speedsters in Mooney and Ted Ginn Jr. to a group of promising young receivers in Anthony Miller, Riley Ridley and Javon Wims.
I enjoyed reading about the best two-way players in Bears history in a previous Chalk Talk. If the NFL still had two-way players today like they did in the old days, who do you think from the current roster would be the best playing regularly on offense and defense?
That's a very interesting question, Joseph. The first current Bears player that comes to my mind is Eddie Jackson. He was a star receiver and defensive back in high school and has shown excellent ball skills and a knack to score touchdowns at Alabama and with the Bears. Jackson actually played two snaps on offense in 2018 but did not get the ball. I also think that outside linebacker Khalil Mack possesses the skill and athleticism to contribute on offense as a fullback or tight end. I'm also pretty certain that defensive tackle Akiem Hicks—who scored a touchdown as a short-yardage fullback in 2018 against the Giants—could double as an offensive tackle in a two-way era of football. Rashaad Coward has already proven he can play on both sides of the ball, just not at the same time. He was a defensive end as a Bears rookie in 2017 who switched to offensive line in 2018.
How many Bears players have scored four or more touchdowns in a game?
Five Bears players have accomplished that feat. Gale Sayers tied an NFL record with six touchdowns in a 61-20 win over the 49ers Dec. 12, 1965 at Wrigley Field. He scored TDs on rushes of 21, 7, 50 and 1 yards, an 80-yard reception and an 85-yard punt return. Four other Bears players have scored four TDs in a game. Fullback Rick Casares did it twice, in a 38-21 win also over the 49ers at Wrigley Field Oct. 28, 1956 and again in a 27-21 victory over the Steelers in Chicago Dec. 6, 1959. In both games, Casares coincidentally scored on runs of 3, 1, 1 and 1 yards. Quarterback Bobby Douglass rushed for TDs of 1, 1, 2 and 1 yards in a 31-17 win over the Packers in Green Bay Nov. 4, 1973. Two Bears have caught four touchdown passes in a game: Receiver Harlon Hill on receptions of 47, 20, 11 and 66 yards in a 31-27 win over the 49ers in San Francisco Oct. 31, 1954 and tight end Mike Ditka on catches of 13, 25, 2 and 14 yards in a 52-14 victory over the Rams in Los Angeles Oct. 13, 1963.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.