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 do you think will be the next Bears player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
I think that Devin Hester will be the next Bears player enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He is considered by many (myself included) to be the top return specialist in NFL history, and I believe that makes him deserving of the honor. He was the best at his position for a long time and set records that may never be broken for return touchdowns. Hester may not be voted in in his first year of eligibility in 2022, but I do think it will happen eventually. With that being said, I believe that former center Jay Hilgenberg deserves to be enshrined before Hester becomes eligible, but Hilgenberg has not garnered the support I believe he warrants. Hilgenberg was selected to start seven straight Pro Bowls and anchored one of the top offensive lines in NFL history for more than a decade. The unit helped the Bears lead the league in rushing for four straight seasons, claim five consecutive division championships and win Super Bowl XX. I also think that former cornerback Charles Tillman deserves some consideration given how he changed the game with his "Peanut Punch." When Bears chairman George H. McCaskey was asked at Brian Urlacher's induction ceremony Saturday night which of the team's players should be next to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, he mentioned Hilgenberg, Hester, Jim Covert, Lance Briggs, Steve McMichael, Rick Casares and Harlon Hill and said: "We've got a little backlog of Bears that deserve to go into the Hall of Fame, so hopefully the selectors will do the right thing."
Is Mitchell Trubisky going to play in Thursday night's preseason game in Cincinnati?
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Yes, Mitchell Trubisky is expected to make his preseason debut Thursday night against the Bengals. Coach Matt Nagy made that announcement after Monday's practice, but it has yet to be determined how long the second-year quarterback will play. My guess would be probably the first quarter or so, which is typical around the NFL. By the way, here is what quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone said that he'd like to see from Trubisky Thursday night: "I want him to do what he's been doing, which is come out of the huddle, play with conviction, play with command, play with confidence. That's something we've stressed to him. You don't look over your shoulder; you go out there and you play ball. And he's got a great confidence about him. It's not arrogance, it's confidence, and his teammates love that about him. We just want him to be him; go out there, play the way you play, lead it, be great with your eyes and fundamentals, and play ball. That's what you're here for, and he's done a great job of that."
How do the Bears feel about their depth at offensive tackle? I would be concerned if one of the starters, Charles Leno Jr. or Bobby Massie, gets hurt and can't play.
Des Moines, Iowa
Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand didn't seem too concerned about depth at tackle when he spoke to reporters Monday at training camp. He expressed faith in both experienced veteran Bradley Sowell and converted defensive lineman Rashaad Coward. Sowell played in all 16 games with two starts in his first season with the Bears last year. His two starts came in the final two contests, at left guard against the Browns and right tackle versus the Vikings. Sowell originally signed with the Bears last May after appearing in 68 NFL games with 21 starts over five seasons with the Colts (2012), Cardinals (2013-15) and Seahawks (2016). "Brad Sowell's a veteran; he's played a lot of football," Hiestand said. "We've got Rashaad Coward, who's moved over (from defense) and played 75 plays [in the Hall of Fame Game] and has the body type and attitude to be a really good player. Just needs reps. We feel like we have two backups right now that need to improve and get better. But we feel good about that."