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.
Have the Bears’ draft picks selected their jersey numbers yet? If so, when will we know what they are?
Yes, the Bears draft picks have been assigned their jersey numbers and are as follows: First-round linebacker Roquan Smith (No. 58), second-round offensive lineman James Daniels (68), second-round receiver Anthony Miller (17), fourth round linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (45), fifth-round defensive end Bilal Nichols (98), sixth-round outside linebacker Kylie Fitts (49) and seventh-round receiver Javon Wims (83). Other players who have changed numbers include receiver Marlon Brown (from 17 to 81), linebacker Jonathan Anderson (58 to 52) and guard Will Pericak (68 to 73).
Do you think that Jordan Howard’s rushing yards will decline this season because he’ll be playing in more of a pass-oriented offense?
I don’t think that Jordan Howard’s numbers will necessarily decline this season. There’s no question that first-year coach Matt Nagy liked to throw the ball as Chiefs offensive coordinator, but remember that Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt also led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,327 yards. So while the Bears no doubt will be throwing the ball this season, they’re not going to abandon the running game. Plus, if they have more leads late in games than in past seasons, that likely will lead to more work for Howard as well. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he tops 1,000 yards on the ground for the third straight season.
Other than Mitchell Trubisky, which of last year’s rookies do you think has the best chance of having a breakout season this year?
Running back Tarik Cohen had a breakout rookie season, so I’ll eliminate him as a possibility. My best guess is that safety Eddie Jackson will have a breakout season, possibly ending in the Pro Bowl. I thought he had a very productive rookie year, especially showing his ball skills and big-play ability with four takeaways and two touchdowns on defense. After a year of experience and an entire offseason with the Bears, I think Jackson will take another step in his second season.