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.
When was the last time a quarterback led the Bears in rushing for a season?
The only time it's ever happened was in 1972 when quarterback Bobby Douglass led the Bears in rushing with 968 yards and eight touchdowns on 141 carries. Fullback Jim Harrison was second with 622 yards and two TDs on 167 attempts. Through nine games this season, Justin Fields leads the Bears in rushing with 602 yards and four TDs on 61 attempts. Khalil Herbert is second with 586 yards and four TDs on 98 carries. And David Montgomery is third with 397 yards and two TDs on 106 attempts. The Bears are the only NFL team that has two rushers with at least 500 yards and three rushers with at least 397 yards.
With the trade of Roquan Smith, which player is now calling the signals for the Bears defense?
Veteran linebacker Nicholas Morrow has taken over that responsibility following the departure of Roquan Smith. Morrow is a fifth-year pro, having signed with the Bears this year after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Raiders. After Smith was traded, Morrow moved from the middle linebacker position to the weakside spot that Smith was playing. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams was asked this week why Morrow was chosen to wear the green dot on the back of his helmet, signifying that he's the player who receives the calls from Williams and shares them with the rest of the defense: "He relays them correctly. He knows the defense and so I can start the call and he can finish the call. That helps when you have a smart guy like that and he goes, 'OK, boom!' And he gives it to them before it comes out of my mouth. And a guy that can problem solve. So that if an offense goes fast, he goes, 'I know what coach is going to call. I know what we practiced. I know what the call sheet looks like. Boom.' The guys have it and that helps out tremendously because we are on the same page, and when we're on the same page that means he's relaying that message to the defense and then they can get in and out of the huddle, look at the offense, diagnose all the keys and tips that we give them, and then ultimately they play much faster and much better."
Everyone is saying how fast Justin Fields is. Was he clocked and if so how fast did he run? Are there other current players with similar speed?
The 40-yard dash, of course, is not the be-all, end-all, but Justin Fields was clocked at 4.45 in the 40 at the 2021 NFL Combine. That's the same time as Jaguars running back Travis Etienne, for instance. Just looking randomly at how some other players fared in the 40 at the Combine, Fields ran a faster time than 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel (4.48) in 2019 as well as 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk (4.50), Bills receiver Gabriel Davis (4.54), Jaguars receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (4.58) and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (4.59) in 2020. Four current Bears players ran a faster time than Fields at the 2020 Combine: Receivers Darnell Mooney (4.38) and Chase Claypool (4.42), cornerback Kindle Vildor (4.44) and practice-squad running back Darrynton Evans (4.41). While it's interesting to compare 40-times, it's important to remember that certain players possess faster game speeds than others regardless of what they run in shorts and a t-shirt.