Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
Why did the Bears choose to keep Mark Sanchez over Connor Shaw? I know that Sanchez's injury made the decision a moot point because Shaw was ultimately re-signed. But I thought it was a curious move because I feel that Shaw has more upside.
Connor Shaw has some potential, but he's only played one NFL regular-season game. The Bears look at Mark Sanchez as an experienced veteran who is capable of not only stepping in and playing if needed but mentoring both Mike Glennon and rookie Mitch Trubisky on and off the field. Selected by the Jets with the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, Sanchez can relate to the expectations that Trubisky will face as a high pick in a big city. Here's what general manager Ryan Pace had to say when the Bears signed Sanchez in late March: "He's been through the highs and lows of our league. He's played in some big markets. He's dealt with the challenges. He's dealt with success. He's the kind of player that exudes confidence. I like that about him."
How many Bears running backs have rushed for at least 1,000 yards in their first two seasons? I'm certainly hoping to see Jordan Howard join that list this year.
Jordan Howard has a chance to become the first player in Bears history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. All four of the other individuals who accomplished that feat as rookies failed to reach the 1,000-yard plateau in their second years. Matt Forte came the closest with 929 yards in 2009, while Anthony Thomas compiled 721 yards in 2002. (Forte and Thomas both ran for more than 1,000 yards in their third years.) The other two Bears who rushed for at least 1,000 yards as rookies—Beattie Feathers in 1934 and Rashaan Salaam in 1995—never came close to reaching that milestone again.
Which position group are you most interested in watching in training camp?
Saying the quarterbacks would be an obvious answer, so I'll go with the receivers. There's certainly an interesting mix of wideouts that figure to generate some intriguing and intense competition in training camp and the preseason. The Bears added veteran free agents Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz to a group of holdovers that includes Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, Josh Bellamy, Deonte Thompson and Daniel Braverman. I'm sure White's progress (and health) will be one of the biggest stories in camp this summer. But I'm also looking forward to monitoring Meredith's continued development; I believe the converted college quarterback is primed to build on an impressive 2016 season.