Special Delivery: JC Answers Your Questions

It's Friday once again, which means it's time for another installment of Special Delivery. If you have a question that you would like JC to answer, just find the appropriate thread on the Bear Report message boards or send it to his EZInbox. CaveRoamer from Rockford starts us off with a question about the salary cap situation.

Who all has their contracts up at the end of the season, and where do we stand next offseason with the salary cap? – CaveRoamer (Rockford, IL)
Alfonso Boone, Lance Briggs, Ruben Brown, Justin Gage, Antonio Garay, Todd Johnson, Jason McKie, Terrence Metcalf, Adrian Peterson, Gabe Reid, Ian Scott, and Cameron Worrell are all scheduled to be free agents after the 2006 season. However, it's very difficult to determine where exactly the team will stand in terms of the salary cap next offseason because roster bonuses and the like play a huge role, and we won't know if those will be picked up until this coming March or so. ESPN's John Clayton reported this past offseason that the Bears were $17 million or so under the cap, but in reality, that number was closer to $6 million. Not by coincidence, that's what the team paid Brian Griese to be Rex Grossman's backup. Overall, the team appears to be in very good shape regarding the cap, but the list of free agents after the 2007 season is much more daunting.

Any word on Ricky Manning Jr.'s court case that was supposed to occur Tuesday, September 12? After being pushed back several times, that is the last date that I had heard of. - Chicago_Bear_Jim (Michigan)
If there has been any news about Manning's impending day in court, I am yet to hear of it. As you know, judges tend to be pretty lenient when it comes to football players getting to play during their season and then dealing with the legal repercussions after the Super Bowl. That's not exactly the kind of question I wanted to ask Manning this week in the locker room, but I'm just going to assume that his lawyer is earning his money and has probably gotten a continuance already.

I heard that Brian Urlacher was talking some smack to Roy Williams on the field last week. Who normally likes to talk a lot of smack on the field? - Bandit (Minneapolis, MN)
Urlacher loves to tell the media that he's not much of a vocal leader and usually doesn't say much on the football field. But if you watch closely on Sundays, you'll learn pretty quickly that he's not kidding anyone. I noticed from way up in the press box that he took a little extra time getting off Williams the first time he tackled him this past week, and I'll bet 100 matchsticks that the word "guarantee" rolled off his tongue in a not so flattering manner. However, Lance Briggs is by far the most gifted trash talker on the Bears. He's not as colorful as John Randle, but he is a very bright young man and knows how to be creative with that motor mouth of his.

Bobby Douglass still holds the NFL record for rushing yards in a season by a QB with 968, set in a 14-game season in 1972. Do you think any current quarterback has a shot at this, or will Douglass forever be the best rushing quarterback ever in an NFL season? - Boris13c
I believe Randall Cunningham came the closest in 1990 when he rushed for 942 yards. As far as the current crop of quarterbacks, Michael Vick is the obvious guess. He ran for 902 yards in 2004, and if the powers at be in Atlanta ever just let him run wild and create like he did in his college days at Virginia Tech, I think he'd eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier easily. But with the size and speed of today's defensive players, it seems impossible for a run-first signal-caller to survive a 16-game season. However, if Vince Young ever lives up to his potential in Tennessee, with as big as he is, he'll deliver just as much punishment as he takes.

I would like to know what Mike Ditka thinks about the comparisons of his Bears of 1985 to our 2006 Bears. I really noticed that he hasn't said too much really. Please let me know what you all think!! It has to make Iron Mike feel good the way our Bears team is playing!!! – LoverBoy62353
First of all, self-proclaimed LoverBoy needs to take it easy with the exclamation points. He writes like a junior high cheerleader. I just hope he doesn't dot his I's with hearts. Anyway, as far as Ditka comparing the 2006 Bears to the 1985 Bears, I think he has done a good job trying to avoid those questions because there is no fair way to answer them. Although, when he was asked which current defensive players could start for the `85 team, he said that Brian Urlacher would have to play another position because Mike Singletary wasn't going anywhere. That right there should tell you where his loyalties lie. The team that won Super Bowl XX was a one of a kind, so any comparisons seem like a waste of time to me.

J.D. Runnels was inactive vs. GB but active vs. Detroit. Doesn't this seem a bit risky to go into a game with just one FB? If one or both goes down, who is the emergency third-string FB? – J4Lonnie
It's really not that uncommon for a team to only have one fullback active on game day, especially the Bears. In this offense, a fullback is only going to be on the field about half the plays anyway. Assuming Jason McKie got the start and Runnels was inactive, if something happened to McKie, Gabe Reid would take over since playing H-back is pretty similar to playing fullback. Additionally, offensive coordinator Ron Turner would simply use fewer formations that deployed a fullback and stick with more one-back sets. Runnels was only active last week because Reid was injured, so assuming Reid is healthy again this week, expect to see Runnels inactive again this Sunday.

Have you ever had a confrontation with a Bears player based on something you did or something you wrote? – Duke (Fresno, CA)
I wouldn't say so much that I had a confrontation, however, my first day at training camp this year, I had a mild run-in with Olin Kreutz. Everybody eats in the ONU campus cafeteria, but I was unaware that the players sit on one side while everyone else sits on the other side. I was eating my breakfast and flipping through the newspaper at a table all by myself, but eventually, just about the entire offensive line was sitting around me. Kreutz was the last one to sit down and actually took the seat to my left. I was completely oblivious to what was going on, but I heard him ask the other guys at the table, "Who's this? Some rookie?" Everybody just shook their head. Then Kreutz tapped me on the shoulder and asked me, "Are you on our team?" I told him no and that I was the new Editor of Bear Report Magazine. He hesitated about two seconds before firing back in a pretty direct tone. "Could you go sit over there, please?" as he gestured toward the other side of the cafeteria. I was done eating anyway, so I pulled the whole I-was-just-leaving routine and left. That afternoon at practice, one of the Bears media guys informed me that, by the way, make sure to sit on the left side of the cafeteria. That information would have been nice to know a few hours prior. But hey, I was quite flattered to know that, even if just for a split second, Kreutz thought that I might have been a professional football player.

What kind of shoes will Rex Grossman be wearing this Sunday at the Metrodome? That's where he tore his knee the last time. – Cameron (Atlanta, GA)
Laurence Holmes of The Score asked Grossman that very same question when he met with the media on Wednesday. As it turns out, he was wearing a full cleat back in 2004 when he made that touchdown run that ended up tearing his knee and ending his season. This time around, he'll just be wearing a pair of flat-bottom shoes, so he shouldn't have to worry about them digging into the artificial surface and putting any undue strain on that knee again.

Do you think it's time for Cedric Benson to get a start at running back and see what he can do when not winding down the clock in garbage time? – Bill (Oak Park, IL)
I know it seems like Thomas Jones and Benson have been somewhat sharing the load at tailback through the first two games, but I think that has been a product of some lop-sided scores in the second half. Jones appears to be entrenched as the starter, and assuming this Sunday's game in Minnesota is a close one, I expect to see him get almost all the carries. Benson might get a series or two, but unless the game is out of hand either way, Jones will probably be the guy. Now would I like to see Benson get 20-25 attempts? Yes, because I think in time he will prove to be the more talented runner and capable of taking this offense to new heights.

Brendon Ayanbadejo looked pretty good at linebacker last week in place of Hunter Hillenmeyer. Any chance he eventually takes over as the starter? – Desmond (St. Louis, MO)
I think that is a real possibility and have been speculating as such since training camp. Hillenmeyer is a very good player who makes few mistakes and knows his role in the defense. But Ayanbadejo is more athletic, has a tremendous attitude (not to insinuate that Hillenmeyer doesn't, mind you), and the coaching staff raves about him. The man is an absolute maniac on special teams. I for one think he could bring an added element to the defense alongside Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.

Special Delivery runs every Friday on BearReport.com. If you have a question that you would like to have JC answer, please find the appropriate pegged thread on the message boards or send it to his EZInbox.


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