It's hard to believe that Sayers has fewer career rushing yards than Curt Warner, Antowain Smith, and Rodney Hampton, but that's the case since he really only had five healthy seasons in the NFL. If you want a better measure of his greatness, among the 50 all-time leading rushers, his 5.0 yards per carry is topped only by the 5.2 that Jim Brown managed. Sayers averaged an incredible 6.2 yards per carry for nine games in 1968 before injuring his other knee, but he still came back in `69 to lead the league in rushing again.
It's hard to say what kind of numbers he might have put together had he stayed healthy and continued to play, but he certainly would have broken the 10,000-yard barrier – only 20 players in history have done that.
Which position coach on the Bears staff has impressed you the most/least? And why? – TexasBearsFan
If you're looking for a position coach with a never-ending supply of charisma, wide receivers coach Darryl Drake is your guy. He's even a better interview than most of the players on the roster. Since the Bears need to get the most out of Devin Hester this season, he's in good hands with Drake as far as I'm concerned.
I don't know if there's a position coach that necessarily doesn't impress me, although departed quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson certainly didn't do too much based on what I saw.
How does Ron Turner rate among offensive coordinators in the NFL in terms of his reputation and perceived abilities? – Prometheuss
It seemed like Turner was a hero one week and a goat the next in Chicago last season, but overall, I think he does a pretty good job. Remember that an offensive coordinator can only be as good as his personnel, which means that Turner should be able to get even more out of this offense in 2007 with all the additions he has at the skill positions. The offense went from 29th in the league two years ago with a rookie quarterback to 15th last year after the return of Rex Grossman, so I certainly think this team has the makings to move into the top-10 this year.
While most good free agents are gone, Max Starks from the Steelers is still available as a restricted free agent. He's young, good, and has a $1.8 million tag and could be a building block for future. Do you think Starks might be a target for us to go after? – ChiN8V37
I don't see GM Jerry Angelo having an interest in Starks primarily because he is a restricted free agent as opposed to unrestricted, plus he'll be expecting to start should he move to a new team. The starting lineup for the Bears is set on the offensive line, so that right there tells you that it's not a good fit. It's certainly possible that Starks could turn out to be a better player than John Tait or Fred Miller in a year or two, but right now, he isn't and might not be worth the investment.
Remember that many offensive linemen continue to play at a high level well into their 30s, so the team will squeeze all they can out of Tait and Miller and hope they can develop the likes of Mark LeVoir and Aaron Brant.
Now that we have four other safeties on the roster, has there been any thoughts of trying to convert Chris Harris to linebacker? - Cole (Lisle, IL)
Considering the fact that Harris is currently atop the depth chart at strong safety, now is not the right time for him to be thinking about a position change. Adam Archuleta may be able to wrestle the staring gig away from him in training camp, but right now, the only other pure strong safety on the roster is rookie fifth-rounder Kevin Payne. Harris weighs just 205 pounds and does not have an overly-muscular physique, so while he might be a good player near the line of scrimmage, he would be overmatched having to take on guards and fullbacks on every play.
Switching positions in the middle of an NFL career is not exactly commonplace, especially since the skill set for each spot is becoming more specialized every year.
Do you expect Greg Olsen to take over for Desmond Clark as the starter at tight end some time this season? – Tommy (Chicago, IL)
Since Clark had the best season of his career in 2006, he's done absolutely nothing to warrant a demotion. As opposed to Olsen taking over for Clark, I'm looking for the Bears to employ a fair amount of two-tight sets this season in order to get both of them on the field as much as possible. Olsen lined up everywhere from tight end to H-back to fullback during the offseason program at Halas Hall, so Turner is trying to be creative in order to get Olsen involved.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if this is Clark's last season in Chicago as he gives way to Olsen in 2008, but they should be a formidable tandem if employed properly.
Hey there, Chief. Nice work on everything. I have a question for you. Do you play fantasy football like the rest of us? – Barry (Providence, RI)
I've been playing fantasy football since 1990 or so believe it or not, when I infamously drafted Eric Metcalf of the Browns – primarily a kick returner and third-down back at the time – in the third round because I thought he was a guaranteed Hall-of-Famer one day. I've since gotten a little wiser with the draft process, although last year may have been the worst of my fantasy career. With the exception of Drew Brees, pretty much every player on my roster had his worst season ever and actually kept me out of the playoffs for the first time in recent memory.
The funny thing is since I now cover the Bears on a daily basis and have to know the team backward and forward, I feel like I don't know the rest of the NFL as well as I did back when I was just a freelance sports journalist.
Has there been any more chatter about Alex Brown getting traded? Any chance he gets moved or cut in training camp? – Gordon (Rock Hill, SC)
I haven't heard anything new about Brown since we found out he lost his starting gig to Mark Anderson, and personally, I'd be shocked if Brown is moved. He may not be a dominating defensive end in today's NFL, but he's a solid player and one of the more popular leaders in the locker room. Remember that head coach Lovie Smith prefers to rotate his defensive linemen as much as possible, so Brown is still going to get his share of snaps and might even be able to play a little tackle every now and then.
We all know that Anderson can get after the quarterback, but it remains to be seen if he can be an every-down end and hold the point of attack against the run.
The Vikings ran the ball very well against the Bears last season, and now they've added Adrian Peterson in the draft. Are the Bears in trouble against the run? – Jake (Whiting, IN)
The Midway Monsters certainly had a prolonged stretch last season when they were not a very good defense against the run, and that was exaggerated in the second Vikings game after Tommie Harris went down. Minny could have a very good running game when they pair Peterson with Chester Taylor, but unless Tarvaris Jackson proves that he can be effective throwing the football, the two tailbacks will see eight men in the box practically every snap. Losing Ian Scott in free agency won't help because he was the best run defender of the DTs last season, although I do think free agent signee Anthony Adams could be a good addition.
Mike Brown plays the run as well as any safety in football, so having him back there again will only help assuming he can stay on the field.
If Devin Hester is going to be moved to wide receiver, will he have to change numbers and give up No. 23? – Rob (Itaska, IL)
Hester has already sold a fair amount of replica jerseys with his performance as a rookie, so I believe he'll technically be listed as a running back so he can keep No. 23.
|John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|