Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears, and Scratch-Off Tickets

April 19, 2009

The completely unexpected happened a few weeks ago.  Because I’ve been slacking, I haven’t  posted anything, but, after all my bear-bashing, I’m about to eat my words and enjoy it.

Photo from Blog Down Chicago Bears

The oft-criticized Chicago Bear front office pulled off what amounts to the most important personnel move in my personal history with the team, and perhaps the biggest move in Bears history.

Though other franchises make blockbuster moves and offer ridiculous contracts nearly every off-season (Hi Jets! Cowboys! Redskins!), the Bears are traditionally a stoic, staunch, and slow-moving franchise.  Instead of grabbing hot free agents every year, the Bears opt to reward their core players with generous contract re-signings…  regrettably, as the cornerstones of the defense proved last year, sometimes that’s not the best idea (see: #21).

All that was blown out of the water earlier this week.

Bears fans have had nearly enough of GM Jerry Angelo’s big talk with no follow-through, while Lovie Smith’s unnerving poker face press responses further aggravated fans.  Meanwhile in Colorado, Jay Cutler, former Midwest-born Bears fan and 25 yearr-old Pro Bowl quarterback, was refusing to answer the phonecalls of his team, the Denver Broncos.  Cutler was rightfully peeved — the Broncos’ new sherrif in town, Josh McDaniels, had made no secret of the fact he was not interested in having Cutler under center during the 2009 season.  McDaniels had an inexplicable man-crush on a Patriots backup QB.

Photo from Football Nation

This was the highest-profile trade in recent memory and the Bears, somehow, fended off a HUGE amount of competition to lock up what could wind up solidifying the always-iffy Bears QB position.  A gutsy move that could feasibly solve the perennial Chicago QB problem for the next decade-plus.  Imagine not worrying about this issue again until after we host the Olympics!  Ha.

But there are always naysayers… here are the biggest complaints which I will swiftly refute:

Naysayer #1: “Jay Cutler is a good QB but he doesn’t have anyone to throw to”

  • Aside from the fact that the Bears have two solid tigh ends and one the best pass-catching backs in the league, I get the point — the Bears wide receiving corp(se) is  the worst in the league.  But, as my pal Jimmy pointed out, good quarterbacks create better receivers.  Good receivers don’t make great QBs.
  • Note how unimpressive past Packer wideouts become after they leave a team that had  Brett Favre throwing to them. Note how well Randy Moss fared in Oakland without a decent signal caller under center.  Note how well the pass-happy Eagles threw this year without any real stars at the position.  Note how Wes Welker played on the Dolphins compared to how well he’s played in New England.
  • Also worth mentioning: the Bears are sure to make some moves post-draft.  Aside from the draft itself, there are plenty of veteran wide receivers to pick up… Torry Holt, Marvin Harrison, The Foot-Shooter to name a few.  Granted two of those three athletes are past their prime, but they’re still  serviceable, savvy, smart, possession players.

Naysayer #2: “The Bears gave up too much to get Cutler”

  • To lock-up Cutler, the Bears gave up two first-round picks, an additional pick, and their starting QB, Kyle Orton.  On paper, this looks like a pretty steep cost.  But for anyone that’s followed the history of Chicago drafts, this is a great move.  Long-story short, the Bears DO NOT draft offensive players well… or develop them well. Trading away what might be for what already is makes perfect sense.
  • Think about it like this:  Some guy (probably in a trenchcoat) approaches you on the street… let’s call him… ummm,  Josh McDaniels.  He has five-hundred dollars neatly stacked in a pile and wants to trade you for your two “Win a Million” scratch-off lottery tickets.  Mr McDaniels (who is obviously clinically insane) would rather have your two scratch-offs than his cold, hard cash.  He’ll trade you his liquid assets for two of your unscratched lottery tickets.  Sure, your tickets might be worth lots too, but your name is McCaskey and your family has never had much luck in the lottery.  WHY DO YOU NOT AGREE TO THIS TRADE?
  • Appendix: Here are the Bears’ 1st round offensive skill position picks since 1988: Greg Olsen, Cedric Benson, Rex Grossman, David Terrell, Cade McNown, Curtis Enis, Rashaan Salaam, Curtis Conway, Brad Muster, and Wendell Davis.  It’s pretty evident you’ve been squandering them anyway, why not give them away for something tangible? Tangible and fucking awesome btw.

Naysayer #3: “Kyle Orton is the future”

  • K.O., god love him, is a solid QB, and may still wind up being a fantastic player.  But look at the facts: He is not a Pro Bowler,  Cutler is.  He isn’t 13-1 when the defense allows less than 22 points, which Cutler was last year (fyi — Bears avg points allowed last year: 21.9).  Lastly, Orton’s lack of arm strength nullified the speed that “#1” receiver Devin Hester possesses; while the words “Cutler”, “canon”, and “lazer” often appear in the same sentence.
  • It’s Science:
  • Note how "canon" spikes when Jay Cutler news spikes.

I’m thrilled to see what happens this season.  And if Cutler is a bust — so be it.  I don’t think Chicago would have ever forgiven the franchise for not pursing an all-star QB that was within their grasp, so I commend the Bears for making a huge, and long-awaited move.  I’ve never anticipated a season more than I have this off-season.  I wish it started tomorrow.


Chicago Bears: Door Open, Checkbook… Open?

February 18, 2009


Lots of moves going on over at Halas hall.  Plenty of time before I can start fretting about the Preseason, but I’ll quickly dish about Chicago Bears’ recent moves, and drops, and free agent opportunities.  Chris Curran, Kenny Bernat (of Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt Kroll (of BellyFullofHell) also have some thoughts…

The Never-ending QB Rotation

Brian: Only 6 months left.  I’m going through serious withdrawal.  Hockey’s not helping… it’s like a expired box of methadone.  Combine coming up.  Bears have picked up NWU’s  Brett Basanez at QB… because that makes sense… career stats: 6 of 11, 56 yards with one interception. 0-1.

Does anyone like Jeff Garcia as much as I do?  No matter how good he makes a team, he always gets ditched for someother “project” QB.  Why 49ers, Browns, Lions and Bucs have all dropped him, I have no idea.

Curran: I thought he did well this year, i think his problem is that he is older and he is not an amazing QB.  So teams are allways going to take a chance on the possible upgrade.  he will still play well when given a chance.

the bears are just horrible with their QB choices. they get this guy from NWU and the back up QB from the Panthers?  what they hell are they going for guys with the least actual experience?  Qualifications: Nice Smile all others need not apply.

Kenny: I have basically given up on the Bears offseason. It’s more frustrating than the regular season. All this talk is about a new quarterback is bullshit. The Bears cannot, CANNOT evaluate the position at all. What they should really be doing is signing receivers left and right. But they won’t. They will just draft somebody that will probably get hurt.

At this point Jeff Garcia is probably the only decent BACKUP left. Let’s face it, he is not a championship quarterback. Other than that, he is an aging hot head that reminds me of Jeff Kent.

Bitter? The Bears have given me no choice. They hate their fans.

Waive Goodbye & Free Agents

Kenny: Today’s rumor Mill has the Bears looking at Chris Simms and Fred Taylor.

Bye bye Mike Brown and John Tait.

Brian: Hmmmm.

I don’t care how many QBs they sign so long as one of them shows up to play.

Simms looked pretty deece when he started for the Bucs a few years ago but, apparently, they got bored of him or something.  Also, didn’t Simms Sr. get pissed when a commentator called Chris “soft”.

Mike Brown, bless his heart, can’t do a season anymore. What scares me is Craig Steltz trying to make tackles in his place… did you see him get buldozed last year?

Oh yeah… bye bye Booker.   And 2/5ths of depleted Offensive Lin…

Fred Tayor would be a KILLER pick up.  A nice one-two with Forte who got really effed up after a full season with no legitimate backup.

Kenny: Simms hurt his spleen really bad. I think he ruptured it. The fact that people were giving him a hard time was probably because they were bonehead NFL fans.

I agree having Taylor as the second running back would be a much needed improvement. Just gotta form an O-LINE, which the Bears need to solve to give Orton more success this year.

Just Trade Haugh

Awesome Image Courtesy of Angy Orange

Brian: Urlacher for Boldin?

Kenny: I went off [ ] when I read that. David Haugh might be one of the wost sports writers behind Jay Marriotti. He always comes up with these theories that don’t have any merit behind them. Last year, he wanted them to trade Urlacher for Brett Favre which would have been so idiotic. When I went to Holy Cross, Haugh was a writer for the South Bend Tribune, and wrote about Notre Dame as if he made up how they were doing. The fact that he is our beat writer for the Bears is embarrassing. I invite everyone to boycott his article.

Brian: Haugh always seems to say whatever will make people talk — regardless of if it makes any sense at all.  That’s not journalism.

Kenny: I know. It’s kinda sad. I would think writing for a professional football team would be quite an opportunity and a privilege.

Dog Days

fuuuuuuuuuck no.  I will become a Browns fan if this happens…. Bears Looking At QB Options, Including…Michael Vick?

Kenny: Yeah, Vick as a Bear would be complete poison. The good news is, I don’t think it will happen. If you look at other papers across the nation, his name is being brought up as well as fodder for dying newspapers. What’s also interesting is, since Vick went to prison there hasn’t been any running quarterbacks. (And really I have always thought that their success is very limited.) Remember how much McNabb used to run? That changed when they groomed him into relying on his arm. Vince Young will be in that transition too. So if Michael “Pass efficiency FAIL” Vick is thinking about entering the league again, he might consider adjusting his game, because football evolves in some way every 5-10 years.

Brian: If Virginia McCaskey refuses to endorse cheerleaders, there’s no way she’ll allow them to pick up Vick.

Vick will wind up on the Cowboys or the Bengals… they all do.

Matt: Yeah this would be a huge mistake. Running quarterbacks were a fad; just like prison is a fad. Wait…


Orton and the Owl-Faced Goblin

January 15, 2009

Since I can’t really wrap my whole brain around the season right now, I’m just posting a few blogs based on coversation points I had with some assorted pals online; Ryan, Jim, Rob (from the blog Walker’s Point), Kenny (from Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt from Belly Full of Hell). Here goes:

On The Never-Ending QB Controversey

Kenny: (In response to Tribune article “Kurt Warner Should be High on Chicago Bears Shopping List“) Probably the dumbest idea I have read in a long time. David Haugh should work for the Bears, because he is starting to think like them.

  1. Bringing in a 37 year old QB is pretty much playing a longshot. How did that work out for the Jets?
  2. Kurt Warner is terrible in cold games. Terr.i.ble. Last time I checked it gets Antartica cold in December.
  3. Why would we bench Kyle Orton after he has improved significantly over this past year? Because Warner has one, maybe two years at the most left in his arm? Plus his uber Christian wife has a bull dyke haircut. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Uber slutty, tacky women or bull dyke Sunday school teacher?

or

Arms, Distance: God, I never get tired of that photo, or this one… http://www.theonion.com/content/node/34927
“Kurt Warner Cheered On By Wire-Haired Man-Goblin”

Kurt Warner Cheered On By Wire-Haired Man-Goblin

K: Kurt Warner’s wife mistaken for Jimmy Clausen — Kurt Warner thought his visit back to the Super Bowl would recreate fond memories of his former self at his best. The 1999 MVP performance. The 73-yard touchdown completion to Isaac Bruce. The game-ending tackle at the 1-yard line. Most of the attention instead has turned to Warner’s wife Brenda, who has accompanied him throughout Miami and has an uncanny resemblance to Notre Dame prized recruit Jimmy Clausen. Hundreds of Irish fans, in Miami because they thought their beloved team was selected to play in the Super Bowl, have flocked to the self-proclaimed grocery bagger seeking his wife’s autograph.
Jimmy Clausen or Brenda Warner?

A, D: Honestly, Orton is a serviceable QB, but we’ll never know how good he could be if we don’t get a decent receiver corp. One thing’s for sure though — he can NOT throw the long ball. I can’t count how many times he under-threw deep routes this year. (Sometimes, in the case of the Saints, it wound up being defensive pass interference because Hester couldn’t work back to the ball). But usually, it’s just going to wind up as an incompletion.

Ryan: I think Orton needs a fair shot… He was doing great until he got hurt and then he played the rest of the season injured. The Bears have way bigger issues than replacing a good player.


The Bear Market and the Wide Receiver Corps(e)

January 14, 2009

Since I can’t wrap my brain around the season right now, I’m posting a few blogs based on online coversation with some assorted pals; Ryan, Jim, Rob (from the blog Walker’s Point), Kenny (from Ask Dr. Kenny) and Matt from Belly Full of Hell). Here goes:

On The Poor WR Corp

Arms, Distance: I would have to support picking up Kurt Warner in one scenario — because Cards’ Anquan Boldin is not happy in Arizona either… if we’re willing to spend, we could pick up a QB/WR tandem that has PROVEN they’re effective together. That’s immediate offense.

  • Warner-to-ONLY Boldin (with missing a few games): 89 Receptions, 86.5 yds/g, 11 tds, 10 20+ yds
  • Warner-to-ONLY Fitzgerald: 96 Receptions, 89.4 yds/g, 12 tds, 20 20+yds
  • Orton-to-Hester: 51Receptions, 44.3 yds/g, 3 tds, 9 20+yd Catches

Imagine Warner/Boldin production if Anquan is the primary receiver.

Matt: The Bears are where receivers go to die.

Kenny: Said Muhsin Muhammed. I think it’s funny he said that considering he led the league in drops that year.
Muhsin Muhammed: where quarterbacks go to see their passes dropped.

Not so fast Braylon Edwards.

A,D: True. Though, you know what really sucks… Moose had more catches than our leading receiver (Forte) for twice as many yards and 1 more TD.

K: Well if you consider that Forte is our running back, I’d say that’s sad on both accounts.

M: I agree.

A,D: Sad all around.

The Bear Market

 

A,D: So, what’s the #1 thing the Bears have to do in the offseason?

If you answered “Sign a coach who won one game in the last two years”, you and Lovie Smith are on the same page. What do y’all think they have to do to not be a huge fucking joke next season.

“Fire Lovie” is not an option, dude’s got plenty of money left on his contract extension that doesn’t run out until 2011.

K: Coaches have been fired before with years left remaining. But yeah, I don’t think they are going to fire him. If they were going to, they would have by now.

Actually, Marinelli becoming the defensive line coach is good. He was D-line for Tampa Bay for a decade. He was pretty good there. I think certain coaches are better at specializing on one category. This is his category. He’s just not an overall head coach. But then again, neither is Lovie.

Ryan: Ron Turner and Bob Babich need the axe but they won’t get cut

A,D: Some of the more advanced teams nowadays are doing something called “The Forward Pass”. It may revolutionize the game. This Sid Luckman character may be just the ticket.

M: Haha Knute and the forward pass


Packers versus Bears

November 18, 2008

Using the term “versus” denotes that one team plays another, I should change this headline to “Packers Pwnd Bears”

My God, my brain cannot function in ways to comprehend how badly the Bears were beaten yesterday. In a 37-3 route, the Pack CRUSHED the Bears in every possible way. As my frontal lobe cannot put together words, I’ll just copy-and-paste some comments in email conversation I had this morning with friends from both Chicago and *gasp* Wisconsin

  • On behalf of the Packers, I apologize… I didn’t expect that and I won’t gloat, beyond the SCOTT STAPP text I sent.

  • You gotta give the Pack credit for playing a great game all-around, and running 200+ on a team that usually “shuts down” the run.
  • That was the most pathetic Bears game I’ve ever seen. (Well, recently)
  • I missed Rex Grossman’s magic
  • I did see Mike Brown’s hit on Ryan Grant. I was surprised Grant was able to come back in the game, it looked monster
  • Did you see the Slo-Mo of Grossman warming up and the ball flipping backwards out of his hand?!?! Hilarious!
  • I say for the remainder of the season, STAY with the run-stopping… make teams beat you through the air. We may be one-dimensional, but as of last week our one-dimension had us leading the division with our only losses coming to two division leaders (one undefeated), and two playoff-bound teams – all of which by a touchdown or less
  • That’s a good point…Even the first game against the Colts was against a very rusty Manning.
  • I think as much as the defense is regressing, the offense needs to do something. Either Orton’s ankle is still bum or Grossman is watching game tape from the early 00’s Bears and boycotting passes longer than 10 yards.
  • Shoop time baby!
  • Orton’s definitely still hurt (sidenote: the Aaron Kampman cheap-shot didn’t help)… maybe 70%.
  • Was Kampman’s hit late? I only a saw a replay of it, but I couldn’t tell if he was diving for Orton and hit his ankle or if Orton hurt his ankle again when he was trying to move away from Kampma
  • The ball was well out of Kyle Orton’s hand, the play was over and Kampman was on the ground… and he reached AROUND Orton’s good leg to get a shot at the bad one. I’m trying to find video.
  • Ew. That sounds like a fine to me!
  • The Bears were just lousy. I don’t mind (as much) losing a well-fought game, but that was just embarrassing.
  • If you listened to the radio last night, oh man, people were pissed.
  • It turns out that the Bears defense IS terrible, and the whole “good at stopping the run” thing was just a way of hiding the fact our entire defense is subpar.
  • We could “stack the box” against teams with average QBs (Matt Ryan, Kerry Collins, Gus Ferotte, effing Dan Orlovsky) but when you play a team with good WRs and a good QB like the Packers, we had to play honest, and it really showed how fucking miserable this teams defense is.
  • The crazy thing is that we were all oblivious to how bad the team was, when ALL those teams with mediocre/rookie QBs – Falcons, Titans, Vikings, Lions were all throwing well against us, even though only two wound up being losses.

Squibgate

October 14, 2008

I’ll be brief.  In the final quarter of an otherwise yawn-fest of a game, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Chicago Bears with a field goal with 1-second left after Kyle Orton led the Bears in multiple late-quarter drives.  As a Bears fan, I will be succinct, but I must ask:

  1. Why a squib vs a regular kickoff?  Is Robbie Gould a good squib kicker — it didn’t look that way. 
  2. Are we supposed to have the best Special Teams coverage in the league?  Isn’t a game with 11 seconds left a time to expect them to perform.
  3. Was there a fear of avoiding a real kickoff because of what happened against the Vikings last year, when Adrian Peterson returned a kickoff into Bears territory that lead a Minnesota 3-point victory?
  4. Why stick to the Cover-2 when a short pass or running the ball would’ve ended the game?
  5. How do you allow a reciever to get even CLOSE to a sideline when the team has no timeouts with 6 seconds left?
  6. With all this recent referee criticsm, isn’t it bullshit that Atlanta’s game clock operator gave their offense a 1-sec or so cushion on the secon-to-last snap? (The same second that allowed Elam to kick the winning field goal).  A similar question was fielded in Larry Mayer’s Bears Q&A “Chalk Talk” yesterday:

Can the Bears file a formal protest of Sunday’s loss based on the clock operation in the Georgia Dome? It appeared that the clock conveniently started late on both on the Bears’ squib kickoff and on Atlanta’s 26-yard pass play that set up the field goal.

Will S.
Chicago

Well, whatever.  They say good teams find a way to win — what does that say about a Bears team whose every loss has been 3 points or less? I’m going crazy just thinking about this.  Also note: Jason Elam blew a gimmie field goal earlier in the quarter, and we blew a 4th and goal attempt so… we can’t complain, the Bears had plenty of chances to score and shouldn’t have allowed it to come down to the last second.

Relive the terror (or the glory if you’re reading this in Atlanta / Green Bay).
 


Bears Workouts, Hester Exists.

July 28, 2008

The daily workout videos are actually really fun to watch — then again, I can’t really gain any insights only watching  highlights.  I’m still going to try to.

 Video #4 has some nice touchy feely slow-motion video of a dusk workout, but the full-pad scrimmage is what I’m really interested in.  Quick highlights (set to some shitty rock music):

  • Matt Forte makes a nice one-handed run & catch for big yardage
  • Kyle Orton connects with Greg Olsen who dodges a tackler and is off to the races
  • Rex Grossman goes deep to Mike Hass
  • Nathan Vasher breaks up a Orton-Rashied Davis pass
  • Grossman from shotgun connects a short cut to Kellen Davis
  • Grossman throws deep in-stride to Mark Bradley (he’s still there?)
  • Orton, moving very well in the pocket, throws on the run to Desmond Clark for a TD

Chicago Bears blogger Larry Mayer also commented that SEC WR product Earl Bennet is looking great in practice and could wind up being a great draft deal.  Though he seems about a half-foot shorter than Marques Colston, it’d be nice to see that sort of pleasent suprise in wideout corp this year:

Given the way Bennett has performed so far in training camp, he could eventually be one of the biggest steals in the draft. Think about the level of competition in the SEC and it’s even more impressive that he left Vanderbilt as the conference’s all-time leading receiver with 236 catches, a feat he accomplished in just three seasons!

 

Oh yeah.  Also.  Hester Hester Hester Hester Hester Hester, Hester? Hester Hester .  I’m happy Angelo locked him up, now let’s focus on other weapons so we don’t have to depend on him for EVERY score.