MMI caught the Chicago Bears’ mini-camp wrap up discussion on the Chicago Tribune Live. I must say the host and the moderator David Kaplan of the panel was highly critical of the Bears from the outset. He went along the lines of what most of the message board faithful are ranting about lack of free agency activity and just how bad the team was last year at WR. He spoke in a very condescending tone from beginning to end, making it seem like he is the subject matter expert and the voice of reason. For the most part he took a negative stance with the Bears and their off-season activities and then turned it over for questions.
Kaplan’s stance from the get go, and the lead into the discussion was the Bears did not add a single wide receiver in free agency and our biggest free agency acquisitions are Brett Basanaez and Frank Omiyale. The Bears have no one that can get to the quarterback and they let Mike Brown leave without a replacement. The instant laughter around the panel was that no one got hurt coming out of mini-camp.
Vaughn McClure picked up into the discussion with the Jay Cutler talk stating rather easily that if there is something to look in there that the Bears should at least make the call to see what it would take to land Cutler. McClure followed it up with that he’s not sure that Cutler can be the savior of this team and that he wonders if he has proven himself as a high level high caliber QB. McClure’s early stance is that he’s not confident that one year is enough to judge Cutler by. He’s interrupted by a mention that Cutler was unable to lead Denver to the playoffs even with his monstrous numbers last year.
Kaplan interjects that the Bears he has absolute confidence and faith in Cutler and his statement is that the Bears have an arena league roster of quarterbacks, and that the Bears have never had a big time guy behind the controls. He’s a Pro-Bowler that’s 26-years-old bring him in. Kaplan is then asked what would he give up for him (draft picks player-wise in a trade) and Kaplan says whatever it takes, whatever they want. He’s also talked over when someone says “He’s not Johnny Unitas in his prime” and then is asked would he give up three number ones. Kaplan’s response is that he would give up Orton, Urlacher and a number one for Cutler.
He’s then asked about the three number ones question and Kaplan begins to back track, no he wouldn’t and then, okay your next two number ones (first round picks) and he back tracks again and says no….but is then is called out and said you said whatever it takes. This is why Kaplan is like most fans in that he can’t exactly hold a position when he’s called out on it by someone better than or even on his level in the sports discussion realm.
McClure is hesitant to do the Urlacher Orton and #18 pick for Orton because he states emphatically that Angelo is going to blow the first round pick anyway because the Bears always do blow it. Bob Foltman gets involved in the discussion calling Kaplan a fantasy GM for wanting Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens and Cutler. Kaplan’s response is he wants some personality on this team. As if cancerous team wrecking personality is a good thing for a team to be successful.
Foltman begins to assert himself into the conversation questioning Cutler’s maturity level. Wondering if there are red flag warnings to be wary of given the situation and the stand that Cutler has made. Not every unfamiliar to Bears fans given the Lance Briggs situation from a couple years ago. It sorta boggles the mind that most of these sports caster experts haven’t taken into account the temper tantrum that Briggs through, but how he is now signed to a long-term deal to remain in Chicago.
As an example of just how clown like this Chicago Tribune Live sports show is produced a graphic is flashed on to the screen stating ” Bears look to build on 7-9 season” excuse me? 7 wins and 9 losses in a season? Mr. sports producer the Bears finished 9 and 7 a full two games better than your graphic implies and were one win away from the playoffs. This would be where Lovie Smith said the Bears are close, they were close to making the playoffs and playing in the playoffs anything is possible because the Bears hung with and were with 7 points of beating two of the playoff teams there. Also they beat two of the playoff teams reps on the NFC side of the house in Philadelphia and Minnesota.
Foltman gets his turn on the soap box reasserting that this isn’t like the Joe Montana Steve Young type of controversy. Cutler isn’t an established super star NFL quarterback to be acting this way. The panel wraps up the discussion with Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal being productive NFL wide receivers, which segue ways into the Bears having no WR talent so who is Cutler going to throw to.
With no WR talent Kaplan gets back on his roll of anger and frustration. He starts off by talking about how the Bears had a suspect O-Line even before the start of free agency and now with John Tait and John St. Clair gone it’s one of the worst lines in the NFL. Apparently the Bears said that “we gotta get John St. Clair re-signed according to Kaplan (the Bears said they would like to have him back never said it was a necessity).
Kaplan more forward into his rant that Lovie Smith stated that Earl Bennett has to continue to develop to which Kaplan then countered you have to play to develop. The panel then emphasized that Bennett stated that he didn’t learn the plays very quickly and that is a major area of concern. It’s unanimous that no one like Bennett and it was a mistake to draft him, as well as Kaplan interjects it was a mistake to draft Chris Williams because he had back problems that caused other teams to not draft him at all. In that same vein nothing was ever established or concrete regarding Williams’ back problems being something he had coming out of college that kept other teams from drafting. So that’s rumor being put out as fact by Kaplan.
The panel wraps up the discussion about the possibility of bringing in Torry Holt to help boost the WR core.
Wow quite the mind-numbing bit of reporting full of inaccuracies, anger and a demand for Jerry Angelo to be more like Dan Snyder of the Redskins and spend wildly and freely to upgrade this team. More opinion versus analysis not a lot of in-depth talk. Didn’t speak to much of what went on at Mini-Camp and ranted about how the Bears should get Jay Cutler. Some of this sounds like what we hear every day on the message boards. When the draft comes and more importantly training camp gets underway we’ll be able to better establish just how good or bad the Bears will be this year. Right now in March with the draft and more free agency yet to come and the season still nearly six months away, it’s not easy to judge this team.
Tags: 2009 NFL, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Draft, Chicago Sports, Chicago Tribune Live, football, Frank Omiyale, Jerry Angelo, John St. Clair, Kyle Orton, Matt Forte, Monsters of the Midway, NFL, NFL free agency, Rod Marinelli, Sports, wide receivers