I’ve debated on whether or not I should put together this blog. Thought about it because I’ve seen the uproar here and there about the comments made by Mark Schlereth. I hadn’t heard his quotes verbatim until now, I didn’t dive into the negative aspect of this trade. But obviously I have to cover both sides of the discussion here and the guys on NFL Network were pretty positive in their assessments.
So the question immediately falls to Schlereth about whether the Bears gave up to much. Schlereth comes with the immediate and emphatic “ABSOLUTELY they gave up to much for Jay Cutler. Now Jay Cutler is a incredibly talented quarterback, don’t get me wrong, incredibly talented. But this league you have to win up front on both lines of scrimmage and you have to be a balanced team. All the talent in the world at quarterback doesn’t do you much good if you’re laying on your back. They’ve addressed some of those issues with aging veterans and guys that are average players but ultimately yes offensive line has to be addressed, that’s a weakness, wide receiver is a weakness. There’s no question this defense is not the same defense it was in 2006 and don’t think that it is. So did you give up a lot? Yeah, did you give up to much I believe so because you have holes that you have to plug. So guess what here’s all our draft picks, we can’t plug them anymore. THAT’S THE PROBLEM.” verbatim was Mark Schlereth analyzed about the Cutler trade.
Schelreth was very measured, precise with his words, but I would characterize his words as a knee jerk reaction to the question without really doing any preparation before going on the air. Schlereth essentially sounded he was being animated with his words to sound like he was speaking from a position of authority without really doing the homework beforehand. The fact of the matter the Bears have addressed a lot of their offensive line concerns from a year ago. Orlando Pace sure he’s an aging veteran, but even an aging hall of fame veteran is going to be better than a 32-year-old career backup, especially with Pace at 33-years of age. So that’s an upgrade at LT, moving Chris Williams to RT to compete with Kevin Shaffer is another move that benefits the Bears on the offensive line.
Add to the point quality offensive lineman don’t have to be drafted in rounds one every year. Players like Kraig Urbik and Robert Brewster would be solid players the Bears could land at the end of the third round. What Schlereth fails to recognize is the amount of depth and talent at the OT position this year and that if OL is such a huge need for the Bears they could still address it via the draft. Finally the chances that a draft pick will pan out is less than the chance that a quality veteran will come in compete and make the roster and make the team better.
Sure Schlereth can be the bad guy and take the opposite view of a lot of other analysts across the league. But to do so without doing some research or putting some thought and pre production prep work in 18 hours after the Jay Cutler trade was finalized is inexcusable.
Trent Dilfer is the next analyst to step up to the plate and make his opinion known. He comes out with this “Talent wise Jay Cutler can fit into any system in the league, talent wise there isn’t anything he can’t do . So you can call any plays any kind of offense and he can make it work but the problem is the Chicago Bears are in a developmental stage on offense. They’re developing young receivers, they’re trying to train Devin Hester, they’re training a Greg Olsen to be a big time tight end, they’re developing an offensive line. They don’t have a true identity. Now you bring in Jay Cutler and these huge expectations, and the immense pressure that will be on him to perform not only wins and losses but statistically. So you have the growing pains of developing the huge expectations that becomes a huge problem.”
So the consensus from ESPN (per the usual) is the Bears suck and Jay Cutler will suck now too because he went to the Chicago Bears. This is why I’m far more inclined to watch the NFL Network for it’s NFL coverage than ESPN.